The Jerusalem Municipality, in cooperation with Misgav
Lekashish and the chareidi extension of the Amcha
organization, is operating an information center for
Holocaust survivors to raise awareness of survivors' rights
in the chareidi sector.
The center will allow Holocaust survivors and their children
to receive free information and practical assistance
regarding rehabilitation of those disabled by Nazi
persecution, claims committees, welfare funds for Holocaust
survivors, liaison offices for rent assistance recipients,
consulting and guidance on property restoration, insurance
policies, litigation and compensation payments for victims of
The Center will also handle collecting information and
historical documentation of the Holocaust period, working in
conjunction with other organizations. As part of the project,
which is backed by rabbonim, the Center is offering an
opportunity for survivors to record their oral histories on
video for posterity. The Center will also provide specially
trained volunteers who can offer ways to cope with painful
memories, encouraging victims to break the bonds of silence
and fostering their need to hear and be heard.
Jerusalem Mayor Rabbi Uri Lupoliansky, who has been working
in recent months toward the setup of the Center in the city,
said the project is needed to dispel confusion and
disinformation regarding the rights of survivors, who have
not been exposed to the relevant information. "The setup of
the Center is also vital for many survivors of limited means.
On many occasions they make the decision to use their rights
but are in the hands of various figures who charge high fees
to help them fill out simple forms and for other services.
The municipal center will allow survivors to receive full
services and the assistance they need free of charge."
Studies conducted in recent years show the lack of awareness
on the issue of survivors' rights is particularly acute
within the chareidi sector, which is not exposed to various
public notices that appear in the general media. The Center
will also offer assistance to thousands of new immigrants
from Eastern Europe who spent long periods in concentration
camps and labor camps are also largely unaware of these
rights. Recently they have been provided with new
opportunities to take advantage of grants and compensation
The directors of Misgav Lekashish, an aid organization for
the elderly that is helping the municipality operate the
project, sees the Center as a welcome initiative that will
develop the services Misgav provides Jerusalem's elderly
residents in the areas of nursing care, welfare and community
Amcha says unfortunately the chareidi community is
insufficiently aware of the opportunities at their disposal
in the area of survivor rights. "With the setup of the Center
this sector, too, will be able to benefit from these services
and other activities the organization makes available to
The man behind the Center for Holocaust Survivors is R'
Michoel Urich, who was born in Warsaw and at the age of five
was banished to the ghetto with his family. Later he was
taken to Buchenwald, where he lost all of his family members
and numerous acquaintances. Upon his arrival in Eretz Yisroel
R' Urich decided to dedicate his life to helping Holocaust
refugees. "Over the years," he says, "I have met many
survivors who are unaware of their rights, the kind of people
who barely eek out a living and every [shekel] could help.
When I saw them I realized the War has not yet ended.
The [Germans] adopted the approach, "Both killers and heirs."
I couldn't stand the thought people whose property was stolen
from them by the Germans and their allies have trouble
getting enough food to eat after all of the inferno they went
through." R' Urich spent his time mastering the maze of
bureaucracy and forms and sees this as a small way to thank
Hashem for the miracle of his rescue from the hands of the
The Center was initiated after he discovered 60 percent of
survivors' aid requests do not justify paid legal services.
The Center is turning to survivors and the relatives of
childless survivors who have not yet filed claims to contact
the chareidi section of Misgav Lekashish at 02-6252444, Ext.
6 to receive the help they need.