Inquiries flood Aviv for Holocaust Survivors after German policy change

Since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, Holocaust survivors face challenges in all areas of life.

Advocate Yael Gertler and Holocaust survivor Yaffa Einhorn at an Aviv for Holocaust Survivors center.  (photo credit: BENNY LAPID)
Advocate Yael Gertler and Holocaust survivor Yaffa Einhorn at an Aviv for Holocaust Survivors center.
(photo credit: BENNY LAPID)
The Aviv for Holocaust Survivors Association, which works to exercise the rights of Holocaust survivors in Israel, reports that in recent weeks there have been hundreds of inquiries to the association's call center due to the German government's new recognition of 29 ghettos in Romania and Bulgaria. The new recognition means new rights and benefits for thousands of Holocaust survivors. These days, the association needs to increase its resources and manpower to continue to provide a professional, quick and effective response to Holocaust survivors in exercising their rights with the various bodies as early as possible.
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There are currently about 190,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel, about a quarter of whom live below the poverty line. Holocaust survivors have benefits and rights in Israel and abroad that they are entitled to by law, but many of them find it difficult to exercise all the rights they are entitled to for various reasons. The association assists about 10,000 Holocaust survivors each year in exercising their rights in Israel and around the world, without receiving any payment on their part. The lawyers, the association's rights advisers, assist Holocaust survivors in exercising their full rights through the telephone helpline *5711 and in 20 "rights areas" - community assistance centers, which operate throughout the country. The association also assists Holocaust survivors confined to their homes and employs dozens of volunteers who assist Holocaust survivors in their homes.
Advocate Noa Shein and Holocaust survivor Aryeh Shutzky at an Aviv for Holocaust Survivors center. (Photo: Sarit Azoulay)Advocate Noa Shein and Holocaust survivor Aryeh Shutzky at an Aviv for Holocaust Survivors center. (Photo: Sarit Azoulay)
If on regular days Holocaust survivors find it difficult to exercise their rights, then since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, Holocaust survivors face challenges in all areas of life and many turn to the organization not only for assistance in exercising rights, but also in various areas such as: help with shopping, food packages, loneliness and more. "It was the order of the day and we felt a commitment to answer every request," says Orly Sivan, the association's director general. "We created collaborations with associations and social bodies, and together we built a service package for each Holocaust survivor that provided them with their needs. At the same time, we had to produce complex solutions on how to reach out and assist Holocaust survivors in exercising their rights despite the social distancing, in order for them to receive the funds and benefits they deserve as quickly as possible.
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"Every day we meet Holocaust survivors whose lives have changed thanks to assistance in exercising their rights. It is a great privilege for us to help Holocaust survivors exercise their rights and live in economic security for the rest of their lives."
From a study conducted by BDO examining the socio-economic yield of the "rights areas" project, it showed that for every hundred shekels donated to the organization, a Holocaust survivor will receive about 4,600 shekels on average. "The amount that a Holocaust survivor will receive as a result of our assistance is on average about 36,000 shekels," explains Sivan. "Funding for the association's activities comes only from the public through funds and direct donations from companies, organizations and individuals, so it is important that the public continues to engage in this important task with the understanding that we all have a social and moral responsibility to ensure Holocaust survivors live with dignity and well-being."
For more information about the association and to donate, visit the Aviv for Holocaust Survivors website.
For free assistance: *5711 | info@avivshoa.co.il
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