International Holocaust Remembrance Day: World remembers as the survivors in Israel still struggle

Holocaust

Israel IsraelJanuary 27 is marked each year as a tribute to the victims of Holocaust, known as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, but many survivors in Israel still struggle each passing day. Bundled up in cold, dozens of Holocaust survivors gather in a Jerusalem courtyard, picking up donations before a snowstorm on eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Every year UNESCO on January 27 pays tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and reaffirms its commitment to counter antisemitism, racism, and intolerance that may lead to violence against a targeted group. The date marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops in 1945. It was officially proclaimed, in November 2005, International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust by the United Nations General Assembly.

Israel came into existence in 1948 as a refuge for Jews in the wake of the Holocaust. The country works to remember the 6 million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide and to honor the survivors as heroes. But still, among approximately 165,000 survivors in Israel, about one in three lives in poverty conditions, according to a survivors’ advocacy group. Though survivors regularly receive stipends by government, many still rely on food donations that are organized by Israeli charities like Chasdei Naomi. “The ones who really need to be responsible for taking care of Holocaust survivors is the state of Israel. Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist,” said Tshuva Cabra, the group’s head of donations. “If we will not be there for them, who will? It’s really sad that only NGOs are standing up and acting,” she said.

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As this year marks 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazis’ Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland, the survivors of Holocaust continue to deplete, and so does the last living link between modern history and the people who endured the greatest atrocities against humanity. The Holocaust Survivors’ Rights Authority said that more than 15,000 survivors of Holocaust died in 2021.

Keeping in mind that Holocaust Remembrance is a big part of Israel’s identity, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said earlier this week that the government is in plans to budget nearly $10 million in additional funds to Yad Vashem to help “preserve the memory of the Holocaust in Israel and the world.” This marked approximately 20% jump in the institution’s annual budget in 2020, of which over a third was financed by the Israeli government.

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