Photo: Asi Bergel
Auschwitz survivor
Photo: Asi Bergel
Facebook post calls attention to Auschwitz survivor's living conditions
Beersheba students help elderly Holocaust survivor to clean feces, mouse-infested house; prompting municipal response
Abominable sights of utter negligence were seen at the home of an elderly Holocaust survivor in Israel 2012.


A post written by Beersheba student Ido Dueiv on Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danilovich's Facebook wall caused a stir on the web.


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The post, in which Dueiv wrote about the elderly survivor's living conditions, received 25,000 likes and another 1,000 shares. As a result, the Beersheba municipality has promised to assist her.


"Hi Rubik, how are you? I was walking on one of Beersheba's main streets yesterday when I ran into an elderly lady sitting in the rain", wrote Dueiv on the mayor's wall.


"She asked me to accompany her to her apartment, and when the door of the house opened, I could not believe my eyes! It will be very hard for me to describe in words how her house looked. Feces smeared everywhere, urine, no electricity or water. This is an ill, 80-year-old Holocaust survivor."


ביתה של הקשישה לפני שנוקה

The house before being cleaned


Dueiv continued, "A few of my friends and I got together and went to clean her house. We were unable to tackle all the faeces in the bathtub and bathroom. The neighbors say that she curses Hitler during the night and that they have turned to the welfare authorities a number of times.


"There is still no running water and still no long-term solution. I am pained to see a woman who survived Auschwitz slowly dying in a stinking Beersheba apartment without food or water. The municipality's help is needed in immediately connecting the water and bypassing the social services' bureaucracy. For your further attention."


Asi Bergel, who helped Ido clean the woman's home, said: "I can't explain it in words, it's absolutely terrible. I vomited my guts out until 2 am. We got a group of people together and bought cleaning solution and food and spoke to her daughter. She said there's nothing to be done, that she suffers from mental illness. I'm not judging her daughter because I don't know what the situation is."


Dueiv's post prompted the following response from the public inquiries department of Mayor Danilovich's office: "Regarding the publications on the Holocaust survivor, we wish to update that representatives from the welfare department will meet with the woman tomorrow and assist her. In light of the sincere and merited concerns, we will provide an update tomorrow on the treatment of this matter. We thank the residents who drew our attention to this".


After visiting the elderly woman's apartment on Tuesday morning, the place still emitted smells of urine and feces. Despite the hours the students spent scrubbing, her apartment is still in very bad condition.


Mice wander her home and she still has no running water. The window of the sliding door at the entrance to her living room is completely broken. Even though her refrigerator was cleaned, it is still empty and full of chicken dung and rust.


ניצולת השואה ש'. נמצאה יושבת בגשם (צילום: אסי ברגל)

The 80-year-old Holocaust survivor


It is hard to believe that she lives here alone, without any assistance, and it is even harder to believe that no one has helped her thus far.


The Beersheba municipality's welfare department said that social services are aware of her existence, "but that throughout the years they were not permitted to infringe upon her privacy or be involved in decision-making processes."


The municipality said that the woman has three children who are in constant contact with her. Two of them live in the center of the country and one daughter lives in Beersheba.


"It is important to mention that she is not in (poor) and that social services are available to provide her with treatment and assistance.


"The offers to treat her were turned down. Due to the serious deterioration of her condition, discussion regarding her situation was held and a decision was made to inform her children that a guardian will be appointed to assist her in receiving adequate treatment."


A review of her case was sent last week to a court and is currently being discussed. "We are treating the matter within the framework of the legal resources at our disposal and will accompany her until a solution is found," municipality said.  



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