Holocaust Survivors Still Living in Dire Straits

A new survey published ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day shows that a quarter of survivors in Israel live below the poverty line.

Cynthia Blank ,

Holocaust survivor (illustration)
Holocaust survivor (illustration)
Flash 90

Despite national initiatives last year to help Holocaust victims residing in Israel, the situation for many is still dire. 

The Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims published on Monday, ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day which begins Wednesday night, a survey demonstrating the worrying conditions a good number of survivors live in. 

According to the survey, approximately 189,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel. Two-thirds of the survivors are women. Of those 189,000 survivors, 45,000, or one-fourth, live below the poverty line. 

The average age of survivors is 83.3. According to data, about 65% of survivors in need of aid are aged 80 or over. Furthermore, 40% of survivors are aged 86 and older, with 13% aged 90 and over. 

More than a third (36%) of Holocaust survivors in Israel live alone and are forced to get by on their own. 

The Holocaust Survivors Welfare Fund also published surveys this year finding there has been a deterioration in the condition of survivors since 2014 - despite new government funding programs

In 2015, 39% of survivors reported that their monthly income does not allow them to live with income, as opposed to 31% last year.

Another 30% reported that because of their desperate financial situations they had given up food, while 25% gave up purchasing drugs or medical treatment. These numbers were 31% and 17%, respectively, in 2014. 

The survey also found that 27% of the survivors were unable to heat their homes this past winter, and 20% indicated that they did not feel safe in their homes. 45% reported feeling lonely most of the time or from time to time.

Perhaps just as worrisome is the belief among nearly half of the survivors in Israel that a second Holocaust is likely.