Sick, weak and alone, the Survivors of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (FSU) somehow began trying to rebuild life. Some were adopted. Some left for other countries. Others were taken away to gulags and labor camps in the Soviet Union, where they were once again subjected for years to beatings, forced labor and starvation. Untold numbers died. Some made the perilous journey to Israel, only to be interned on Cyprus in internment camps, while others were caught up in the war of Independence in Israel where many lost their lives.
Some were shot by their neighbors when they tried to regain their home property. Communist rule was immediately thrust upon all those who stayed in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. With the fall of the Soviet Union in the early ’90’s, currencies were devalued and many lost life savings.
Today, Holocaust Survivors in Eastern Europe/Former Soviet Union are amongst the poorest in the world. Over half are alone with no family. Many are still faced with attacks of Anti-Semitism. They struggle daily with health difficulties and too many are forced to choose between food, medicine or heat. They survived the Holocaust,the murder of their families, gulags and forced labor camps, internment camps, decades of communist rule to end up in the last years of their lives still suffering. Although there are organizations working hard to intervene there are still thousands of Survivors without assistance. Let that sink in….Thousands.
The Lev Project’s lifework is to aid, love and protect Holocaust Survivors in Eastern Europe/FSU through these avenues:
- Identifying Survivors in critical need
- Collecting and distributing aid (food, clothing, medicines) via donations of items within Europe, food rescue, gleaning of donated produce, dehydration
- Visitation. Those who are isolated and alone crave family. A heart to listen. Touch. To be held and loved.
- “Lev in Action” teams from Europe and the West to help repair survivor homes and,where necessary, to build suitable dwellings.
- To seek low cost-effective long-term food solutions that would be adapted to the region of need for area organizations assisting Survivors. Examples: indoor hydroponics growing systems, greenhouses, gleaning & preservation of produce by dehydration and donations of supplies from European companies and groups. Our research has led us to innovative heating fuel alternatives such as bottled biogas, biomass pellets, efficient rocket stoves, etc.
- Assist with Aliyah: Working in collaboration with existing contacts in Europe to assist those who desire to make Aliyah to Israel.
- Establish a network of houses in Eastern Europe for Survivors and others in the Jewish communities who may be in danger from Anti-Semitism. With Anti-Semitism levels at the same rate as in the 1930’s and on the rise, many see this as a necessity.