Holocaust survivors are a very important group in our community, and we are dedicated to ensuring they feel connected and cherished by the San Diego community. We cannot take away their horrendous memories, but we can ensure that their last years are spent in dignity living in safe and healthy environments.
A large number of survivors struggle to live with limited finances and no family in the area. Our Geriatric Care Specialists provide care management services, advocacy, translation services, assistance with claims forms, medical escort, homemaker services, and emergency funding to low-income Holocaust survivors. Clients receive assistance with paying for homecare and emergency needs through funding from the Claims Conference, the Change a Life Foundation, and donations
Our supportive social program, Copley Café, provides social activities and holiday celebrations for older Holocaust survivors to enjoy with others who have been through similar life experiences. For many, Copley Café events provide their only social outings. The program got its name from Copley Avenue, where the group was originally located.
Last year, 16 survivors participated in Copley Café. Events included concerts, a trip to the San Diego Jewish Academy, and visits to two synagogues for inter-generational programs. The outing to the Ceramic Café, where the survivors painted mugs and plates, was so popular that participants requested a repeat!
During this past year, the SOS program sponsored seven Jewish holiday and cultural programs for more than 100 Russian-speaking Holocaust survivors.
For more information about the Serving Older Holocaust Survivors (SOS) program, call (858) 637-3040 or email.
The following three part documentary was created by Bikkur Holim volunteer, Sarah Cristal, about SOS client Magda. Sarah got involved with Magda through the Bikkur Holim Friendly Visitor Program. She has both a B.A. and an M.A. in History, with a focus in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and previously worked as a history instructor. The documentary below describes Magda's life in German occupied Europe during WWII and her escape to safety.
News from the Claims Conference, August 13, 2009
Re-Opening German Social Security Claims for Ghetto Workers Following a decision of the German Federal Social Court (Bundessozialgericht) in early June 2009, tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors previously rejected for German Social Security payments under the country’s “Ghetto Pension Law” (ZRBG) have an opportunity for a reconsideration of their rejected claims pursuant to newly liberalized guidelines. The rulings relate to a number of issues of interpretation of the ghetto pension law, including the definition of “remuneration,” “voluntary labor” and the existence of age limits. For an overview of the main issues, see the Claims Conference’s website at http://www.claimscon.org/index.asp?url=german_ssoc_060809
Re-Examination of Denied Ghetto Pension Claims The German Social Security Administration has begun conducting a proactive review of all rejected ZRBG/Ghetto Pension claims. ZRBG officials also state their intention of implementing the new court decisions in a rapid and un-bureaucratic manner. Applicants whose Ghetto Pension claims were denied do not need to request the re-opening of their claims in accordance with the court rulings of June 2009, nor do they have to contact the ZRBG offices in Germany to have their files reviewed.