Holocaust Survivors – Heroic Overcomers in Israel

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Over the past couple of months, we talked a lot about overcomers in Israel, and there is one group of people that deserves a mention: the Holocaust survivors.

Their numbers are diminishing every year and we want to take every opportunity we have to honor these heroes of Israel. We feel privileged to partner with ministries like Reach Initiative International that has sacrificially served hundreds of survivors in the land and abroad.

Who are Holocaust Survivors?

One of the unique mandates that the Lord has given to Reach Initiative International (RII) is to care for Holocaust survivors. They realized that these elderly heroes of Israel are often struggling to make ends meet.

You may wonder, how is it possible that this vulnerable group of people is so overlooked? The truth of the matter is, it is hard to have a nationwide program to assist a group that is so difficult to define.

Who is a Holocaust survivor after all? Those who miraculously made it out alive of a concentration camp often had a number tattooed on their arm. But what about those that hid in the forests? Or lived hungry and in constant fear at someone’s attic?

Every survivor’s story is different, but they do have one thing in common – they almost didn’t live to tell it. And despite the horrors of the Second World War, many still chose to rebuild a nation in their ancestral land.

Reaching the Elderly Heroes

The Founders of RII, Stewart and Chantal Winograd, received a call from God. The Lord told them: Create opportunities for Me to bring [the survivors] comfort; serve as many Holocaust survivors as you can, for as long as they live on earth.

Thus, for almost 30 years now the RII teams have unconditionally ‘loved on’ and sacrificially served hundreds of survivors. The Lord instructed them to love them and serve them, patiently and consistently, all together and one at a time.

The Holocaust survivors often feel lonely and forgotten. More and more of them are homebound and need help to manage the daily affairs of life. And as the years pass, less of them are still among us.

Through the RII team they discover that they are remembered, honored, and loved by followers of Jesus! RII is compelled also to serve the survivors in their homes. Together, they overcome difficult circumstances.

Holocaust Survivors Outside of Israel

RII understood that not all survivors of the Holocaust were able to immigrate to Israel. Some had no resources or felt too attached to their environment to take this big step. But this hasn’t stopped the Israeli ministry to help them where they are.

The ministry has been very active in Belarus where they lead various humanitarian projects. Because of their compassionate work, many started asking about their motivation, and what followed – about their faith.

Such conversations always make an impact. In result, RII established 4 Messianic Jewish Congregations in Belarus! They seek to help bring greater understanding and unity between Jewish believers and their Gentile brothers and sisters in the body of Messiah.

Despite deciding to stay in Eastern Europe, some of the survivors approached RII, asking for help to fulfill their dream: to visit Israel. Their words said it best: “Please take us to Israel before we die! We want to step foot on the Jewish Homeland.”

Help of Eternal Value

Reach Initiative International is loving the Holocaust survivors into the Kingdom of God one at a time. They are dedicated to bringing the good news of Yeshua to the people of Israel and the Nations.

“Thank you for not only doing things for us but for doing things with us. This means more to us than you can imagine!” Boris, a Holocaust survivor

The elderly survivors know and trust the work of RII, and they gladly participate in their events. They feel loved and cherished. The hope of RII is to impart the vision to act with compassion onto the next generation of believers.

This admirable work is made possible by the joint effort of staff and volunteers. Which is why RII is also committed to raising servant-hearted and outreach-focused disciples to continue and expand their efforts.

This article originally appeared on FIRM, December 29, 2021, and reposted with permission.