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Poverty Among Holocaust Survivors Hits A Nerve In Israel

An Israeli places a flower beside the name of the World War II Nazi concentration camp Bergen Belsen during a ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, on April 28. The Israeli government is weighing a new plan that would get more financial help to elderly Holocaust survivors, including about 50,000 in the country who are living below the poverty line.

Yulia Feuerman receives about $400 a month from a German government fund. She currently doesn't receive any financial assistance from Israel due to a law that stipulates that money Germany gave to Israel more than half a century ago can only be offered directly to survivors who arrived by 1953. Feuerman arrived in Israel a decade later. Here, she knits at the Lifeline crafts workshop in Jerusalem.

The new plan would end a distinction between survivors who arrived in Israel before 1953 and those who arrived after. Mark Taits saw 43 relatives die in the Minsk ghetto during World War II. The 86-year-old moved to Israel from the former Soviet Union in 1991, and hopes to qualify for more assistance under the proposed plan. Here, he paints on silk at the Lifeline workshop.

Yulia Feuerman stays dry-eyed telling many of her experiences during World War II.

When she was 10, Feuerman was separated from her mother and two sisters by Nazi soldiers in their small town in what is now western Ukraine. They were sent to a concentration camp. Feuerman, her father and two remaining siblings went into hiding with other Jews — but were eventually found by the Germans. Her father and brother were shot and killed. A Christian family took Feuerman in, pretending she was their daughter to protect her.

But it's when she remembers a spring walk with that family that she finally cries. They passed a pear tree in bloom, she remembers. The last time she'd sat under its blossoms, she had been with an aunt and cousins as they stitched items for a dowry.

"They were all gone," she says, choking up. "Just the tree remained, like a memorial."

The Israeli government doesn't want Yulia Feuerman to die poor. She is one of nearly 50,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel — a quarter of the 200,000 total — whose incomes put them below the poverty line.

A recent survey by the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel found that one in five Holocaust survivors had to choose between food and other necessities over the past two years.

Now, the government wants parliament to approve just more than a billion shekels a year — or more than $300 million — to help Holocaust survivors, including those in poverty, during in the final years of their lives.

The survey findings weren't an enormous surprise. Government statistics show one-fifth of all Israelis are poor by the same definition.

But Rony Kalinsky, CEO of the foundation that did the study, says Israelis don't want Holocaust survivors in particular to live out their lives this way.

"They expect the country to give them all the help they need to live in dignity for the last years," he says.

A Complicated Law From The 1950s

If the parliament approves, Israel's new program will beef up cash stipends, simplify some of the bureaucracy that may have kept survivors from applying for assistance in the past, and offer additional support such as counseling.

It aims to make amends for an old law — perhaps an old attitude — that now seems unfitting.

That law stipulates that money Germany gave to Israel more than half a century ago can only be offered directly to survivors who arrived in Israel by 1953.

Holocaust compensation is complicated. Take Feuerman's case, for instance. For the past decade, she has received about $400 a month from the German government under an agreement with the Claims Conference, a group of Jewish organizations that negotiated financial payments for Holocaust survivors.

But she has not been eligible for financial assistance from Israel because she immigrated here a decade after the 1953 cutoff date.

She doesn't understand why that date was ever approved. Kalinsky suggests Israeli leaders were focused on other issues in the 1950s — building a new and relatively poor country that needed a strong military.

"That was maybe right for those days," Kalinsky says. "Now when the Holocaust survivors are old and their needs are so high, this is the time to try and to make the changes."

In the early days of their country, many Israelis also had mixed feelings about Holocaust survivors.

"We saw the Holocaust survivors as a very weak population," says Nava Ein-Mor, who was born in Tel Aviv in 1945, the year World War II ended. "We were very different from them. We were strong, and we were not going to allow ourselves to be in that position."

It was a defense mechanism, she says, a condescending attitude to protect against confronting such horror.

Ein-Mor runs Yad LaKashish, or Lifeline for the Old, an organization where elderly Israelis sew, paint and do other handicrafts. Some are Holocaust survivors. All have incomes below the poverty line. They come, five mornings a week, for companionship, creative work and a small stipend.

Ein-Mor says she will be glad to see Holocaust survivors receive more support, especially if they need it. But she'd like to see the government help other poor older people, too.

"I'm not the finance minister," she says jokingly. "I can't deliver those funds. But prioritizing between people is a cruel thing to do."

