Advisor to American secretary of state says substantial number of 500,000 Shoah survivors worldwide need urgent help to live a dignified life in their last years.
A substantial number of the 500,000 Holocaust survivors worldwide are suffering from poverty and need urgent help to live a dignified life in their last years, an advisor to the US secretary of state said Wednesday.
"It\’s really unacceptable that those people who in their youth suffered so grievously should have to live out their declining years in deprivation, isolation and poverty," Stuart Eizenstat, special advisor on Holocaust issues to John Kerry told AFP.
"In New York City alone, of the 60,000 survivors, 50% are in that state. In Israel about a third are, and in the former Soviet Union countries upwards of 85-90% are in poverty," he said on the sidelines of a conference in Prague.
"All the surveys indicate that substantial percentages of those (survivors) are living in poverty or near poverty," Eizenstat added.
The two-day "Living in Dignity" conference was organized by the European Shoah Legacy Institute as a follow-up to the Terezin declaration signed by 47 countries and the EU in the Czech Republic in 2009.
He added that France, Germany and other countries had sold heirless Jewish properties confiscated by the Nazis to raise funds for social benefits.