Supporting Our Survivors

Barry Segal recently met with the organization that oversees the Holocaust survivors and Holocaust refugees in Israel. He was amazed to find out there are still over 200,000 survivors alive in Israel! Of that number, at least 50,000 are living in poverty, and they all mostly have pressing needs. One of these great needs is a special alarm button to be installed in the survivors' apartments that can alert the fire department, first responders, and police in case of an emergency. We at VFI are looking in to seeing how we can help.

The organization receives 500 calls per day from Holocaust survivors through the call centre they have set up. In addition, every week 2,500 volunteers (many of them university students) visit the Holocaust survivors in their homes. The number one battle these survivors face is loneliness, and they just want someone to visit them. In many cases their spouse has already passed away.

Barry met with one special survivor to donate a new microwave oven. The sweet survivor told a short story about her life and how she and her mother were on the run from the Nazi occupation in their Russian-speaking area. As a small girl at the time, foraging for food and finding enough to eat was a great hardship. Having survived this ordeal, she and her husband made aliyah to Israel in 1995. Again, there was hardly any support, and they mostly went around trash bins to see what they could redeem and use, such as old furniture or appliances that people were throwing away in Israel. 

Since her husband died several years ago, it was clear that the number one issue facing this survivor, with tears in her eyes, is loneliness. For some reason, Barry felt led to ask her if she liked music. She told him that she and her husband loved to go to see the symphony orchestra in Tel-Aviv, but since his death, she has never gone again. Barry hopes to fulfil her dream by sending her to a concert again, as well as providing for her physical and household needs. This survivor was hesitant to even bring up any of her needs; Barry managed to gently allow her the space to feel comfortable asking for help.

At VFI, we are dedicated to supporting these survivors to the best of our ability, and we look forward to all the blessings we can bring in the future.