Israel’s Needy Holocaust Survivors Fear Impact of Lockdown

September 18, 2020

by: Hadar Gil-Ad

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A Holocaust survivor living in Jerusalem

Friday, 18 September 2020 | As Israel prepares for a second coronavirus lockdown and all the ensuing economic woes, many of the country’s elderly are in need and fear that the new restrictions will only make their lives worse.

Volodymyr Kantorovich, an 84-year-old Holocaust survivor from Beit Shemesh, spent the war in Stalingrad, where he lost much of his family.

Some years ago, he contracted malaria, which has affected his health to this day.

Now he is forced to live in a room at his daughter’s house as he cannot afford the costs of living on his own.

“I live in my daughter’s house because of my financial situation; it is easier to live together,” Kantorovich says.

Thousands of elderly and Holocaust survivors live in poverty in Israel and are in need of daily help with food, especially during the holiday period.

On Monday, the Knesset State Control Committee, chaired by Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah, held a special hearing [regarding] assisting Israel’s Holocaust survivors during the upcoming holidays and lockdown.

“As we frantically prepare for the coming lockdown, we must not abandon those [Holocaust survivors] to whom we have the highest moral duty,” Shelah said.

Aliyah Vorenczyk, 91, and his wife Sofia, both Holocaust survivors, are also in need of economic aid.

Living in a one-and-a-half room apartment, they even find it hard to buy the medication they need.

“During the war, we had nothing to eat,” Vorenczyk says. “But now it is also hard to get money to buy groceries.”

“Every month I pay NIS 300 for medication,” he says. “My wife has vision and hearing difficulties. She needs a hearing aid and glasses that we cannot afford. She broke both of her legs and is unable to walk. If we had a wheelchair, she would have been able to go outside.”

Vorenczyk said that every day it is becoming more and more difficult to find what to wear and eat.

“Food aid is their oxygen supply,” says Chasdei Naomi, a charity that helps more than 5,000 elderly and Holocaust survivors.

“This year has been the hardest we have seen. The middle class became poor and the poor became poorer.”

As Israel enters the second national lockdown this afternoon, Bridges for Peace remains committed to help see the needy Holocaust survivors on our program through this trying time. We will continue our food deliveries, carrying the parcels of food to their doorstep, ringing the doorbell and then moving back a safe distance. Our deliveries are, however, about so much more than sustenance. For our Holocaust survivors, the loneliness—particularly during the holidays—is something terrible. We want to make sure they know we are still here, still looking after them and still loving them—even if only from a distance. Will you help us bless these precious Holocaust survivors with food, company and care during this difficult holiday period?

Posted on September 18, 2020

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published by Ynetnews on September 17, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Jenna Solomon/