By Nicole Jansezian
The genocidal attacks carried out by Hamas on Israelis on October 7 evoked painful memories of the Holocaust and cast a spotlight on the remaining survivors of the Nazi onslaught in Europe decades ago.
For Holocaust survivors, the horrors of October 7 revived a dormant trauma forcing them to relive their nightmares and threatening their welfare and sense of security.
CBN Israel is partnering with The Jewish Agency to provide affordable housing for more than 27,000 Holocaust survivors and other needy elderly people around Israel.
The CBN Israel contribution enables dozens of couples and single elderly to live in comfort and dignity. Amigour Plugot is a housing program from The Jewish Agency that gives them this opportunity.
“Amigour is one big family, and no one ever feels lonely,” said Phima, a Holocaust survivor originally from Belarus. “Whenever I’m asked where I live, I proudly say Amigour.”
This year’s observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marked on January 27, was all the more poignant amid rising anti-Semitism and the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Fewer than 200,000 Holocaust survivors—almost half of all Holocaust survivors worldwide—are still living in Israel today.
But around 25 percent of those here in the Holy Land live below the poverty line.
Phima, who is now 85, was 3 years old when World War II reached his town in Slonim, Belarus. His parents fled to Uzbekistan with Phima and his two sisters. Nevertheless, his father disappeared after leaving for work one day and never made it back home. Eleven years later, the family learned that the father and six others had been captured and murdered by Nazi soldiers.
Phima joined the Uzbekistan military when he was 19 before attending university and becoming a history and economics teacher. He and his wife finally made Aliyah in 1996 joining their adult children who had already moved to the Jewish state as young adults. But shortly afterwards one of their daughters died from a deadly disease.
He and his wife, like so many other survivors, struggled financially as they grew older. Due to their dire financial predicament, they were eligible for Amigour’s housing program.
CBN Israel is working with the Jewish Agency to reach its goal of helping people like Phima and his wife live with peace of mind. Amigour’s new assisted living complex, under construction right now, will consist of 90 units with 22 units for couples and 68 units for single residents making room for many more elderly Israelis.
Nicole Jansezian is the media coordinator for CBN Israel. A long-time journalist, Nicole was previously the news editor of All Israel News and All Arab News and a journalist at The Associated Press. On her YouTube channel, Nicole gives a platform to the minority communities in Jerusalem and highlights stories of fascinating people in this intense city. Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., she lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Tony, and their three children.