Bringing light from darkness: Jewish Care Holocaust Survivors’ Centre

17 Dec 2019

Members of the Holocaust Survivors' Centre light the candles.Jewish Care’s Chanukah Appeal this year is for our Holocaust Survivors’ Centre, which has been a constant beacon of hope for Holocaust survivors for the past 25 years. The centre is the only place of its kind anywhere in Britain and is entirely reliant on the community for support as it receives no funding from the government.  

More than 500 survivors and refugees are supported at the centre through a specific programme of social, cultural and therapeutic activities. The Shalvata service, with its specialist team offering counselling and social work support, is for those dealing with trauma. Many survivors who attend the centre have built strong friendships there and say they consider it a “home” where they can share experiences with those who understand what they have been through.

Ivor Perl, who was sent to Auschwitz at the age of 12, managed to survive the Holocaust and came to England after the war. Ivor talks about the centre as “a life saving place”. He says, “The question is, what do I not like about the centre? I love everything. It is more of a first home than a second home. My life has completely changed since I came here.”

Members meet up with old friends, take part in hamishe activities and enjoy lunch together. The members love music too, so you’ll often hear old Hebrew and Yiddish songs playing out, particularly at festivals and commemorations.

Festivities at the Holocaust Survivors' Centre.

Jewish Care Chief Executive Daniel Carmel-Brown explains how vital the appeal is, saying, “It is arguably now, more than ever, that survivors need Jewish Care. We are committed to supporting survivors for the rest of their lives and funds raised through this appeal will go towards supporting the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre and other services to support survivors, for as long as they need it.

“Much like our other services, such as our dementia day care centres, community centres and social work team and helpline, the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre relies on the kindness and generosity of our community to keep it going. With your support, we can continue to be there for every single survivor when they need us most. So please make a donation and help us continue to bring light into the lives of those who rely on us.”

Friendships and support at the Holocaust Survivors' Centre.