A new global campaign initiated by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) and called “We Remember, We Act” is seeking to change how Jews and others commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day, urging people to move from memory to action to aid the world’s poorest survivors in their final days.
Some 400,000 Holocaust survivors remain alive today around the world, but many are living their final years in abject poverty. One in three Holocaust survivors in the United States, and one-third of Holocaust survivors in Israel live below the poverty line. And at least one fourth of Holocaust survivors in the former Soviet Union (FSU) – about 200,000 people – are subsisting without enough food, medicine, or heat in the winter. These elderly Jews and Holocaust survivors are among the poorest of all, many living in wretched conditions and having to choose daily whether to use their meager pension for electricity or water, medicine or food.
With the approach of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) on April 24, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) has launched a campaign urging Jews and Christians everywhere to radically change how they view and mark the day, pivoting from memorializing the Holocaust’s victims, to also acting by providing the living survivors with their basic needs in their final days.
“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.”