While the atrocities of World War II have faded into history for many, survivors are still around today. As of now, there are 120,000 Holocaust survivors living in the U.S. according to The Jewish Press. Many of those survivors still suffer physically and mentally from their traumatic experiences and are in need of specialized medical care to deal with it. One quarter of those survivors live in poverty and do not have access to quality medical care, but the Alpha and Omega International Dentist’s Fraternity aims to fix that, at least as it relates to dentistry.
Last November, the fraternity launched the Alpha Omega-Henry Schein Cares Holocaust Survivors Oral Health Program. This week, they recognized the efforts of 25 Seattle area dentists for their contributions to the program over the past year. Since its start, 130 impoverished Holocaust survivors have been provided with free dental care, 14 of which resided in the Seattle area.
Henry Schein, Inc., the world’s largest provider of healthcare products and services to office-based dental, animal health and medical practitioners, spearheaded the effort alongside the Dental Fraternity.
“Holocaust survivors have lived through unspeakable trauma and overcome incredible challenges,” said Henry Schein CEO Stanley M. Bergman. “ And it is incumbent upon the private and public sectors to ensure that this population never wants for access to essential health services.”
Adding to survivor’s difficulties, juvenile dental care was largely of a low quality during the 1930s and 40s. Most Holocaust survivors today are still dealing with the impact of poorly executed dental care alongside dental problems developed during their time in concentration camps or in hiding.
The program intends to continue providing free dental care to Holocaust survivors identified by the network of Jewish Family and Children Service agencies as having suffered under Nazi oppression. People of any faith identified as victims of Nazi oppression are eligible for dental care as well, and participating dentists are available across the country. Alpha and Omega and Henry Schein, Inc. stand to make a phenomenal impact for Holocaust survivors everywhere, and their efforts will hopefully be successful for years to come.