New Hope For Those Who Suffered

The new government plan draws a key distinction within the nearly 200,000 survivors: those who were forced into ghettos or concentration camps and those who were not.

The first group includes Yulia Feuerman. And because the new plan does away with the 1953 cutoff date, she and 20,000 others may soon be eligible for a monthly payment from Israel of between $600 and $1,200. (Survivors who arrived before 1953 were already eligible for these payments; the amounts, though, will rise.)

The second group includes many Jews who came to Israel from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s, like 84-year-old Sonya Barula. She lives with her dirty-white poodle Dollie in a run-down Jerusalem apartment she can barely afford. Barula lived through part of the siege of Leningrad, when Nazi troops cut off almost all supplies to the city during World War II.

"People ate leather," she remembers. "People ate glue. They boiled it into soup or into jelly. All the dogs, cats, horses."

Bombs fell constantly, there was no heat save from what could be burned. Her family escaped over the lake near the city that, when frozen in the deep Russian winter, provided the only way out.

Barula is among the 80,000 Israelis who are survivors of what in Russian is known as the katestropha — the catastrophe — but not of ghettos or camps. Israel's new support for Holocaust survivors will offer this group about $1,000 a year, plus full coverage of medications, and psychological support.

Barula helped survivors of the Leningrad siege win recognition and a one-time cash payment from the Claims Conference five years ago. She says even more than money, such survivors deserve recognition for what they went through.

But she is worried about rent, and grateful for a program run by a private charity, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, that gives her about $70 a month to supplement her shopping.

Yael Eckstein, the fellowship's vice-president and daughter of its controversial founder, suggests perhaps too much money has been directed to Holocaust monuments and memorials, rather than survivors.

"There has been millions of dollars invested in memorials and museums in order to fulfill that promise that the world never forget," she says. "And that's important, because we have to remember. We have to pass it on to the next generation. But the fellowship believes this is our final opportunity to help the individuals who were affected by the Holocaust."

If any help from Israel comes to Yulia Feuerman, she says it will be too late.

"Far too late. The only people still alive were children then. I was 10 years old. Now I have one foot in the grave," she says. "They should have thought of this earlier."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/

Comments

Avatar for user 'sanblogger'

sanblogger | May 14, 2014 at 1:09 a.m. ― 7 months, 1 week ago

we will never forget!!
thousands of companies run by top Nazis made profits by using camp victims as free labor. it is a shame, this companies have never been nationalized they kept their profits.

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Avatar for user 'danielaviv'

danielaviv | May 15, 2014 at 12:46 a.m. ― 7 months, 1 week ago

I discovered this mega blog at the haaretz.com internal archive.
Reads like a thriller
Without happy end
Leaves me crying in deep sadness

Regards from tel aviv
daniel

I will try to contact sunny- mentioned below

____________________________________________________

archive 2010 / by אֲהוּביָה / may 1, 2010 / 7:22:49 pm

concentration camps where treated as a source of cheap labor by nazi industry. Juristication should seize the profits made on suffering and dying jewes – even today!
Major nazi profits are still around.
quote:
ITS watch is an independent, non-profit organization with no affiliations to any political party. Our activities are funded by charitable donations only.
Our focus is to monitor the development of Nazi crims major beneficiaries from 1945 to the present.
Our work is founded on the catalogue of nazi concentration camps and prisons in germany and german-occupied territories 1939—1945, published by ITS
Extract from report Q2 2010
labor/concentration camp: Dachau, Germany
economic beneficiary: Windenfabrik Schober, renamed after WWII to Pfaff Silberblau (winch manufacturer)
ownership: Pfaff family, Kissing, Germnay
beneficiary sold to: Columbus Mckinnon Corp./USA
year of sale: 2008
sales revenue: 36 m $
known donations, charitable benefits and sponsoring to ccamp victims: none

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Avatar for user 'danielaviv'

danielaviv | May 15, 2014 at 12:48 a.m. ― 7 months, 1 week ago

(second part)

archive 2010 / by aaron73 / may 14, 2010 / 1:18:05 pm
זה חבל

carefully researched and reviewed the content of pfaff silberlaus Internet site. It left me appalled and shocked.
Neither the Pfaff Silberblau Corp. nor the Pfaff family have dissociated themselves from the former felony. On the contrary.
Quotation:
„This can be explained by a farsighted company culture that has been already cultivated by the former Augsburg winch manufacturer, who brought the follow-up company to the top of the branch step by step”
www.pfaff-silberblau.com/226853-bD1lbg-/en/unternehmen/historie/historie.html

