I recently met with a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor. She told me that she survived the war with forged Polish papers which allowed her to flee from Poland to Austria and then Germany, where she worked at various factories and farms. She survived by pretending to be a non-Jewish Polish worker. After the war, she was relocated to a displaced person’s camp in Italy and it wasn’t until she arrived in the United States, six years after the war, that she was reunited with her mother.
This courageous survivor lost her father and brother and doesn’t even know where or how they were killed. She has never been to Israel, and does not consider herself religious and told me, “I’m not Orthodox, Reform or anything, just disappointed, disappointed that G-d could have allowed this to have happened.” However, she wanted to do something meaningful to memorialize her father and brother. When she read in our AMIT magazine about the work we are doing for the children of Israel, she decided to dedicate something at AMIT in their memory. She recalled that her brother was 11 when he was taken away, and she still remembers his adorable face and misses him deeply.
This woman who worked so hard all her life only received a 9th grade education because of the war and could not resume her education because she needed to earn a living. While a survivor who lives extremely modestly and only receives help in the form of some aid from the Claims Conference, she made an $18,000 gift to AMIT. And she made sure to tell me that she doesn’t want any pity or admiration; her story is just one, like so many of her friends who have survived the atrocities of the Holocaust. Her gift was made so that the children of AMIT will be able to get the education and support that she never had. She saw great value in the work that AMIT is doing to level the playing field for those less fortunate.
I came away realizing that AMIT’s work in Israel not only strengthens the children we help, but provides inspiration to people like this incredible woman. It is gratifying to hear firsthand how Israel continues to serve as a beacon of salvation and hope for Jews everywhere.
Senior Director Development