£35 million allocated to support thousands of Holocaust survivors in Ukraine

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£35 million allocated to support thousands of Holocaust survivors in Ukraine

Funds from Claims Conference to provide home care, medical care, emergency assistance and food for local Shoah victims

Jeremy Last is assistant web editor at the Jewish News. He lives in Israel, and is currently in his second stint at the JN, having worked for the paper back in the early 2000s!

Holocaust survivor Natalia Berezhnaya with her home care worker in Odessa. ( Alexander Vdovichenko/Jewish Joint Distribution Committee)
Holocaust survivor Natalia Berezhnaya with her home care worker in Odessa. ( Alexander Vdovichenko/Jewish Joint Distribution Committee)

Jewish organisations in Ukraine have been given a £35 million cash boost to support thousands of local Holocaust survivors, as war continues to rage in the Eastern European country.

The funds, allocated by the Claims Conference, will be used to provide home care and supportive services for frail and vulnerable Shoah victims.

They are part of a £535m global allocation to social welfare charities, the Claims Conference announced on Wednesday.

Some 10,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors live in Ukraine, 5,000 of whom receive ongoing home care.

In Ukraine the money will be used by the Joint Distribution Committee and the Hesed Social Service network, both of which the Claims Conference said are continuing to do their work regardless of the situation on the ground.

Gideon Taylor, President Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), said: “Any warlike situation retraumatizes survivors who are reminded of the violence in their youth. This coupled with the uncertainty of their safety and welfare is of great concern.

“We are working closely with JDC and Hesed to ensure that these survivors are checked on regularly, especially those who don’t have family nearby. This vital network will continue to work to ensure survivors receive aid including the food, medicine and medical supplies they need – they will not be abandoned.”

JDC president Mark Sisisky stressed the significance of the funds, particularly during times of conflict.

“I cannot overstate how critical these lifesaving funds from the Claims Conference are to ensure the well-being of survivors in the former Soviet Union,” Sisisky said.

“As we see in Ukraine, and throughout the region, crisis can erupt at a moment’s notice and increase the plight and needs of survivors and other elderly. The services we provide them in partnership with the Claims Conference are a literal lifeline of care, dignity, and hope for better days.”

The Claims Conference said that the £535m represents the largest allocations from any grant-making organization globally in one year and the largest amount they have ever allocated in a single year. They estimate that the funds will reach approximately 120,000 survivors in 2022.

Greg Schneider, Claims Conference Executive Vice President, noted that the money will be used to help elderly survivors facing all kinds of difficulties.

He said: “Survivors will be supported wherever they live, whether war-torn areas or conflict zones, and no matter the obstacle. Whether in the face of the ongoing pandemic, issues of inflation, or threat of war, we are committed to providing home care, food and medicine to elderly poor Holocaust survivors.”

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