The Together Plan invited and facilitated the visit of Frida Reisman, chair of the Minsk Ghetto Survivors’ Association, to London this week. At 82 years, this was Frida’s first visit to the UK, and it has been a delight for our London office team and volunteers to spend time with her. We have been working with Frida and the Association for around four years, during which time we have worked to ease the loneliness of many individuals who still live on the territory that was once the ghetto, bringing the Yiddish music and culture of their youth to them once again and putting on special Shabbat services connecting the younger generation with this most treasured and important group. Our 2017 Mitzvah Day programme in Belarus involved bringing challot, and company, to survivors living on their own. We have also provided a significant quantity of humanitarian aid to many of the survivors and their families, many of whom are economically vulnerable. Ours is the only project of its kind, as we involve the survivors we work with in the distribution of the aid. This grants them agency and ensures they feel valued as facilitators rather than just beneficiaries.
We are extremely grateful that Frida took the time and made such an effort to come to London and speak at our Friends’ Scheme launch. Frida also attended synagogue and a special Friday night dinner at The Together Plan’s London headquarters, where she thanked The Together Plan for creating Jewish life (and Jewish food!) both in the UK and in Belarus. She affirmed that ‘we, the Minsk Ghetto survivors, no longer feel forgotten, thanks to The Together Plan.’