Holocaust survivors deserve more than this

Afghan refugees being resettled in the US will surely benefit from Jewish generosity. Holocaust survivors are starving. Op-ed.

Jack Engelhard ,

Survivors in Kotel Bar Mitzva (file)
Survivors in Kotel Bar Mitzva (file)
Jewish Agency

I wasn’t ready for this, an item telling us that 179,000 Holocaust Survivors live in Israel, but 40,000 of them, 25 percent, live in poverty.

How can this be…I mean about the poverty? Obviously, help coming from various sources is not enough… so are there no children, no grandchildren?

Now this…some 80,000 Holocaust Survivors live in the United States and…and a third of them live in poverty.

This too should not be.

Recently, I read where a particular Jewish group in the US raised millions for Haiti. How nice. Next, surely, Afghanistan.

Afghan refugees being resettled here by the hundreds of thousands will surely benefit from Jewish generosity. Bringing into our neighborhoods the clash of civilizations amounts to lessons unlearned, according to the wisdom of this classic book. Biden is chipping in billions from the government.

The newcomers won’t miss a meal.

Survivor Jews go starving.

Coming to America, Jewish Holocaust refugees never got the red-carpet treatment.

Through various memorials and moments of silence we do pay tribute to this Holocaust generation…these, The Last of the Just…if you recall Andre Schwarz Bart’s book of remembrance…but food on the table ought to come first for the living. This is a precious people who merit our love and respect.

Next, their stories.

If only someone will listen. They have so much wisdom to share from actual experience.

Harrowing, yes. All the more reason attention must be paid.

Having a story to tell, but no means to tell it…this too is poverty.
Time is short. They won’t be around forever. I told my story here, but not everyone is a writer.

I have been asked to help write their stories and when I was younger I did what I could, but now…who has the strength?

Having a story to tell, but no means to tell it…this too is poverty.

A man visited me a few days before Rosh Hashana. He asked me for help to write his story, perhaps in the simple style in which I wrote my memoir.

Shouldn’t take long, he said…one three-page vignette after another.

So happens that it took me 20 years to get mine done. Simple writing is the hardest to do.

His story begins when…Sophie’s Choice…he sent his parents on a transport to Auschwitz. The Nazis were famous for such tricks.

They would say to the child, one bus leaves for freedom, the other for the camps. Naturally, he pointed to freedom, unaware at the moment that both were headed in the same direction.

He has not gotten over the guilt.

The guilt, this too is famous, as Survivor’s Guilt…a syndrome in which people feel guilty for no reason. There is nothing they did wrong.

My friend Al suffered from this. He alone was spared when he went playing with some friends and got back home to find his entire family slaughtered by Ukraine Nazis.

In America, he became a success, but never successful enough to stop feeling guilty…every day.

This is not necessarily typical. In fact, there is nothing typical about any Survivor story. All are different. All are unique. All need to be told.

All need to be heard before it’s too late.

Fellow Jews who have it made might consider offering a helping hand to their brothers and sisters…if there is anything left over after Haiti.

It is not only for the Haitians and the Afghans where the need is burning.

New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes regularly for Arutz Sheva.

He wrote the worldwide book-to-movie bestseller “Indecent Proposal,” the authoritative newsroom epic, “The Bathsheba Deadline,” followed by his coming-of-age classics, “The Girls of Cincinnati,” and, the Holocaust-to-Montreal memoir, “Escape from Mount Moriah.” For that and his 1960s epic “The Days of the Bitter End,” contemporaries have hailed him “The last Hemingway, a writer without peer, and the conscience of us all.” Website: www.jackengelhard.com