Almost 20% of Israel’s COVID Deaths are Holocaust Survivors

The Coronavirus pandemic has hit hardest those who have already suffered most

By TPS | | Topics: Holocaust, Coronavirus
A Holocaust survivor in Jerusalem is vaccinated against COVID.
Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

As we mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day today, Wednesday, January 27, a heartbreaking statistic emerges from the ongoing Corona crisis.

Some 900 of the 4,500 Coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths in Israel have been Holocaust survivors, a special report by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics shows.

A total of 5,300 survivors contracted the virus over the past year, and 17% of them died, similar to the percentage in the rest of their age group.

The report, published ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, shows that 179,600 Holocaust survivors live in Israel, including 3,000 who were recognized as survivors of the Holocaust during the past year.

All Holocaust survivors are aged 75 and over. About 17% are over the age of 90.

Women make up about 60% of all Holocaust survivors. The relative share of women increases with age.

Some 17,000 survivors passed away in 2020.

A 64% majority of Holocaust survivors were born in Europe. Eleven percent are from Iraq and survived the Farhoud pogrom in June 1941. Another 16% are natives of Morocco and 2% are natives of Algeria who experienced anti-Jewish restrictions in various areas of life during the Vichy regime.

The remaining 7% are from Tunisia and Libya.

See: Farhoud: The Nazi Holocaust in the Middle East

About 40% of the survivors immigrated to Israel by 1951 in the first wave of immigration, and more than a third in the last wave of immigration in the 1990s.

About 63% of Holocaust survivors from Germany and Austria immigrated to Israel before the establishment of the state.

About 35% of the survivors were born during World War II, between 1939-1945, and are 75-81 years old at the end of 2020.

Another 48% of all survivors are aged 82-89, and the rest, 17%, are over the age of 90.

About 850 Holocaust survivors living in Israel at the end of 2020 have reached the age of 100 and over.


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