my goal as a holocaust survivor is to share my message,
particularly with young people, to insure that a crime as horrific
as the holocaust never happens again. Fanya's signature
You have the power as teachers
to educate and empower your students
to stand up not only for their own rights
but for others’ rights as well.
Eli Rosenbaum, Director of Human Rights Enforcement
Strategy and Policy, U.S. Department of Justice
For Educators
Resources for the Classroom
In recording and sharing her experiences as a teenager and young adult during the Holocaust, Fanya has created an invaluable educational tool. Love in a World of Sorrow: A Teenage Girl’s Holocaust Memoirs offers young people a unique and personal glimpse into life under Nazi rule, putting a human face on the horrors of the Holocaust. At the same time, Fanya’s descriptions of her experiences resonate with the issues faced by many young people today, including identity, responsibility, love, morality, justice, and decision-making.
Love in a World Of Sorrow
Unflinchingly told more than four decades after it occurred, the book details what can happen in the most extreme and dire of human circumstances.
A story of interfaith compassion, the author and her family were hidden by the efforts of a non-Jewish couple and a sympathetic Ukrainian militiaman at the risk of their own lives. The harrowing events that followed lend the book an immediacy and jolt so many years later.
Written by Fanya Gottesfeld Heller. 2005
Available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Hidden: A True Story of the Holocaust
Based on her memoir, Love in a World of Sorrow, Hidden: A True Story of the Holocaust is written specifically for children in grades 5 – 8 with a special Closing Thoughts section — a message for Fanya’s young readers. It also includes a Glossary of terms used throughout the book and Questions for Discussion to help generate further discussion and answer questions that may be raised in the reader’s mind during the course of the book.


Narrated by actor Richard Gere.
Color and black-and-white. 66 minutes.
On Screen Entertainment. ©2010.
Available through Social Studies School Service
Teenage Witness
Holocaust survivor Fanya Gottesfeld Heller tells her story to inner-city high school students, who visibly connect with her tale of hunger, suffering, and despair.
Historic footage and interviews with Michael Berenbaum and other Holocaust scholars provide context as Fanya tells what it was like to be 16 and responsible for keeping her family alive.
Narrated by actor Richard Gere.
Color and black-and-white. 66 minutes.
On Screen Entertainment. ©2010.
Available through Social Studies School Service
Teacher’s Guide
Love in a World Of Sorrow
A substantial teacher’s guide by the Museum of Jewish Heritage suggests activities developing the story’s connection to four themes: survival against all odds, making difficult choices, living with consequences, and individual responsibility.
Produced by The Museum of Jewish Heritage.
Black-and-white. 44 pages.
Available through Social Studies School Service
In her book, Love in a World of Sorrow, Fanya’s timeless messages strike their mark over and over again…
— Susan Cohen, Educator, Pacific High School
Teacher’s Guide Key Concepts
Making Difficult Choices
The events of the Holocaust forced many people to make difficult moral choices. Human beings have the capacity for both excessive cruelty and extraordinary kindness. The social, political, and personal factors that make someone choose one path or another are complex.
The Consequences of our Choices
Our choices affect, to varying degrees, the future of our own lives and the lives of others, and we have to live with the consequences of the choices we make.
Survival Against Impossible Odds
Prejudice and indifference can lead to acts of cruelty against other human beings; it is the responsibility of every person to fight against the evils of racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism, and blind hatred.
Individual Responsibility
Even when faced with overwhelming challenges, we call on our courage, our determination, and the support of those close to us in order to survive and succeed.
Museum of Jewish Heritage
The Fanya Gottesfeld Heller
Conference for Educators
Since the year 1999, Fanya has generously sponsored the annual Educator’s Conference at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City. Each year over 300 educators convene for this free symposium which consistently addresses issues suited for middle and high school teachers of History and Social Studies. Past topics have included 60 Years After Liberation, Justice After The Holocaust, The Holocaust in Film, Hiding, Women in the Holocaust, Genocide, and The Medical Profession and the Holocaust. This year’s conference on April 23, 2015 will feature the Holocaust in Literature.
Fanya serves on the Museum’s Board of Trustees and continues her commitment to Holocaust education. Since its inception, nearly 5,000 teachers from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut- public, Jewish, parochial and independent schools- have attended and been educated through these conferences.
The film documents an extraordinary woman
doing what she does best –
reaching out and educating young people.
That Fanya survived the war and made such a monumental contribution to the world is a testament to survival.
—David G. Marwell, Director of Museum of Jewish Heritage
I watched your movie today. The tears are still streaming down my face…so memorable, moving, remarkable…a down-to-earth remembrance of the atrocities – the horror of it all, yet the courage that some human beings have and the tenacity to hold onto the very core of life.
Your story put my life into perspective.
Marie, Hartsdale, N.Y.
I just viewed your documentary on PBS. I was riveted to the TV throughout the whole hour. You are so right, Fanya; I am now a witness.
Judy, Nova Scotia, Canada
I saw your movie on PBS and can’t stop thinking about it. Inspiring to say the least because if you can get through life considering the horrific things you experienced, then there is hope for so many people. Thank you for sharing your story, it needs to be told.
Nancy , Manalapan, N.J.
This documentary is a gift for all who see it.
Sarah , Boston, MA
I sat completely absorbed watching your documentary. I feel privileged that by hearing your story, I am a witness and I carry that responsibility very seriously.
Debbie , Portland, Oregon
I had the TV on tonight and got caught up in your story. I applaud you for your bravery, honesty, integrity and spirit to survive. It makes me realize how lucky my life has been and that I should always take time to hear the wisdom from others who can show the way through adversity with such amazing strength. You are a treasure!

Joe , Seattle, Washington
After watching the program on your life I feel very close to you. It is a wonderful thing you have done, to have shared your story with young people and to have encouraged them to care for one another.
Marilyn , Bellingham, Washington
The work and service you have done as a writer, speaker and witness is priceless. Your story has touched my soul.
Lorraine, Costa Mesa, CA

We finished watching Teenage Witness and I must admit, we cannot remember anything as moving and unforgettable as your presence and story. You have given us the greatest gift by bearing witness with such honesty, clarity and courage.
Harriet & Bill , San Francisco, CA
I just had the honor of seeing your movie, Teenage Witness. I studied the holocaust in school, but it was always Anne Frank and concentration camps. I had never heard about what had happened in the Ukraine. You have opened my eyes to see the global impact that I had never grasped before. Your story of survival, honor, and honesty has inspired me.
Amy, Austin, Texas