Lappin Foundation announces the release of a new animated film “The Teddy Bear,” a true story lived and told by Holocaust survivor Michael Gruenbaum, age 92 at the time of filming. Michael is a survivor of Terezin. As we stand on the threshold of time, when soon there will no longer be survivors among us to share their experiences first-hand, capturing Holocaust testimony in a creative and credible way is essential. “The Teddy Bear” accomplishes this.

Michael has devoted a significant amount time over these past two years sharing his testimony with thousands of students who have participated in Lappin Foundation’s Holocaust education programs. His story especially resonates with middle-school age children, since he was their age when he went through the Holocaust.

The film’s running time is just shy of 12 minutes. Michael takes students through the different stages of the Holocaust as they learn about his lived experience. The animation, done by his grandson Benjamin, brings Michael’s story to life and holds the attention of students. The accompanying teacher’s guide includes discussion questions, giving students the space to process and discuss what they learned.

It is important for students to know that not all survivors of the Holocaust came out of an extermination camp. People survived the Holocaust in different ways. Plan are underway to produce a few more animated films featuring survivors of the St. Louis, the Kindertransport, a death camp, and in hiding.

Michael leaves viewers with a lot to think about as he shares a couple of important life-lessons he learned from surviving the Holocaust. He ends the film with a call to action: “to fix what’s broken in the world; making the world a better place starts with you.”

“The Teddy Bear” is appropriate for children ages 11 and older. It is recommended that children watch the film with an adult so they will be able to process what they learn and discuss questions they may have.

“The Teddy Bear” was funded with support from the Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation and the Dr. David M. Milch Family Foundation. View “The Teddy Bear” here. For more information, email

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