ON-SCREEN TEXT: A few times a week, more than 40 women who survived the Holocaust meet at a Jewish community center in Brooklyn.
3. Tray of food on table
4. "Family First" magazine on table
Brooklyn, New York – 23 January 2020
5. Various of Holocaust survivors exercising
ON-SCREEN TEXT: There they share meals, socialize, exercise, attend readings and receive legal assistance.
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Rizy Horowitz, senior manager of Holocaust Program at Nachas Health and Family Network:
"They come here because here they're treated with respect. It's not a fancy place. We don't put any money into the place because we don't have. We raise money wherever we can and we give them dignity and we give them something to."
7. Tight of coffee being stirred
8. Holocaust survivor drinking coffee
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Berta Einhorn, Lilly Klein and Berta Einhorn, Holocaust survivors:
Einhorn: "This is a good place, Nachas. We come to Nachas every day – almost every day. We have exercise "
Klein: "You meet people."
Einhorn: "We have lectures and we have movies and it just keeps us going a little."
Klein:"Too much thinking is not good."
ON-SCREEN TEXT: The community center is also a place where survivors can talk about their childhood experiences.
A few times a week, more than 40 women who survived the Holocaust meet at a Jewish community center in Brooklyn.
Decades after they suffered unspeakable horrors at concentration camps, many Holocaust survivors in the United States live in poverty and rely on donations from Jewish centers like Nachas Health and Family Network because they struggle to pay their rent and even food.
Rizy Horowitz, a senior manager at Nachas Health and Family Network says, "They come here because here they're treated with respect. It's not a fancy place. We don't put any money into the place because we don't have. We raise money wherever we can and we give them dignity and we give them something do."
According to the New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Jewish victims of Nazi persecution living in the U.S. are more likely than other Jewish elderly and other American elderly to be living in poverty.
The Holocaust outreach at Nachas began in the mid-1990s as an effort to get reparations following the Swiss government's decision to create a fund to help survivors, Horowitz said. It came after criticism from Jewish groups who said that bank officials blocked survivors and their heirs after WWII by claiming they could not find accounts or demanded death certificates.
Since then, Nachas has helped recover thousands of dollars in reparations for hundreds of survivors, some who also count on reparations money that they get from Germany as part of a program that began in 1952. Horowitz said the money is not enough, so they often reach out asking for help to pay for rent and other expenses.
Nachas has received funding from groups, including the Elie Wiesel Foundation, and the Claims Conference. Some of the money continues to pay for the group's exercise classes and therapy. The number is even higher in the New York City metropolitan area, where more than 38,000 Holocaust survivors are estimated to live, according to Selfhelp Community Services, a non-profit organization that focuses on research on Holocaust survivors and provides them with services.
Holocaust survivors Berta Einhorn says, "This is a good place, Nachas. We come to Nachas every day – almost every day. We have exercise." Einhorn's friend Lilly Klein chimes in, "You meet people." Einhorn continues, "We have lectures and we have movies and it just keeps us going a little."
Klein agrees: "Otherwise, too much thinking is not good."
The community center is also a place where survivors can talk about their childhood experiences.
After meeting at Nachas, Einhorn, Klein and Fernbach learned they had more in common than their Hungarian origin. They had all survived the Auschwitz concentration camp and a death march to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. April marks the 75th anniversary of their liberation from Bergen-Belsen.
Yafa Fetman, a social worker who provides counseling and Torah classes to the survivors, underscores the importance of a place like Nachas: "It's really adding to their life because there is a social place, there is a place that you can enjoy and have a good time with a friend."
Like many of the survivors, Fernbach chooses to count her blessings instead of her losses: "Alright, I lost my parents and siblings but still. Still, I thank the above."
As the survivors trickle out of Nachas, many with a second take home meal in hand, she adds: "There's something to be happy about."
Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.