After the Holocaust, approximately 40,000 Jewish survivors resettled in Canada. Of the several thousand who are still alive across the country, many are living at or below the poverty line.
Since 2015, the Azrieli Foundation has partnered with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany to complement its Emergency Assistance Program, which allocates funds to local Jewish agencies helping low-income Holocaust survivors. The program ensures these survivors receive financial assistance to meet urgent needs, including food, housing and medication. It operates through five trusted community agencies: Jewish Family and Child Service of Greater Toronto, Jewish Family Services Ottawa, Jewish Family Services Edmonton, Jewish Family Services Vancouver and Montreal’s Cummings Centre (which supports low-income Holocaust survivors across Canada).
The Foundation also contributes to rental assistance for low-income Holocaust survivors in Toronto through Kehilla Residential Programme.
As the survivor population ages and Canada’s healthcare system continues to experience backlogs caused by the pandemic, the need is greater than ever. This year, the Foundation also started supporting the Bernard Betel Centre’s Kosher Meals on Wheels Program for low-income seniors (many of whom are Holocaust survivors).
For one survivor, this emergency assistance was a lifeline after a hospital stay. With funds from the Azrieli Foundation, Jewish Family Services Ottawa delivered meals to her home, which is 45 minutes outside of the city. And during a pandemic lockdown, they arranged for a staff member to shop for her and safely deliver her groceries.
“As I am living alone, the most important thing is security,” she says. “And they were there for me, only a phone call away.”