Social welfare of Holocaust survivors and other victims of Nazi persecution

Recognizing that Holocaust (Shoah) survivors and other victims of Nazi persecution, including those who experienced the horrors of the Holocaust (Shoah) as small and helpless children, suffered unprecedented physical and emotional trauma during their ordeal. Scientific studies document that these experiences frequently result in heightened damage to health, particularly in old age, therefore it is a priority on dealing with their social welfare needs in their lifetimes. It is unacceptable that those who suffered so greatly during the earlier part of their lives should live under impoverished circumstance at the end. Holocaust (Shoah) survivors and other victims of Nazi persecution have today reached an advanced age and that they have special medical and health needs. Every effort should be made to address in their respective states the social welfare needs of the most vulnerable elderly victims of Nazi persecution – such as hunger relief, medicine and homecare as required, as well as measures that will encourage intergenerational contact and allow them to overcome their social isolation. These steps will enable them to live in dignity in the years to come.

In the field of welfare for victims of Nazism, ESLI organized a number of international events and commissioned three studies. International Conference on Social Welfare for Holocaust Survivors and Other Victims of Nazi Persecution is worth mentioning. It took place in Prague in May 2015 and was attended by governmental representatives from over forty Terezin Declaration countries, international experts and Holocaust survivors. The conference brought together policy makers and representatives of NGOs who provide care to victims of Nazism on the daily level, thus have a deep knowledge of needs of those who survived Shoah. During the Conference, ESLI launched the Social Welfare Database mapping what kind of services are provided by states to victims of Nazism in all 47 Terezin Declaration countries.

Besides, ESLI organized two seminars on welfare at the European Parliament in order to bring this utmost important topic on the European level. Seminars were successful and well attended, however ESLI failed to include welfare of victims of Nazism into the European agenda as social issues are in a competence of national governments and the European Union doesn’t interfere.