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International Holocaust Remembrance Day: 165,800 survivors alive in Israel

According to the The Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority, an average of 42 survivors pass away every day. About 31,000 survivors are over 90 years old and 950 of them are over 100 years old. The city where the most Holocaust survivors live is Haifa.

On the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which will be celebrated tomorrow (Thursday, January 27th) around the world, the The Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority is publishing up-to-date data on the situation of survivors in Israel.

In Israel there are currently 165,800 Holocaust survivors and victims of antisemitic harassment during the Holocaust, with an average age of 85. 19% of them, about 31,000, are over 90, and over 950 have crossed the age of 100. 60% of these are women – around 105 thousand, whose average age is slightly higher and stands at 85.4. In the past year, 15,324 survivors died – an average of 42 survivors per day.

Hall of Names at Yad Vashem (photography: EPA)

64% of the recognized survivors by the authority are from Europe, of which the largest group is 59,900 born in the former Soviet Union – 36%. 19,100 were born in Romania, representing 12%, 8,900 were born in Poland, which are about 5.5%, 4,500 were born in Bulgaria (2.7%), 2,400 were born in Hungary (1.5%) and 2,300 were born in Germany.

36% are natives of Asia and North Africa. Of these, 30,600 were natives of Morocco and Algeria who suffered from antisemitic harassment and various restrictions during the Vichy regime. 18,000 (11%) are Baghdad Jews who were exposed to the Farhud riots in Iraq in June 1941. An additional 7% (11,000) are from Tunisia and Libya who suffered racial laws and were sent to concentration and labor camps.

5% of the survivors immigrated to Israel even before the establishment of the state, 11% of the survivors immigrated to Israel by the end of 1948, about 80,500 (48%) immigrated to Israel by the end of the 1950s and more than a third (35%) immigrated to Israel in 1989 during the largest Aliyah wave from the former USSR. In 2021, 98 more Holocaust survivors immigrated to Israel.

Haifa is the city with the largest number of Holocaust survivors – 11,300, followed by Jerusalem 10,300 and Tel Aviv 8,900. In Ashdod 8,200 Holocaust survivors, in Netanya 8,000, in Be’er Sheva 7,050 in Petah Tikva 6,700 and in Rishon Lezion 6,500.

(photography: EPA)

“Our shift is the last shift, and it comes with a great responsibility,” says the Minister for Social Equality, Meirav Cohen. “The average age of Holocaust survivors is 85. These are the last years we have to serve them, allow them to grow old with dignity and also to document their story as much as possible because very soon there will be no one left to tell it. With this understanding we operate daily in a sense of urgency before time runs out. We have recently taken a series of steps to exercise their rights, many of them proactively, aimed at reducing and eradicating the phenomenon of poverty among Holocaust survivors. It is important to me that they know that my generation sees them as heroes and whenever it is a bit difficult here because the prices are high, because there are traffic jams on the roads, or when there is shouting in the Knesset plenum, I remember your story and I know that we have no other country and we need to protect it.”

The director of the The Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority, Abram Turem, added: “The authority, as an arm of the State of Israel, has a national and moral duty to care for the well-being of Holocaust survivors. In recent years we have made considerable efforts to reach out to every survivor, to examine what difficulties they are facing and to adapt ourselves to give them what they deserve. This way we were able to increase grants in 2021 to thousands of survivors and assist others in utilizing their legal rights especially during the Corona period. Also in the coming year, the authority will continue to act as quickly, professionally and sensitively as possible, eliminate bureaucratic barriers and expand the basket of social services, as it is our duty as a state to act and ensure that every survivor lives with the dignity they deserve in these years.”

This article was translated from the YNET article (published on 2022.01.26): https://www.ynet.co.il/news/article/bkik2orpt

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