Holocaust survivors take part in ecological tours in Israel.
(photo credit: YOAV DEVIR KKL-JNF)
For the fifth consecutive year, Holocaust survivors from throughout Israel were accompanied by KKL-JNF guides on ecological tours all over the country, thanks to the support of friends of JNF Australia.
They enjoyed various activities in nature, connected to the scenery and learned about the many fields in which KKL-JNF is active – afforestation, water and developing recreation sites in nature. Over the past three weeks, three tour days for Holocaust survivors have taken place, in Israel’s central, northern and southern regions. “These outings give so much strength to Holocaust survivors,” said 78 year-old Avraham Richtman from Kiryat Gat. “Many of us sit alone at home all day, and this is an opportunity to get out, meet other people and to share,” he added.
Richtman was in Rumania during the war. “I was only five years old, but I remember everything. We left our home, escaped to the forest and had the great fortune to remain alive.” He immigrated to Israel in 1964, where he established a family, including five children and eighteen grandchildren.
The outings for Holocaust survivors were supported by JNF Australia, thanks to a contribution from the estate of Lilly and Alexander Enten. Lily’s incredible life story provides an excellent understanding of why she supported people who survived this modern hell. Lilly was sent to Auschwitz during World War II together with her entire family. She was forced to watch as Dr. Mengele sent her mother, sister and aunt to the gas chambers. Lilly was sent for hard labor and survived Auschwitz. After the war, she located her first husband, whom she later divorced. She journeyed to faraway Tasmania and from there to Australia, where she met her second husband – Shawni Alexander Enten, who was born in Hungary and lived in England during the war years. The Enten couple were lovers of Israel and they supported various organizations that are active on behalf of the Jewish people and its homeland.
The outings took place thanks to cooperation between the KKL-JNF Directorate’s Committee for Holocaust Survivors, AMCHA and the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel, organizations that operate clubhouses throughout Israel that provide Holocaust survivors with a supportive framework and leisure activities. The touring day in the Negev included 300 Holocaust survivors from AMCHA clubs in the south, from Beersheva, Ashkelon, Kiryat Gat and Sderot.
One of the participants in the outing to the south was 92 year-old Malka Liberman from Beersheva, a survivor from Auschwitz. She lost her entire family in the Holocaust, but she managed to survive, immigrate to Israel and raise three children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. “I remember how during the war, they took us from Auschwitz to work sawing trees in the forest,” she related. “Today we are going to the forest to enjoy ourselves. It’s really good to get out of the house, to meet people and to see green. It’s very good for me.” When she heard that a contribution of friends of KKL-JNF in Australia made the outing possible, she said with emotion: “It’s very heartwarming that people on the other side of the world think about us and care about us.”Read more, watch video about the ecological tours for Holocaust survivors