Improving the final chapters of survivors’ lives

Improving the final chapters of survivors’ lives

Some people might think that the recently published book called “And Every Single One Was Someone” was gimmicky.

Only one word – Jew – fills its 1,250 pages. The word appears six million times in the book. That’s 4,800 Jews per page.

With the survivor community getting older and its members dying, however, we are in favor of any book that helps future generations validate the Shoah.

There are about 150,000 living survivors in the United States, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Last week, the Obama administration underscored how important they are to the historic memory of this world when it appointed Aviva Sufian as a special envoy to the survivor community.

The White House said that it wants to help frail and elderly survivors age in place, avoiding institutional care whenever possible. For many survivors, institutionalization can be a trigger to memories of concentration camp incarceration. Also, some 25 percent of these survivors are living below the American poverty line.

The Jewish Federations of North America also announced an initiative “to assess and communicate the needs of Holocaust survival programs.”

Now we have this new Geffen Publishing coffee table book version to remind us about the Shoah.

We’re sure that the sheer volume of page after page of nothing but the word “Jew” is dramatic and will make an impact.

Still, if you have to make a financial choice, perhaps the $60 the book cost would make more of a difference if it were donated to charities supporting impoverished survivors. JFNA is a great place to donate, and we know there are other good agencies as well that work with survivors.

We must emphasize the importance of caring for our survivors. The final chapters of their lives should be our priority. While this dramatic new book might be here for the ages, the story for 150,000 survivors is not yet finished.

We remember the dead with reverence, but we still must take care of the living.