Holocaust Survivors

There are about 240,000 living Holocaust survivors (as of 2023). Their average age is 85. Many survivors (around 147,000) are now living in Israel, and about 50,000 are living in the United States.

While Holocaust survivors have lived through unbearable circumstances, many are still living in deprivation. A Holocaust survivor’s advocacy group reported that 33 percent of Holocaust survivors are living in poverty. Another shocking statistic comes from The Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel: 20 percent of survivors cannot purchase all the essentials they need to survive.

Surviving After the Holocaust

Holocaust survivors faced dire poverty after World War II. And with ongoing wars, every year the needs become more desperate. Many Jews like Varvara survived the Holocaust and are now living through the Ukraine war. When she was just nine years old, the Nazis invaded her family’s village. She was sent to a labor camp, where she had barely anything to eat. Many of her family members were murdered. Now, she again faces hunger. Varvara survives on emergency supplies like food boxes provided by The Fellowship. She says, “I’m happy that I’m blind because I can’t see with my eyes the horrors of this war.”

Unfortunately, Varvara is not alone. Thousands like her were barely surviving then, and are barely surviving now. Some who lived through the Holocaust are now experiencing Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist attacks in Israel.

Some are bedridden. Unable to access the necessities to survive – like food and medicine – they must depend on volunteers to bring them what they need to live. This is why it’s imperative that we help these elderly Holocaust survivors fulfill their basic needs. They wouldn’t be able to survive without these precious gifts.

Our Mission to Help Survivors and Refugees

Positively impacting the lives of Jewish people in need is the heart of The Fellowship’s mission. We try to do all we can to provide the lifesaving assistance that many so desperately need – whether it’s food boxes, hot meals, emergency call buttons, bomb shelters, aliyah (immigration to Israel), or a host of other essential goods and services.

In partnership with The Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel, we fund an emergency support line that provides access to doctor home visits, medical advice, psychological consultation, emergency call buttons, and more. Anaya, a beneficiary of this program, is a Holocaust survivor who made aliyah. Many of her current health issues are due to the suffering she endured in the Holocaust. You can read more about her story here.

Zoya is another Holocaust survivor who has been provided with an emergency call button. Zoya remembers fleeing Nazi attacks and evacuating to the Ural Mountains when she was just six years old. After surviving the war and being subject to endless hunger and cold, she was able to build a life. In 1991 she eventually made aliyah. Even after surviving the horrors of the Holocaust, Zoya continues to find herself under threat in Israel with the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. When she heard the emergency sirens in Israel, it painfully reminded of what she had already been through as a child. But YOU can still make a difference in Zoya’s life. A $25 donation a month can provide monthly food assistance to Zoya and many other Holocaust survivors like her.

The Fellowship continually supports Jewish victims of war, both past and present. In 2022, we distributed $23 million in emergency aid to Jewish communities in Ukraine suffering from the war that began early that year. This money was used for food, medical aid, and heat. In a survey done by The Fellowship we found that 97% of Ukrainian Jews expected difficulty heating their homes due to financial constraints. Since the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7, 2023, The Fellowship has disbursed more than $75 million in aid to support the ongoing emergency needs and to continue to provide assistance in our core program areas of security, poverty, and aliyah, supporting beneficiaries in Israel impacted by the Israel-Gaza War and ongoing conflict.

The Fellowship not only supports war victims but soldiers and their families who have been affected by the war. Learn more about how we help IDF soldiers here.

How You Can Help Holocaust Survivors in Need

While Holocaust survivors are vulnerable throughout the year, some seasons are harder for them than others. For Yakov, winter in the former Soviet Union is especially hard. During these times, The Fellowship covers his heating costs. Yakov says, “I’m deeply grateful to The Fellowship for their constant support. Without it I don’t know how I would make it.”

During the winter months, The Fellowship delivers aid to tens of thousands of homes in Israel alone. This includes assistance with heating bills, heating pads, and blankets. Mira, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor whose home was hit by a missile in October 2023 after war broke out with Hamas, says, “Now that winter has come, The Fellowship came to visit me and brought me a winter blanket, so I won’t be cold.”

For others, the summer months are most difficult. Sibo, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor who has cancer, has an especially hard time with the Israeli heatwaves. This past summer, The Fellowship provided a fan and extra water bottles to ensure she has what she needs to endure the summertime. In her own words, she says, “The Fellowship is always there. I really do not know what I would do without your help; maybe I would not even still be alive.”

Whatever the season is, The Fellowship is there to help. As thousands of elderly Holocaust survivors in Israel, Ukraine, and throughout the former Soviet Union struggle to meet their basic needs, YOU can lend a helping hand and ensure they are able to age with dignity. Your gift can provide a blanket to fend off frigid winter weather OR a fan to cool the hottest of summer days.

Your Donations Directly Help Holocaust Survivors

Today, thousands of elderly Jews who miraculously escaped death during the Holocaust are living out their final years in poverty and isolation. Many Holocaust survivors are in need of support and live solely on meager pensions – having to make the impossible choice every day between buying food and other essentials like lifesaving medicines, shelter, and heat in the winter months.

Thanks to friends like you, The Fellowship is able to support Holocaust survivors in need throughout the world. As the psalmist prayed, “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone” (Psalm 71:9). The Fellowship takes these words of the Bible to heart in caring for frail Holocaust survivors who are in dire need. Please donate to join us in this urgent work to support Holocaust survivors before it is too late.