The suffering of Nazi slave-worker is labeled as farseithed and the corporate culture based upon the use of slave-worker at the winch factory is emphasized as the proud background of the enterprise.
Unbelievable but true, the old Nazi families are still among us –proud and wealthy-

archive 2011 / by אחוה1993 / jan 09, 2011 / 9:01:59 am

I am doing a student research project about moral reparation for nazi victims.
Will take pfaff silberblau as a negative example.
Any idea which conc camp the victims came from?
Any idea where the 36 milions went to?
Please mail iinfo to: sunny93@hot.net.il />תודה

archive 2011 / by אֲהוּביָה / mar 23, 2011 / 9:43:37 pm

being hopefully not too late.
the pfaff family enterprise enslaved forced-workers for years. This forced-workers suffered and died in the Augsburg based nazi concentration camp Nr. 194, a sub camp of the horrible Dachau concentration camp killing thousands Jews.
According to International Tracing Service

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Avatar for user 'danielaviv'

danielaviv | May 15, 2014 at 12:50 a.m. ― 7 months, 1 week ago

(third part)

archive 2011 / by aaron73 / mar 30, 2011 / 11:51:17 am

no idea where the money went to. No known donations to jewish ngo.
Israel, the forced-workers and all victims of the Holocaust should claim not less than a formal excuse and a compensation payment of 15% of the funds gained in 2008.
15% for the victims of the concentration camp!

archive 2011 / by GKR / apr 02, 2011 / 10:47:41 am

I emphasized that the remembrance of the victims of Dachau would keep alive the memory of million-fold injustice. For this use the 15%.

archive 2011 / by אחוה1993 / may 07, 2011 / 5:47:21 pm

thank all those who have helped and the many mails!!!! 
I will contact the new owner of this nazi company to make them chancge thei internet site and include an excuse. 
Afraid no chance for the 15 %.

archive 2011 / by angrybird / may 29, 2011 / 7:50:31 pm

no amendment so far

archive 2011 / by אחוה1993 / aug 26, 2011 / 10:42:19 am

sorry i forget, promise to contact

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Avatar for user 'danielaviv'

danielaviv | May 15, 2014 at 12:52 a.m. ― 7 months, 1 week ago

(forth part)

archive 2011 / by אחוה1993 / aug 27, 2011 / 4:12:38 pm

done

archive 2011 / by angrybird / dec 29, 2011 / 9:52:02 pm

site has changed, congrats

archive 2011 / by GKR / dec 30, 2011 / 6:02:46 am

you made it!

archive 2011 / by אֲהוּביָה / dec 31, 2011 / 10:94:25 pm
coooool

archive 2012 / by aaron73 / jan 14, 2012 / 4:42:17 pm

I m going to pop a gasket, a crummy change, no excuse, no compensation, no donation. Them wanker fucking keep the 36 m.
Sunny have you got details esp names and so on?
Fucking hell I m pissed!

archive 2012 / by אחוה1993 / jan 16, 2012 / 3:56:02 am

אתה לא יכול להפסיק לומר? זין " כל הזמן "
Thread when back from vac

archive 2012 / by אחוה1993 / jan 27, 2012 / 6:05:52 am

Iam back!
Among the 2500 companies verifiable enslaving forced-workers during Nazi times is the Pfaff family with their former enterprise „Windenfabrik Schober“ pfaff silberlau.
The family has made 36 m $ (not ש״ח) out of their nazi company.
They are proud of their nazi heritage being their “proud background”.
You want names. Here we go.
Their official press release 2008 states:
“Christoph Pfaff, representative for the Pfaff family, is also pleased about the transaction”

well nothing else to be expected by nazi pfaff. No address as it was not nes to my report.

