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Holocaust Memories & Avoiding Seeking Help

Judie Rappaport
July 7, 2015

Dear Judie,

My neighbor (87) and his wife (87); Holocaust survivors and decades long friends of our family, are coming progressively more fragile. They accept our help with transportation and food shopping, but adamantly refuse to visit a doctor. They say “we’re fine”.  I’m not sure why they won’t get medical help, but it’s obvious to us and the rest of our block that they need assistance. Any ideas on how to convince them?

  • Tom & Kim, Vero

Dear Tom & Kim,

Your neighbors are lucky to have you as their friend. Although it’s important for them to get help, it’s equally important to understand the origin of their resistance. During the Holocaust, residents of Nazi occupied Europe and concentration camp prisoners quickly learned that showing any sign of weakness or illness often meant being put to death. Many Holocaust survivors still fear the consequences of visiting a doctor. Accepting food and transportation shows your friends trust you and eventually may allow you to accompany them to the doctor to “keep them safe”. Be persistent and patient—always say, “I promise you nothing will happen without your permission”. Notify the doctor and his staff of their histories and fears. Also, call the local synagogue and ask the Rabbi for help.  


Judie Rappaport, President & Founder
Preferred Lifestyle Services

Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight,
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