Renée Holzman Challenge Grant for Holocaust Survivors

Oregon’s only Holocaust Survivor Services program is at a critical juncture: Clients, who have faced and survived the unimaginable, are aging, and thus require more services at greater cost. Renée Holzman has been contemplating this reality, the significant role she can play and that of community members as we all collectively work to ensure Holocaust Survivors’ wishes are met: to age with dignity and in place.

“I was thinking about whether one can ever right the wrongs of history. Clearly, in the 1930s, when we could have saved many of the Jews of Europe, the world chose to close its gates, thereby condemning them to the fate that is called the Holocaust. We cannot today undo that cruel decision, but we can act on behalf of the Survivors of that terrible time and who live amongst us. We cannot rewrite the history of the time when people chose to harden their hearts and look the other way. What we can do today is open our hearts to the needs of the Survivors. When the history of our era is written, let it be said that we chose the right path.”

– Renée Holzman

Renée provided a generous, game-changing dollar-for-dollar matching challenge grant of $500,000 for the Holocaust Survivor Community Fund and we reached our goal!

JFCS is so grateful to each and every donor to the $500,000 Renée Holzman Challenge Grant for Holocaust Survivors. Together, we raised a total of $1 million for the care of Holocaust Survivor clients! Renée had a passion and a vision, and your consideration of it and generosity toward Survivors ensured JFCS made the crucial match, all in the name of helping Holocaust Survivor clients continue to age in place and with dignity. Thank you.

Some facts about Survivor clients

  • The majority of our 60 Survivor clients live at or below the federal poverty level.
  • Their average age is 85.
  • As they age there is a substantial increase in the services needed for daily basics, such as dressing, toileting, bathing and grooming. JFCS also arranges housekeeping, and shopping.
  • 80% of Survivor clients are from Ukraine or another country of the Former Soviet Union. Many don’t speak English and still have family overseas.

Some facts about JFCS’ Holocaust Survivor Services program

  • For JFCS, the annual Claims Conference grant only covers 65% of what it actually costs to operate this service.
  • The remaining 35% (this percentage varies annually) is considered by the Claims Conference to be our community’s responsibility.
  • In other words, for every dollar received from the Claims Conference, JFCS and the community needs to raise an additional $0.35. This year, JFCS must raise approximately $7,500 per Survivor. This equals roughly an unfunded mandate of $450,000!
  • Recently completed HSS actuarial analysis shows a notable increase in JFCS’ required subsidy starting in 2019 and peaking in 2024. (click here to view the actuarial table)
Read The Jewish Review’s article, “Challenge grant to aid Shoah victims”, to learn more about the Renée Holzman challenge grant.

Sergei's story

In 1941, Sergei’s parents spirited him to safety upon the German troops’ invasion of his Belorussian town. A baby, Despite suffering from dysentery, Sergei managed to live through train trip after train trip, each one in inhumane conditions, until he, his mother, infant sister and grandmother, made it to an eastern town overrun with other refugees on the Volga River. Sergei’s earliest memories are of cold, hunger, overcrowded quarters and fellow refugees covered in lice. Loved ones of all ages were brutally murdered by the Germans, shot into the ravine in which they perished.