Mental health center Sha’ar Menashe | Israel

In 2015 we were able to establish contacts with friends at Sha’ar Menashe, a residential clinic for psychologically affected Holocaust survivors.

Sha'ar Menashe

Medical Health Center

The story behind the people in Sha’ar Menashe is the same as many other survivors in Israel; these are people who have overseen, they have no-one to support them.

Most of them were still children when they experience the horrors of the concentration camps.  They were often the only members of their families to survive.  They settled in Israel after World War Two and tried to live a ‘normal’ life.

Most of them had had traumatic experiences which could not simply be pushed aside and buried in their subconscious, and so they landed in psychiatric institutes.

Seventy-five years after the end of the war, they are still trying to mentally digest those horrors.  Most of the patients at Sha’ar Menashe never married or had children of their own, and have spent their lives wandering from one institute to the next.  They have lived on the fringes of Israeli society for years.  They experience the horror and inferno as if it had happened only yesterday – they hear voices and dogs howling, they have reoccurring nightmares and are often confused.

Working in conjunction with voluntary artisans and skilled tradespeople from Germany, we have already constructed several pergolas in the grounds of the clinic, thus affording more freedom of movement outside for residents and a place to sit  in the shade.

Regular visits, concerts, board games and handicraft afternoons are on the list of activities organised for the patients by and with our children and friends, whereby they particularly enjoy anything in which the children take part;  they seem to get a special spark of new life.  Just listening to these elderly people who have suffered so much, or merely taking an interest in their lives is like pouring soothing, healing oil into their wounds.