Christian and Jewish Ministry Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day with a Call to Action
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Monday marks Holocaust Remembrance Day and while the world remembers this terrible tragedy, many Holocaust survivors are living their final years in terrible poverty.
A recently released Facebook video shows the story of one such survivor, Olga, who was hunted by Nazis during World War II.
Olga now lives alone in the Ukrainian countryside, freezing and starving, with very little to eat.
Her circumstances are not unique.
To date, 400,000 Holocaust survivors are still alive today, but at least one in three survivors in the United States, and one-third of survivors in Israel, live below the poverty line.
Furthermore, about 200,000 Holocaust survivors in the former Soviet Union (FSU) don't have enough food, medicine, or heat in the winter, but a new global campaign is seeking to improve survivors' quality of life.
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews(The Fellowship) has launched a campaign calling Jews and Christians to take action on Holocaust Remembrance Day. They are asking people to not only remember the Holocaust's victims, but also help provide survivors with basic necessities.
"We must move quickly from memory to action to provide a measure of dignity to these Holocaust victims who are living their last days in crippling poverty," said the Fellowship's founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. "We must remember the past. But we also must act now."
The Fellowship will launch a $15 million fundraising campaign to support the poorest of survivors in Israel and the FSU over the next five years.
Business leader and philanthropist Haim Saban announced he is also donating $1 million to the effort.
"It is a privilege for me to help these poor, elderly survivors," said Saban. "I urge others to join us. We must remember -- but we must also act now."
Although the ministry is already supporting survivors around the world, there are a number of people who are not getting these resources.
"We must do whatever we can, while we still can, to bring compassion to those who endured one of the most horrific periods in our history," Eckstein said. "Sadly we are not. Instead of giving tens of millions of dollars for Shoah museums, testimonial libraries and the like, we ought to also focus on helping provide for these desperately poor Jews in the few years they are still alive."
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