How can thousands of Holocaust survivors receive the funds they deserve?

"These funds can take the Holocaust survivors out of poverty"

Holocaust survivor (photo credit: Courtesy)
Holocaust survivor
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In 2021 thousands of Holocaust survivors still don't utilize all their lawful rights and benefits in Israel and worldwide. In some cases, these come to thousands of Shekels a month, which can make the difference between poverty and welfare.
“Aviv for Holocaust Survivors”, a non-profit organization, specializing in Holocaust survivors' rights, and assists to receive the funds and benefits due to over 10,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel and around the world each year, in order to improve their lives, and with no charge whatsoever.
Now more than ever, with the Coronavirus, the organization needs the public's help in order to continue and provide the Holocaust survivors with professional, accessible and personal support in utilizing their rights, and guarantee financial security for thousands of survivors, even during these difficult times.
In the past years the right to Holocaust survivors were updated and extended with additional benefits. Recently Claims Conference announced a one-time grant to dozens of thousands of Holocaust survivors, and the German government acknowledged 29 additional ghettos in Bulgaria and Romania. This acknowledgment means granting new rights and benefits to thousands of survivors, including those, who have not yet received a monthly allowance as Holocaust survivors only because they came to Israel after October 1953. They are now eligible for a monthly allowance and one-time grants, but still do not know how to realize these rights.
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Due to these recent updates, “Aviv for Holocaust Survivors” organization reports a high rise in Holocaust survivors and their families approaching the organization's call center for assistance. Therefore, the non-profit organization requires increase in resources and manpower in order to provide the professional, swift and effective response to Holocaust survivors, so they can submit all forms and requests as soon as possible.

"These funds can take the Holocaust survivors out of poverty"

"According to our estimations, over 50% of the survivors in don't get the full rights they deserve in Israel and abroad", says Orly Sivan, the CEO of Aviv for Holocaust Survivors” organization. "They lawfully deserve these by right and not by grace, but many encounter difficulties in realizing these rights since the process is complex and the survivors are not young people. Survivors' rights and benefits are updated from time to time and for thousands of them these rights are new and significant. But many survivors don't know about them or have difficulty realizing them due to their age and the bureaucratic obstacles. When we assist them to receive the funds and benefits they deserve, beyond the historic justice, these funds can take the Holocaust survivors out of poverty".
So is the case of Yaakov (88) and Rachel (86), siblings and Holocaust survivors, that lived hand to mouth for many years. About a year ago they approached the organization, after Germany officially acknowledged they city where they lived during the war as "Ghetto". "Aviv"'s  lawyer and rights consultant assisted the siblings to receive healthcare allowances, and so they get an additional monthly sum of 16,000 together. Moreover, the lawyer helped them to submit a on-time compensation request for "non-coercion work in a ghetto". And so the siblings were recently notified that addition funds from Germany are to be transferred to their bank accounts: €24,000 for Rachel and over €53,000 for Yaakov.
"Every day we encounter cases like Yaakov and Rachel's. Thanks to the highly professional legal staff, experts in the rights of Holocaust survivors in Israel and abroad, we succeed in giving each person the best help in realizing their rights through our consultation call center, the personal assistance we provide to the survivors in the community help centers and dozens of dedicated volunteers that go to the home-bound survivors' homes", says Sivan.

Continue to work tirelessly, even during the Covid19 pandemic

If during normal times Holocaust survivors find it difficult to realize their rights, since the Coronavirus outbreak the survivors encounter challenges in all aspects of life. Many turn to the organization not only for help with realizing their rights, but also with requests for social assistance, like help with shopping, food packages, relief of loneliness and more. "For us, this is our duty and calling at this period, and we're dedicated to do what we can for each and every request for help", says Sivan. "Fortunately, we managed to collaborate with other social organizations to support the Holocaust survivors who require social assistance, and we constantly searching for and finding creative ways to continue and provide professional help with realizing the rights in compliance with the Covid19 restrictions". 

Here is where you fit in: the organization's activity is not supported by the government, and the funding comes only from the general public

According to the study held by the Israeli company BDO, money donated to the organization is enough to make real change in the Holocaust survivors' lives. For every 100 ILS donated to the organization – a single Holocaust survivor receives an average of 4,600 ILS directly to their bank account at the end of the process. Eventually, the sum received by a survivor as a result of the help of "Aviv for Holocaust Survivors" organization is an average of 36,000 ILS.
In conclusion, thousands of Holocaust survivors are eligible for thousands of Shekels' worth of rights and benefits, but are unable to realize them on their own. More often than not, helping to realize these rights is what makes the difference between living in poverty or living with dignity. This is your chance to help "Aviv for Holocaust Survivors" organization reach as many survivors as possible so they can receive the funds and benefits they deserve all over the world.
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This article was written in cooperation with Aviv for Holocaust Survivors.