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Caring for Holocaust Survivors


Hundreds of elderly and frail Holocaust survivors live in South Florida. As caregivers we need to understand and be mindful of their history, unique needs and our words and actions. Dedicated sensitivity training in caring for Holocaust survivors and their families is important.


Caring for Holocaust Survivors

· During 1940 – 1945 in Germany Adolf Hitler was the leader of the Nazi party. Hitler spread anti-semitism (hatred of Jews) and he led the final solution which is called the Holocaust. Jews were rounded up and sent to death camps and gas chambers to be exterminated. Jews were tattooed with numbers on their arms to identify them.

· Elder Holocaust survivors can suffer from childhood trauma and many of them experience the following: fear, being alone, depression, anxiety, fear of doctors, barking dogs, night time, food shortage, unable to sleep and taking showers.

· Holocaust clients need patience, understanding of their past, feeling safe and good quality care.

· Some Holocaust and Jewish clients keep kosher in their home. Kosher tradition means meat cannot be served or eaten with any dairy food such as milk, cheese, butter, cream. Different pots, pans, dishes and eating utensils are kept separate in the kitchen and not to be mixed together. Pork is forbidden.

· While working in a kosher home always ask the client what pots, dishes and utensils you can use. If you bring your own food pork is forbidden in the home so do not bring bacon or ham. Ask the client what dish you can use for your meal.

· Many Jewish families and Holocaust survivors celebrate Shabbat. Shabbat or the Sabbath begins every Friday evening at sundown and ends the next day at sundown. Sometimes candles are lit and prayers are said over the candles before Shabbat dinner is served. Shabbat is a day of rest.

· Please remember to respect religious traditions. If you do not know something ask the client and they will be happy to explain.


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