Holocaust survivors had higher rates of chronic conditions but lower rates of death than a comparison group of individuals insured by the same healthcare services organization in Israel. Biological and psychosocial reasons that may help to explain the findings need more study but researchers suggest unique characteristics of resilience among Holocaust survivors and better health literacy may be among the possibilities.
This observational study included more than 38,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel who were born between 1911 and 1945 in Europe and nearly 35,000 people in a control group born in Israel during those same years. Both groups were insured by Maccabi Healthcare Services in Israel. The study used data collected from 1998 through 2017 and looked at heart disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, cancer and death.