Stories & Voices
Virtual Senior Center Brings Comfort to Holocaust Survivor During the Coronavirus Outbreak
April 2nd, 2020

Nelya, 81, is a widow and Holocaust survivor, who lives alone. She grew up in Belarus and survived World War II when she and her mother and brothers were evacuated to Russia.

Nelya has thrived over the years through her active participation in the Selfhelp Russian Holocaust Survivor Program. She enjoys social get-togethers with music and dancing, trips, wellness programs, and Witness Theater — a program that connects Holocaust survivors with high school students who learn the survivors’ stories and then transform the stories into performances.

Now that these in-person gatherings are not a possibility, Selfhelp reached out and got her started in their Virtual Senior Center – an online program begun several years ago to help homebound seniors fight isolation by connecting with each other and taking online classes.

Through the Virtual Senior Center, Nelya recently watched part of a concert by the popular Russian composer and musician, Igor Krutoy.

“It’s good for me,” Nelya says.

She’s also looking forward to an online seder Selfhelp will offer on April 8. Thanks to the Virtual Senior Center, Nelya and other seniors will be able to celebrate Passover together from the safety of their own homes.

“I’m grateful for these classes,” Nelya says. “I’m learning some other languages. How to order food online. And it helps distract me from the news.”