Oszkár, 94, vividly remembers his Budapest childhood. Passover seders with family, singing in the synagogue choir, studying at vocational school—and the Nazis storming in and destroying all of it. Though he had dreamed of one day becoming a bank officer, the new anti-Jewish legislation turned what should have been an attainable goal into an impossible fantasy.
At 21, he was taken to two different labor camps, one run by a sadistic supervisor who forced each inmate to carry logs up a hill– logs so big each required two people to lift.
Somehow he survived.
Shortly after the war, Oszkár was fortunate to meet the love of his life, but since she passed away 20 years ago, he has lived alone in a small apartment in his hometown. His health declined in 2012 after a stroke left him with constant tremors, partial blindness and deafness, and limited mobility.
Oszkár depends on critical medical care and home supplies and receives direct, life-saving assistance from American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). A partner of Jewish Federations of North America, JDC is able to help Oszkár and other Holocaust survivors because of your donations to JCBA’s Annual Campaign. A portion of campaign dollars go to assisting Jews in need abroad.
Elderly Holocaust survivors are a vulnerable population. There are about 4,000 survivors in Hungary alone that receive services from JDC. Without these services and help, many would live impoverished lives.
Direct service is just one part of JDC’s mission to assist Holocaust survivors in Hungary. At the JCC in Budapest, the Shalom Club offers them the chance to come together for educational and social programs that also help beat isolation, like film screenings, city tours and exercise. About 20-30 survivors participate in the monthly Eotvos social club, with many also serving as community volunteers.
“JDC makes me feel like I’m not alone,” Oszkár says.
Just as it is imperative never to forget the Holocaust, it is important to care for its survivors now. We have the opportunity to provide support, needed medical attention and concern.
Consider making a donation to the JCBA’s Annual Campaign, which helps fund programs like JDC, as well as programming and services in the Akron Jewish community. Call 835-0005 or visit www.jewishakron.org/annual_campaign.