Holocaust survivors lived through one of the darkest times in modern history, making it all the more tragic that for some of them currently living in Israel, their final years are filled with loneliness, poverty, disease and pain.
Their suffering should have ended, but for many, it has not.
Today’s Holocaust Survivor
There are approximately 180,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel, and that number is dwindling every day. Their average age is 87.
Survivors are typically in worse physical, emotional and financial shape than other people their age. The effects of starvation, frostbite, torture, medical experimentation and lack of medical and dental care when they were children have only served to exacerbate the normal problems of aging.
Many lost their entire family to the Holocaust and now have no one to care for them in their old age.
Tens of thousands of them in Israel live below the poverty line, and as a result, these people – who suffered more intensely in their lives than we can imagine – find themselves once again enduring hardship, with incomes so meager they must often choose between the medications they need to survive and adequate food.
Their meager incomes provide for the bare necessities, but don't allow for a properly prescribed pair of glasses or extensive dental treatments that will help ease pain and bring comfort to their final years.
Israel does provide special rights for Holocaust survivors, but Israel’s welfare minister has reported that more than 20,000 survivors in Israel have never received the government assistance owed to them.
Accessing that assistance is an oftenoverwhelming bureaucratic maze for these survivors to go through – especially since so much of it is online, and many of these people have no one to advocate for them.
No wonder so many of them feel forgotten and alone.