Calls from Holocaust survivors for emotional support rose 37 percent in 2014

Aside from traumatic memories, Holocaust survivors also have to cope with additional turmoil in their lives such as the aging process, separation from loved ones and health problems.

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April 15, 2015 17:02
1 minute read.
Weimar

The camp gate with the inscription "to give each his due" is pictured at former concentration camp Buchenwald near Weimar . (photo credit: REUTERS)

The number of phoned-in requests for anonymous emotional first aid from Holocaust survivors and their adult children over the phone to the voluntary organization ERAN jumped by 37 percent in 2014 compared to 2013.  ERAN said on the eve of Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day that it had 8,200 calls from survivors in 2014 compared to 6,000 the previous year.

It had precise data because two years ago, together with the Welfare and Social Services Ministry, it established a special phone line for survivors.

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Sixty percent of the aging survivors said they suffered from loneliness. The special service run by trained volunteers is available around the clock, seven days a week, and can be reached at 1-800-24-1201,  while the general ERAN number is 1201.

ERAN director-general David Koren said that of the survivor callers last year, 1,356 called during Operation Protective Edge, the 50-day-long war with Gaza.

Their traumatic experiences of many decades ago return to haunt them when rockets fall, said Dr. Shiri Daniels, the national professional director of ERAN.

Beyond the traumatic memories, Holocaust survivors also have to cope with additional turmoil in their lives such as the aging process, separation from loved ones, health problems, reduced daily functioning and growing dependence on others, said Daniels.

As it does not require callers to identify themselves and can easily be accessed any time via the phone, the service is suitable to survivors with mobility problems who want privacy.

ERAN is the biggest hotline in the country that provides emotional support. It receives some 180,000 calls a year, some 800 of them from people who threaten to commit suicide. There are 12 branches manned by volunteers who undergo demanding criteria and training. It also is accessible via the Internet (www.eran.org.il). There are also special lines in Russian, and Arabic, for soldiers and children.


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