Social Welfare Workshop Hagibor

The European Shoah Legacy Institute hosted a Social Welfare Workshop which provided an opportunity for experts - especially from Central and Eastern Europe - to share their experiences, best practices, and views on the future of everyday and specialized care for survivors of the Holocaust and other victims of Nazi persecution.

The workshop was held at the Hagibor Social Care Facility in Prague on December 11-12, 2013, and was attended by representatives of Czech organizations (Living Memory, Foundation for Holocaust Victims, Czech Union of Freedom Fighters, and Terezin Initiative) as well as representatives of organizations and government ministries from Belgium, Switzerland, Israel, USA, Poland, Russia, Romania, and Ukraine. International organizations including the European Commission, the International Organization for Migration, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe were also represented.

Participants covered issues regarding the current state of care for Holocaust survivors, best practices, the financing of future adequate care, and the role of multilateral organizations in securing adequate care for this highly specific group of seniors.

The workshop offered lectures by speakers from several Eastern European countries which gave participants the extraordinary opportunity to become familiar with the current situation in Romania, the Russian Federation, Poland, and Ukraine, and to gain valuable contacts for potential future cooperation.

The participants agreed that the responsibility to care for Holocaust survivors falls to national governments, but the role of the private and non-profit sectors is also important. It was agreed that each government should especially bear in mind the physical and mental suffering to which the survivors were exposed and the far-reaching consequences of such trauma, which has significantly affected the quality of the survivors’ personal and often professional lives. A systemic approach to care for Holocaust survivors was agreed to be necessary, especially with respect to the current social state of many survivors and their advanced age and worsening health.