Time is Running Out for Survivors in Eastern Europe


Zane Buzby & Eva K. (Belarus)

Scattered across Eastern Europe there are thousands of elderly Holocaust Survivors in desperate need of food, medicine, heat and shelter. Most are sole survivors of their families who were brutally murdered by the Nazis, some are survivors of the killing fields where hundreds of thousands of men women and children were systematically massacred in every town and village on the path of the German invasion, some fought with the Russians or were Partisans in the forests of Belarus, and some were slaves in the Gulag long after the war ended. All are elderly and in dire need of help.
I am a television comedy director by trade, having directed over 200 sitcoms for all of the major networks. During a hiatus between Golden Girls and Blossom, I decided to take a brief journey to Eastern Europe in order to find the birthplaces of my grandparents. In Lithuania, I met the brilliant Professor Dovid Katz of Vilnius University who urged me to stop along my way and visit 8 elderly, isolated Holocaust survivors living in tiny towns and villages in Belarus. He told me to bring food, medicine, reading materials and American dollars. My visit to these people was both life-changing and inspiring.


As soon as I crossed the border, it was as if I had gone back in time 100 years. No cars, only horse drawn wagons, little slanted huts, no shops or restaurants, only endless fields, ancient apple orchards left fallow and the ghosts of millions.The only sign of what were once thriving Jewish communities for Centuries were markers for mass graves from Hitler’s SS Einsatzgruppen – mobile killing squads – and desecrated cemeteries – tombstones half buried, dating before the time of Napoleon.

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