Ahead of annual memorial day, 147,199 Holocaust survivors living in Israel

Figure includes 521 survivors who immigrated from Ukraine after Russian invasion; around 15,000 died over previous year; average age of survivors is 85

Relatives and friends of Holocaust survivors place flowers on names of concentration camps seen on the floor of the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem on Holocaust Remembrance Day April 12, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Relatives and friends of Holocaust survivors place flowers on names of concentration camps seen on the floor of the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem on Holocaust Remembrance Day April 12, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

There are 147,199 Holocaust survivors living in Israel, according to figures published Sunday by the Holocaust Survivors’ Rights Authority ahead of the upcoming Holocaust Memorial Day.

Israel officially marks its annual Holocaust Memorial Day starting Monday evening.

According to the authority, which is part of the Social Equality Ministry, the average age of Holocaust survivors is 85, with around 30,000 over age 90 and 462 who have lived for over a century. The youngest Holocaust survivors are aged 76.

Five hundred and twenty-one Holocaust survivors immigrated to Israel from Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion.

Haifa is home to the largest number of Holocaust survivors in Israel, followed by Jerusalem and then Tel Aviv.

Of the Holocaust survivors living in Israel, 63 percent were born in Europe — 37% are from countries of the former Soviet Union, 11% from Romania, and 5% from Poland. An additional 2.7% are from Bulgaria, 1.4% from Hungary, 1.4% from Germany, and 1% from the former Czechoslovakia and France.

Israelis stand in silence in Jerusalem on April 28, 2022 as sirens wail across Israel for two minutes marking the annual Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Remembrance Day (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

An additional 27,765 survivors are from Morocco and Algeria, where they suffered discrimination and harassment under the Nazi-allied Vichy government.

A further 11% are from Iraq, survivors of the Nazi-inspired Farhud pogrom of June 1941. Seven percent are from Libya and Tunisia, countries that during the Holocaust passed racist laws against Jews and imprisoned their communities in labor camps. Some of the Jewish community were also sent to the Giado concentration camp in Libya.

Over the past year the Holocaust Survivors’ Rights Authority spent over NIS 5.6 billion ($1.52 billion) on survivors, with a focus on increasing grants and expanding resources for those experiencing loneliness, stress and anxiety, the statement said. Of that amount, NIS 4.25 billion ($1.1 billion) was provided as direct benefits and grants.

A yellow Star of David Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis, is seen with other belongings of Holocaust survivors from the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp that are on display at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, January 24, 2005 (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)

“There is no way that a survivor will not receive an adequate response. We will not rest, we will continue to work for improvements and to optimize the service provided to the survivors, who are our connection to the previous generation that survived the atrocities,” said deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Uri Maklev.

Ronit Rosen, director of the ministry, said it had visited over 16,000 survivors in their homes in the past year.

“Our mission is clear and urgent – to act quickly and with maximum sensitivity in order to help the survivors live with the well-being they deserve,” she said.

The Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel said last year that roughly one in three survivors lives in poverty, with many dependent on food donations.

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