Posted by Carol Laibson

Elie Wiesel in 2009. (BELA SZANDELSZKY/ASSOCIATED PRESS/FILE)
Elie Wiesel in 2009. (BELA SZANDELSZKY/ASSOCIATED PRESS/FILE)

“I swore to never be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.” –Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize speech, 1986

The world mourns the loss of Elie Wiesel, a great scholar and humanitarian. We have the honor of knowing and working with Holocaust survivorsand we believe that remembering living Holocaust survivors is a wonderful way to pay homage to this noble man who was revered for having transcended horrors to become “the voice first of its survivors and then the conscience of humankind.”

While people may know about what happened during the Holocaust, we often are told by friends, neighbors, and colleagues that they are surprised to learn that so many survivors are still alive and that many live below the poverty line. A Holocaust survivor who has endured the worst humanity has to offer may keep their history, as well as their current struggle of limited resources, a secret.

Elie Wiesel’s lifelong work and legacy is a source of inspiration as to how important it is to promote tolerance and acceptance of those who are different from us, help survivors feel remembered, and enable them to live their remaining years with dignity and compassion.

Carol Laibson, Manager of Case Management Services for JF&CS Schechter Holocaust Services is a licensed clinical social worker. She has more than 20 years of experience helping older people age well with dignity, works directly with Holocaust survivors and their families, and provides  training and consultation to professional staff on the special needs of aging Holocaust survivors.

Originally posted on the JF&CS blog.