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International Holocaust Remembrance Day

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  • Written By: Hannah Rhodes
International Holocaust Remembrance Day

On Friday, January 27, we honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp.

Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) honors the lives of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust through our Jewish values:

  • Kehila: building community
  • Tzedakah: doing what is right and just
  • Tikkun olam: repairing the world
  • Gemilut chasadim: acts of kindness

These principles guide our core commitments of strengthening the community and the continuity of generations.

JFCS counselors and caseworkers provide case management and advocacy for Holocaust survivors in the Greater Phoenix area. Caseworkers assist with applications to the Claims Conference, also known as the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, for reparations and home care services. Team members also assist with applications to organizations such as KAVOD and The Blue Card for emergency financial assistance as well as the Henry Schein Oral Health Program for free dental services.

“In the beginning, the biggest hurdle was learning the ins and outs of organizations to which we submit claims on behalf of survivors,” said Kathy Rood, program manager of Jewish Community Services, who oversees the Holocaust Survivor Services program. “Unlike other communities, we had no formal connection to these organizations, so there were no relationships with staff and very little guidance on their application processes.”

Now, the JFCS Holocaust Survivor Services program has built a strong relationship with the Claims Conference and has great support from JFCS of Southern Arizona, the organization that provides guidance and support for the management of home care services.

When challenges have risen, the community has rallied together. When a new reparation was made available through the “German Pensions for Work in Ghettos Law” (often shortened to “ZRBG”), JFCS staff joined together with local law firms as part of a national effort to assist Holocaust survivors in applying for this reparation. In total, about 40 survivors in the Greater Phoenix area received both case management from JFCS and pro bono legal assistance when completing their application.

As the needs of the aging survivor community have increased over the years, so has the group of survivors the team serves. JFCS’ support of the Holocaust survivor community extends far beyond Maricopa County. The Holocaust Survivors Services team works with 40 to 50 Holocaust survivors throughout Arizona each year.

“I feel honored to have the opportunity to work with members of our local Holocaust survivor community,” Rood said.

Hannah Rhodes is the marketing coordinator for Jewish Family & Children’s Service.