Housing Holocaust survivors

Posted on: 

Fri, 11/23/2012  

Are there reallyhomeless Holocaust survivors in Israel? Yes, and they need our urgent help! It is hard to believe that there are actually homeless, destitute Holocaust survivors in Israel today. But we have met them up close and their plight is real.

Recently, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was able to quickly provide housing for several aging Holocaust survivors caught in very difficult circumstances, with some even living on the streets. The accommodations became available because the ICEJ had just provided funds to finalize the purchase of the upper floor of an apartment building in Haifa to expand our nearby Home for Holocaust Survivors.

Thus we were able to provide places to live for homeless Holocaust survivors in urgent need of a roof over their heads as winter approaches. So thankfully, the timely help was there for these survivors, but we are receiving many more such requests at present from the social welfare department in Haifa to help elderly Jewish survivors of the Nazi genocide who are now homeless.

Shlomo is one of the newest residents of the apartments recently acquired by the ICEJ, but he had to move in while the renovations are still underway.

He was about 14 years old when 8,000 Jews in his hometown of Yasi, Romania were rounded up and slaughtered en masse by Romanian police and German soldiers in 1941. Shlomo found himself among the more than 5,000 remaining Jews who were then loaded onto overcrowded, sealed “death trains” that were slowly driven back and forth across the countryside in the hot summer weather until most of the trapped passengers died of dehydration, suffocation, infection or blood loss. Yet somehow, young Shlomo managed to escape the massacre and survive these cruel train rides.

Another new resident in the emergency accommodations is Lev. He was nine years old when the Germans invaded the Ukraine. Lev’s father died in a forced labour camp while his mother and her three sons went into hiding. Lev was the oldest son and at night would go out and try to find scraps of food outside neighbouring homes. Many times he was caught and suffered beatings so severe he could hardly walk because of the pain.

After six months of living underground, they were discovered and sent to a labour camp. Every few months, they were transported from camp to camp by train, not knowing where they were going. Lev refused to cry in spite of his extreme fear, trying to stay strong for his mother and younger brothers.

In 1990, Lev and two siblings left the Ukraine and made their way to Israel. He was never married and lived on his own. Because of a handicap, he was never able to work and recently he did not have enough money to pay the rent on his apartment any longer. Since then, Lev had been living on the street. But now he has a bed and meals and everything he needs at the Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors.

Lev is now sharing an apartment with Shlomo and two other survivors even though renovations are still going on around them.

“Here, I at least have a place to sleep and something warm to eat”, Lev said gratefully.

The Haifa Home assisted-living facility is more than a roof over their heads. It has provided Lev and Shlomo with an entire community of residents and staff, backed by the ICEJ and our family of Christian supporters worldwide. But we need your help as never before to care for these deserving souls.

Besides the costs of the on-going renovations, the Haifa Home has monthly operating expenses of approximately 1000€ ($1250) per resident. These costs cover basic necessities such as meals, utilities, cleaning, laundry, transport to medical appointments, basic dental treatment and extras, such as birthdays, Jewish celebrations and outings.

Some residents also come to the stage of needing a live-in caregiver. When this happens, the cost is covered in part by a government subsidy and the rest generally by family members. But in cases where there is no family, the Haifa Home has to cover this private part, which is about 600€ ($750) per month.

Through our “Adopt-a-Survivor” program, the ICEJ provides badly-needed funds to cover the ongoing living expenses of Haifa Home residents. Participants in this adoption program give a monthly amount of their choosing and receive the personal story of one of the residents as well as a monthly email with a Haifa Home update.

Please partner with us to finish renovating the apartments where Shlomo, Lev and other homeless survivors are now living! And consider adopting one of these precious Holocaust survivors through regular contributions to their care and the daily operations of our Haifa Home. Donate on-line today at http://int.icej.org/aid/haifa-home-holocaust-survivors