For the child of Holocaust survivors, witnessing the refugee crisis in Syria can be especially difficult and personal, and perhaps drive home the realization that the past is never really past.
“In 1939, when my mother was six, she was evacuated with her four-year-old brother from Vienna.They came [to the US] with a friend of the family who sponsored housing. They lived in an orphanage on the Lower East Side [of New York] but she at least had an option because people would take her in. It’s very hard to reconcile the world’s response [to Syria],” said Caryl Stern, president & CEO of the US Fund for UNICEF, the US NGO that supports UNICEF, during a short visit to Israel last week.
Though she’s seen her share of human and natural disasters, Stern said there’s something about Syria that makes it worse.
“I was in Haiti after the earthquake and in Kenya for the famine, but part of what makes this horrific is because this is man-made,” Stern said, arguing that there is more the world can do to help Syrian refugees and the countries absorbing them.