Prior to World War II, roughly 9.5 million Jews lived in Europe. At that time, this was approximately 60 percent of the Jewish population worldwide. However, only a few short years later 6 million of those Jews were murdered—their lives were ended simply because of their heritage, heirs of the biblical patriarch Abraham.
Aside from the six death camps that many are familiar with, it took 40,000 camps, prisons and other facilities located all over the nation of Germany and other occupied lands beyond, to accomplish these heinous crimes.
To give you an idea of what this tragedy left in its wake, we share these statistics from Haaretz.com :
Countries occupied by Germans, with percentage of their Jewish populations killed, and number of victims in parentheses:
Poland: 91 percent (approximately 3 million)
Greece: 87 percent (65,000)
Lithuania: 83 percent (140,000)
Slovakia: 80 percent (71,000)
Yugoslavia: 77 percent (60,000)
Latvia: 76 percent (70,000)
Netherlands: 71 percent (100,000)
Hungary: 66 percent (550,000)
Bohemia/Moravia: 66 percent (78,000)
Norway: 45 percent (762)
Romania: 44 percent (270,000)
Estonia: 44 percent (2,000)
Belgium: 38 percent (25,000)
Luxembourg: 28 percent (1,000)
Soviet Union: 33 percent (1,000,000)
France: 30 percent (77,000)
Austria: 27 percent (50,000)
Germany: 25 percent (142,000)
Italy: 17 percent (7,500)
Finland: 0.35 percent (8)
Denmark: 0.75 percent (60)
Bulgaria: 0 percent (0)
Many wisely ask, “How could such atrocities go unnoticed?” But at My Olive Tree we are asking, “How can they still continue?” For several years we have been visiting Holocaust survivors living now in the nation of Israel.
Having survived the Holocaust, many of these aging Jews now live without even the most basic of modern necessities—clean, hot and cold running water. They struggle to make it to doctor’s appointments, or even to the grocery store. Simple acts of self-care that we take for granted—haircuts, social nights, special food for religious feasts, and warm winter blankets—are denied to them.
Yehuda Bauer said it best when speaking about the Holocaust, “Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”
While there are many who still suffer, My Olive Tree refuses to remain a bystander. Over the years we have had the privilege and the honor to minister to many of these dear men and women who witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust. Many, who lost their families, and friends during this horrific time in the world’s history.
Because of generous contributors like you, we have been able to meet their needs, and spend time pampering and loving them in their senior years.
As Holocaust Memorial Day (April 24th) fast approaches, we want to invite you to join us as we continue to make a difference in the lives of over 400 men and women.
This year you have a unique opportunity to plant a tree to remember a victim of the Holocaust. Your tree will stand as a symbol of hope to those who remain. It will stand as a reminder that there are still those who will not be silenced by the antisemitism that still runs rampant across the globe.
Not only that, but a portion of the proceeds from your tree planting will go towards bettering the lives of those who remain… For every tree you plant, we will provide a warm blanket to a Holocaust survivor living in the nation of Israel.