Funded through a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the Holocaust Survivors Assistance Program reflects a deep commitment to assist the aging population of survivors to receive the care they need. As the elderly population in Broward County continues to grow, our goal is to ensure that our survivors are able to age in place, with basic comfort and dignity.
JFS provides in-home care, respite care, counseling, financial assistance and Café Europa, a social component for hundreds of survivors throughout Broward County.
Once a year, Café Europa provides a unique opportunity for survivors to meet relatives and friends with whom they may have lost contact. Café Europa is sponsored by JFS in cooperation with local Holocaust Survivor groups, with additional funding provided through the Claims Conference and private donations. Lunch and transportation are provided free of charge so that those who cannot drive or cannot afford the lunch, may meet again, perhaps for the last time. More than 900 survivors attended the last Café Europa in March 2008.
The situation is grave for so many survivors who live in hard circumstances. The legacy of their courage and determination in the face of overwhelming despair continues to be a lesson for all humanity.
Holocaust survivors may apply to the Holocaust Survivor Emergency Assistance Program by calling 954-370-2140.
A not uncommon story
Mr. F., an 89 year old man resides with his spouse of 60 years. Both are Holocaust survivors. Mr. F was born in Poland, near the Russian border. In 1939 the Nazis invaded his home and his entire family was murdered in a mass grave shooting. Mr. F escaped over the Russian border only to be caught by the German SS officers who severely beat him and then turned him over to the Russian military. In 1940 the Russians shipped him to Siberia for forced labor.
Kept alive on a daily ration of cold soup and a piece of stale bread, he escaped in 1943 on a ship to Asia where he almost died from Malaria. In 1945 Mr. F. returned home to find his property given away to Polish citizens. In fear for his life due to ongoing pogroms, Mr. F. escaped to Italy, staying in a DP camp. In 1949, he went to Israel and in 1961 he came to New York with his wife where he worked as a plumber. He has been living in Florida since his retirement.
Due to the beating he suffered from the Nazi SS, our client has had poor mobility all his life. A year ago he suffered a stroke and is now paralyzed on the right side of his body from the neck down. His cognition was not affected, but the impairments of age—vision and heart problems, incontinence, kidney problems, difficulty hearing and sleeping, have taken their toll. Their limited resources have dwindled. Through the JFS Holocaust program, he receives assistance with bathing, dressing, mobility, and meals. Mr. F’s family, and his wife, who at 83, are his primary caregivers. They feel that placing him in a nursing home would bring his life to an untimely end.
Although their numbers are dwindling, the impairments that come with age only grow as the younger generation of survivors, (those who were children and teenagers in the 1940’s), get older. JFS now serves more than 360 survivors in our program, a 20 percent increase over the last two years. The issues are manifold, but the most costly one is providing home-care. The activities of daily living that we take for granted, bathing, dressing, cooking and cleaning become unmanageable as frailty and infirmities increase. Provision for these services is exactly what is meant by living with dignity and modest comfort.
The triumphs of our survivors are measured not merely by length of years, but by the children they raised, the stubborn optimism of their lives, and a legacy of kindness and hope.