(Jewish News) Holocaust survivors living in Greater Phoenix gathered at Congregation Beth Tefillah on Oct. 16 for lunch and socializing. It was the second time since the pandemic that the group met in person at Café Europa. Presented by the Phoenix Holocaust Association (PHA), Café Europa is a social and support program for Holocaust survivors and their descendants, family and friends.

The program is partially funded through the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), a nonprofit organization with offices in New York, Israel and Germany, which secures material compensation for Holocaust survivors around the world.

Café Europa is a worldwide program for survivors to meet over a meal and form a community. The name comes from a café in Stockholm, Sweden where survivors would meet to try and locate missing family and friends after the war.

Charlotte Adelman and her son, Marc, are regulars at the monthly luncheons.

“It helps us to get together and see each other,” said Adelman. “They [PHA] help us so much and let us know if something new happens.”

Adelman is one of the survivors who visits schools and other venues to share her story. Aided by a Catholic family, she hid in a cellar in France as a child for nine months during the war.

Karen Perna, who is on the board of directors of PHA, schedules the speakers. When she receives a request, she responds within 48 hours.

“I try to schedule near where they live,” said Perna. “Some survivors will still do Zoom; some are tired of Zoom and want to get back to the schools in person.”

During the pandemic, many of the survivors did school presentations virtually. They even maintained their monthly Café Europa meetings via Zoom.

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