Study: Holocaust Survivors Battle Depression


holocaust-survivorsA majority of Israel’s Holocaust survivors suffer from depression, sleeping disorders or other emotional distress, according to a survey released Tuesday by a leading advocacy group.

The Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel issued its report on the eve of International Holocaust Memorial Day, which this year marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in the waning days of World War II.

The survey found that two-thirds of Israel’s 220,000 survivors experience some form of distress. The study, conducted by the Center for Research on Aging of the Israeli Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute, was based on comprehensive government data on all the survivors.

A smaller sample of 400 survivors who receive home care showed that half suffered from depression and 80% complained of sleep disorders.

About 6 million Jews were killed by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Allied armies freed thousands of emaciated Jewish inmates from Nazi camps in the closing months of the war. The latest study concluded that many camp survivors, as well as a large number of Jews who survived the war but did not go through the Nazi camps, have been permanently scarred by their experiences during the Holocaust.

Zeev Factor, chairman of the group that issued the report, said the needs of Holocaust survivors increase as they grow older.

“The biggest need is how to overcome their loneliness,” said Factor, an Auschwitz survivor. “They are very old people. Many of them are absolutely alone, and they have no family.”

Factor said that retirement has added to their torment.

“They have all the time to think and live in the past again,” he said.

{NY Times/Noam Newscenter}


  1. Who pays for these reports? Of course old people with a horrible past will feel depressed. As my father-in-law. who is a holocaust survivor says, if they would take all this money appropriated by organizations and give it directly to the survivors, we would be a lot happier and better off.

  2. How does this report compare to elderly people not survivors of the holocaust. My guess is that depression is pretty high for them as well, although I’m sure the percentage for holocaust survivors is higher.

  3. the report is true what these monsters did leaves scars for life and getting older facing hard medical conditions with old age brings back the same fears with time to remember what happened This is a group of special people we must honor and help any way we can not just older people We must remember they built our communities raised a new generation and rebuilt yiddishkite out of ashes.We must realize they are not here forever and woe is the day that there are no survivors left. Who knows in whose zechus we are allowed to go on.