There are more than 500,000 Holocaust survivors worldwide, including over 200,000 in Israel. The average age of a survivor is 79, with nearly a quarter who are 85 or older. As time passes, the consequences of advanced aging are compounded by the physical and emotional horrors they endured during the war.
The Challenge Facing Holocaust Survivors
- Holocaust survivors living in New York are among the poorest of low-income Jews in the city.
- Many get by on fixed incomes that don’t accommodate escalating food, rent, water and utility, and healthcare costs.
- In Israel, the situation is most dire for the 160,000 Holocaust survivors who survived Nazi terror by fleeing to the Soviet Union, many of whom are elderly Russian-speaking immigrants who came to Israel in the 1990s and, for a long time, were not recognized as survivors and did not receive benefits.
- With scant pensions, employment, social support networks, and extended family, and with limited welfare allowances, most of these Holocaust survivors live close to desperation.
UJA-Federation’s network of agencies in New York and Israel provide support to Holocaust survivors, enabling them to live with independence, comfort, and dignity. Services offered through our network include:
- Case management to assess needs and help Holocaust survivors access appropriate services.
- Entitlements counseling to educate Holocaust survivors about benefits, determine eligibility, and assist with applications.
- Legal services to provide Holocaust survivors with consultation and direct representation to access benefits for which they are entitled.
- Cash assistance to help meet such expenses as housing, prescription drugs, and medical and dental care, and to bridge the interval between applying for a benefit or entitlement and the time when that support begins to arrive.
- Home care to help frail, homebound Holocaust survivors with personal hygiene and activities of daily living.
- Socialization programs to reduce isolation and establish ongoing formal and informal support systems.
- Transportation to enable Holocaust survivors to see doctors, visit with friends and family, attend synagogues, participate in senior centers, and remain active members of society.
- Mental-health support, including home visits for Holocaust survivors with limited mobility.
- Support for caregivers and home health aides so they are equipped to provide appropriate and culturally sensitive care for Holocaust survivors.
- End-of-life care to provide Holocaust survivors with care that eases their pain and takes care of their body, mind, and spirit.
- Intergenerational programs and other supportive cultural activities for Holocaust survivors.
As aging and frailty take their toll, the number of Holocaust survivors turning to community agencies has intensified. Agencies project that the number of requests for help, as well as the intensity of services required, will hold steady through 2020 and remain significant until 2025.
To learn more about services available to Holocaust survivors or to find help, please contact our J•1•1 Information and Referral Service at 877.852.6951 or .
To further respond to this urgent challenge, UJA-Federation recently launched the Community Initiative for Holocaust Survivors (CIHS) to raise an additional $20 million — $10 million for the care of Holocaust survivors in New York, and $10 million for similar programs in Israel. Our goal is to fulfill the promise world Jewry made after the war: to never forget nor abandon those who survived the Nazis’ attempt to obliterate European Jewry.