While most of us know the horrific effects that the Holocaust and Soviet Communism had on Eastern Europe’s Jews, a little-known tragedy that drastically altered the lives of millions was the tremendous death toll of World War II, including today’s elderly women in the FSU.
The Holocaust was the darkest chapter of the Jewish people’s long and often troubled history, with 6 million killed, destroying not just entire families, but entire communities and towns.
And the Communist era of Stalin and his Soviet regime, both before and after the Nazis’ evil plot to exterminate the Jewish people, made it dangerous and even deadly for Jews to worship, causing entire generations to grow up not knowing or practicing their faith.
But World War II had another tragic effect for those in the FSU. While the United States lost hundreds of thousands during the war, the entire American death toll was less than half a million people — still half a million too many to have died, but…
Russia alone lost more than TWENTY MILLION people during the war, with ten million or more being soldiers killed while battling Hitler and the Axis powers. Think about that. Ten million young men, dead on battlefields, in trenches, in foxholes. Ten million young men who would never come home to marry, raise families, live long lives.
That left millions of young women in the FSU — many of them Jewish women who miraculously escaped death at the hands of the Nazis — with no men to marry, no men to father their children, no men to spend the rest of their lives with.
And now, as The Fellowship and our faithful friends visit these now elderly Jewish women across the FSU, they are still alone. Because of a war that ended more than seven decades ago, these most vulnerable of God’s children have no one to laugh with, no one to cry with, no one to care for them, and no one to love. We are all that they have. You are all that they have. And that is why it is so important for our ministry that provides not just food and warmth to impoverished Jews, but companionship and love.elderly FSU Holocaust IFCJ The Fellowship