AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Dutch lawmakers called on the government to spare six Holocaust survivors whose assistance would be slashed by cutbacks.
The predicament of the Jewish survivors from The Hague was reported last week by the Algemeen Dagblad daily. According to the report, they are among approximately 2,000 elderly and disabled people whose eligibility for care at government-funded facilities has been revoked. Instead, they have been offered a plan that gives financial compensation to relatives willing to step in and act as caretakers.
The survivors have almost no family. Approximately 75 percent of Dutch Jewry was annihilated during the genocide, a higher percentage than anywhere else in Western Europe except for Germany and Austria.
“These vulnerable individuals need to receive the aid they deserve,” Sjoerd Potters, a lawmaker for the ruling VVD party, said on Twitter.
Opposition lawmakers Linda Voortman from GreenLeft and Mona Keijzer from the Christian Democratic Appeal also called on the government not to change the survivors’ aid package.
Across Western Europe, “Holocaust survivors are living in poverty, many of them absolutely alone in the world,” according to Anita Winter, who last year set up the Gamaraal Foundation in Switzerland, where she lives, to support several dozen survivors.
Winter, whose foundation’s work received coverage in leading Swiss media, said she was shocked to discover that even in an affluent country like Switzerland, survivors are left with inadequate assistance.
“The world is not very aware of their situation,” she told JTA on Thursday. “Projects like the Gamaraal Foundation and efforts to help them should have come earlier. Now it’s a bit too late because every month more of them die, but better late than never.”