Eva Shafran of Delray Beach grew up in a wealthy family in Timisoara, Romania. She was 15 when Romania allied itself with Nazi Germany in the fall of 1940. Their lives were saved when her father made payments to the Iron Guard, Romania’s fascist and anti-Semitic movement, to allow the family to stay in their house. For five years, Eva’s family was prohibited from going out of the house during the day; they could look for food only after dark. They hid during bombings, and listened to the BBC on a secret radio while hiding in a closet. “Our lives were saved. But we were trembling every night when someone was ringing the bell,” Eva said.
After the war, Eva married and moved to Israel, living there 30 years and raising her two daughters. She divorced, and moved to the United States in 1981, settling in Miami where she worked as the manager of a Miami Beach hotel and took care of an aging aunt.
Eva, now 89, recently has had some great personal losses: Both of her daughters died in 2012. Her son-in-law and grandchildren all live in Israel and she is alone in the U.S.. After her second daughter passed away, Eva developed a slight heart condition and now sees a doctor regularly.
Eva participates in the Holocaust Survivor Program of Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service (JFS) in Boca Raton. Through funding from the Claims Conference, Eva receives homecare and housekeeping assistance, and bimonthly food deliveries, which include fresh fruit and vegetables. She also receives regular telephone calls from an agency volunteer who checks in on her, and periodically attends the Café Europa socialization events for survivors.
Eva has a reverse mortgage to help to pay her bills. But when those payments end in two years, she will be without enough funds to live independently. She has already filled out an application for the HUD-subsidized housing facility for low-income seniors on the Jewish Federation campus in Boca Raton. She also receives emergency grants from JFS, funded by the Claims Conference, to pay her homeowner’s insurance.
Eva is grateful for all the assistance. “If I don’t have Jewish Family Service I have nobody,” she said. “This is my family.”