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Avatar for user 'danielaviv'

danielaviv | May 15, 2014 at 12:55 a.m. ― 7 months, 1 week ago

(the end)

archive 2012 / by angrybird / feb 04, 2012 / 12:09:47 pm

aaron is fucking right.
The truth about nazi pfaffs wealth origin and development must be made public.
I call for this truth to be made public, therefore I googled his address.
Christoph Pfaff, 11 Kreuz?ckerstr, steppach ZIP: 86356
Apparently he runs a comapny www.cmp-fe.de />I don’t read german- and this is a good thing

archive 2012 / by levi.d / feb 05, 2012 / 4:5:48 pm

I checked the site, its about financial engineering, bet I know what money nazi pfaff is engineering with.
Did some extra work on his associates listetd –took a while- got them all.
Bingo
Listed as coop is g. alexander von webenau an active, major german nazi. Found a dozen of posting on this neo nazi leader.
http://motherbird.com/farright.html
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/neo-nazi-influence-alarms-minister/163084.article
http://www.adl.org/assets/pdf/combating-hate/Explosion-of-Hate.pdf
http://jungefreiheit.de/service/archiv/?www.jf-archiv.de/archiv98/158aa9.htm
and so on
check yourself: alexander von webenau
Fuck I feel helpless shocked about this dirty nazipigs.

archive 2012 / by angrybird / feb 09, 2012 / 9:24:19 pm

Good on you

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 16, 2014 at 10:36 a.m. ― 7 months, 1 week ago

sanblogger you think the companies should be nationalized? Do you know who else liked to nationalize companies? Hint: He was the leader of the nationalist socialist german workers party.

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Avatar for user 'sanblogger'

sanblogger | May 18, 2014 at 6:39 a.m. ― 7 months, 1 week ago

JeanMarc what you say is generally true; nationalization and socialism are the wrong way!!!! what both past and present underline!!
No matter whether its called national socialism (Chávez, Hitler) or socialist international (USSR).

This does not however apply to gains on sales and disposition of significant business interest of the 2.500 companies quoted above.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 18, 2014 at 9:38 a.m. ― 7 months ago

SANDCLOGGER, I think you need to take a class in Econo 101

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Avatar for user 'sanblogger'

sanblogger | May 18, 2014 at 10:32 p.m. ― 7 months ago

I visited his site cmp-fe.de and was horrified to see nazi Pfaff openly declaring his political beliefs by having the same haircut as his idol Adolf Hitler.
See for yourself. You wont believe!!!!
http://www.cmp-fe.de/crew/die-crew/

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 19, 2014 at 8:16 a.m. ― 7 months ago

sanblogger so you are against the government coming in and taking over private businesses, except in the case of business you do not like? Hmm...

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Avatar for user 'danielaviv'

danielaviv | May 19, 2014 at 8:50 a.m. ― 7 months ago

At my place this nazi buggers will be lapidated at once

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Avatar for user 'nevadajoe'

nevadajoe | May 20, 2014 at 11:52 p.m. ― 7 months ago

Hi Pfaff - beard is missing

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | May 21, 2014 at 9:37 a.m. ― 7 months ago

Has poverty among Americans of Japanese Descent -- specifically, those who were captured in California during World War II -- hit a nerve among my fellow Californians?

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Avatar for user 'nupis'

nupis | May 22, 2014 at 10:57 p.m. ― 7 months ago

I am disconcerted and stunned neonazis like Pfaff and Webenau must not get away.

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Avatar for user 'nevadajoe'

nevadajoe | May 23, 2014 at 12:48 a.m. ― 7 months ago

Lets bust nazi asses. got douchebags address.

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Avatar for user 'sanblogger'

sanblogger | May 23, 2014 at 9:36 a.m. ― 7 months ago

slow down your nazi hunt. the whole bloody lot is well organized, they will sue for libel.
Nazi millions will pay nazi lawyers

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Avatar for user 'sunny93'

sunny93 | May 23, 2014 at 10:57 p.m. ― 7 months ago

DANIEL, thks for reposting our haaretz thread and passing the m.

Ref to my 2011 student project.
The nazis 2008 news release as well as news.cision.com state

….. and Honert + Partners as legal advisor to management……
www.honert.de

so watch out !

kind regards from Israel to CA

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Avatar for user 'nupis'

nupis | May 26, 2014 at 6:12 a.m. ― 6 months, 4 weeks ago

my grandmother died in dachau KZ, fuck i m not afraid of a honert or any wimpy honert nazi lawyer they cant sue the whole of our people

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Avatar for user 'nevadajoe'

nevadajoe | June 2, 2014 at 2:53 a.m. ― 6 months, 3 weeks ago

i will not let the matter rest. i will spread the word

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Avatar for user 'sunny93'

sunny93 | June 6, 2014 at 5:29 a.m. ― 6 months, 2 weeks ago

still tuned.
planing to suggest the case for a graduate research thesis to my prof.
We will make an issue out of the topic! the exact title will be discussed in due course.
keep you informed, here as well as on haaretz.com

NEVADAJOE, keep going, spread the word!

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