Holocaust Survivors Helped by Christian Charity

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HAIFA, Israel -- Sixty-five years after the end of World War II, Holocaust survivors have grown older and their numbers are dwindling.

For many, their last days are lonely. But now a Christian charity - sponsored project is helping some Holocaust survivors in Israel live their last days in dignity.

Bayit Hahm, which means "a warm home" in English, is unique because it's the only place in Israel where Holocaust survivors can live for free.

"They receive medical treatment, meals," said Shimon Sabag, director of charitable group Yad Ezer L'Haver. "There are also games and drama. They have a painting club, a crafts club -- really life from A to Z -- I think for them it's really a kingdom."

More than 200,000 Holocaust survivors reside in Israel and about one-third of them live in poverty.

Shoshana Levy's room is decorated with pictures she painted, including a portrait of her mother.

Her parents fled Poland during the last years of World War II. Shoshana said she doesn't know how she survived, but said God spoke a special message to her.

"So I know what He said me," Levy said. "'Don't cry because if you will cry, you will die.'"

Levy said her room is small, but she's thankful.

"It's better to live here like in a glass palace with everything from gold," she added.

More than 1,000 Holocaust survivors have applied for residency in the renovated building, but Sabag said only 120 will be able to live there.

I'm not capable of doing this, but my aspiration -- my vision -- is to give to another 150 a bed," Sabag said.

The home exists mainly thanks to donations from evangelical Christians through the German branch of International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

"It gives voice to a remarkable scripture that you find in the book of Isaiah, chapter 60 and verse 14 that says, 'The sons of those who afflicted you will bow before you,'" said Malcolm Hedding, executive director of the ICEJ. "And isn't it remarkable that it's the sons of a generation that was involved in the worst tyranny against the Jewish people in history that have come here with a burning love for Israel in their hearts, because of their Biblical faith and their love for Jesus and they have renovated and built this home for a hundred Holocaust survivors."

Eighty-eight-year-old Miriam Kremin was 16 when the German Army entered Poland and herded her family into a ghetto. Six months later, she escaped and hid for three years in Europe before arriving in Israel in 1944.

"At the end of things, all the time I lived on miracles," Kremin said. "And all the time God was with me. Because the biggest fear was seeking food or a place to sleep. The biggest fear was 24-hours-a-day that they would discover me. That this was a forged identity."

After Kremin's husband died, she sold her home and used the money to pay her rent. Eventually her savings ran low, so she moved in one of the rooms.

"It's good for me here," Kremin added. "I like the home. For me, it's like closing a circle. There I was a Holocaust survivor and at the end after all these years, I am again with Holocaust survivors."

"The warmth of their gratitude is not encouraging," Hedding said. "It is deeply humbling. We owe them something really as Christians and as people all over the world."

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Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Reporter

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