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Federal funding for Holocaust survivors

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Two Jewish non-profit organizations are divvying up $300,000 in federal money to bring community support services to Brooklyn’s Holocaust survivors.

Half of the money will go to the Jewish Community Council of Canarsie (JCCC), in a neighborhood that was once heavily populated with Jewish residents, but is now predominantly West Indian.

But JCCC Executive Director Avrohom Hecht noted there are still a large number of Holocaust survivors in the non-profit’s catchment area, which includes Canarsie, Starrett City and Mill Basin.

“You’d be surprised at how many survivors there are. We have a lunch coming up in Mill Basin and about 140 survivorswill attend,” said Hecht.

Hecht said there is some controversy as to who is a Holocaust survivor, particularly among the relatively large Russsian-Jewish population in Starrett City.

A lot of elderly Russian-Jews were originally from other European countries, but after the Russian Army liberated several concentration camps, they settled in Russia, and in some cases worked in Siberian labor camps, said Hecht.

“There are a lot more people like that then we realize,” said Hecht. “In the Holocaust survivor community some have a certain degree of skepticism of the Russians survivors, but there are others I know who were sent into Russia after they were liberated.”

Hecht said half the money ($150,000) will go the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg (UJOW). Both organizations are under the umbrella of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty and administered through the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families.

The UJOW catchment area includes a number of Holocaust survivors from Hungry, said Hecht.

Hecht said the money will pay for a social worker at each non-profit to work with the survivors, many of whom are elderly and may need assistance with such service social programs as Medicaid and food stamps.

The money will also go toward caregivers and home visitations, as many survivors want to stay in their own homes, he said.

Hecht said the JCCC also set up focus groups that found an interest among the survivors to do more socialization and to get out more.

So some of the money will go toward trips to museums and other cultural institutions, and will include box lunches, he said.

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