An afternoon with the survivors of the Holocaust is always an exciting time. Whether it’s an extravagant gala or a simple event, there is no greater honor than spending time with the survivors and listening to their stories. While anti-Semitism continues to rage worldwide, Helping Hand Coalition’s Headquarters is an oasis for the survivors to come, eat, converse, and enjoy.
On December 6th, forty-five survivors from Migdal HaEmek — an organization of refugees with 387 members — arrived at the villa for a Shalom House event. Having recently joined Helping Hand Coalition Global Forum, the survivors arrived in high spirits as they introduced themselves to the event’s host, Andre Gasiorowski, Co-Founder and President of Helping Hand Coalition.
Once everyone had settled into their seats, Andre formally welcomed the group, introducing the team and sharing the vision Helping Hand’s has dedicated more than a decade to achieving. To give a visual understanding of the work HHC has done, a short film was played, highlighting key events, broadcasting a special message from Israel’s Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, and showing just how many people support the survivors worldwide! Audible gasps of shock and awe could be heard during the display as the survivors couldn’t believe so many people recognized them and were shouting love and support through the screen!
The survivors of the Holocaust are a testament that though evil often dictates the world, God is the True ruler, and He will not allow His people to be destroyed! The Holocaust brought an extreme amount of pain and suffering; however, despite the darkness that loomed over Europe throughout World War II, the sun burst through the clouds and continues to shine on those who defied all odds.
Invited to the front, filmmaker Boris Sobolev introduced his short film. For twenty minutes, the survivors were taken back to Ukraine to embrace the humor and culture depicted on the screen. Showcasing some of the most vibrant personalities found around the city of Odesa, Boris’ excellent portrayal of life and its many wonders sparked joy as the survivors watched in eager delight.
Despite it being the middle of winter, the afternoon was as bright as a Spring day, and the survivors couldn’t resist the urge to eat their lunch, catered by Orly, in the sunshine. Enjoying a delicious bowl of salad, rice, and meatballs, the survivors raved about the food and thanked the team for inviting them to the event. A few even took Andre aside to share their life stories and express their gratitude for the work being done to help them.
Helping Hand Coalition is grateful for all of the relationships being built. In three days, the organization is honored to attend and co-sponsor an event in Migdal HaEmek. HHC would also like to show our appreciation to the municipality for its partnership in the afternoon’s Shalom House and upcoming event. We look forward to teaming up again and hosting more events that bring light and hope into the survivors’ lives!