Community Rallies To Help Holocaust Survivor

Funds being raised to renovate main floor bathroom so 91 year old woman can have her own shower

A 91 year old Barrie woman who has not had a proper shower since last October is hoping the generosity of the community will allow her that opportunity.

Madeleine Jug is a Holocaust survivor, living with a family that took her in when they discovered her situation at the time was less than ideal.

No family, no children, no husband, Madeleine is staying with Patty Picarelli and her three children at a south end Barrie home.

A good chunk of the main floor has been turned over to Madeleine. Picarelli sold a couch and television to purchase a bed for the woman, who she has known for 15 years, as Madeleine and her father were friends. Picarelli says she became even closer to Madeleine after her dad passed away.

The living room has been changed to a bedroom for Madeleine.

The main floor bathroom has no shower and bathtub and Madeleine cannot get to the second floor washroom.

“I cannot walk steps anymore. I can’t. It’s impossible,” says Madeleine. “When I go out, they have to help me on the little steps. Down is better, but coming up, I can’t.”

The wall between the main floor bathroom and laundry room will be knocked through to allow for a shower.

Picarelli says she has been washing Madeleine’s hair in the laundry tub next to the main floor bathroom and giving her sponge baths.

The plan is to knock down a wall between the laundry room and bathroom for the shower.

Madeleine is feisty, with a sharp mind and a sense of humour, able to laugh about her situation, describing how she must put a towel on the floor to keep it dry.

Picarelli says MKR Contractors has offered to do the $7,500 renovation for under $3,000. Home Depot in Barrie has donated some supplies.

Renovations begin today and there is still about $1,000 need for labour and materials.

The community has already stepped to the plate, with the Chabad Jewish Centre contributing money to the project.

“Madeleine is surrounded by people who love her and will keep her safe.” says Picarelli.

Madeleine, who at age 13 was sent to a Nazi concentration camp in Krakow, Poland during the Second World War, tears up talking about the loss of her father and twin brother who were shot, and how a doctor saved her life.

She was cut on her lower leg by Nazi soldiers for bringing water to a friend and sent to a hospital where the doctor that treated her took her to his farm and hid her in a barn.

Acknowledging she has been through a lot, Madeleine is grateful for the care she is receiving. Picarelli calls her mom and her children call her grandma.

“There are still good people in the world, right? Lots of good people.” says Madeleine.

For those who wish to contribute, there are two ways to give: donations can be made through the Am Shalom Congregation or via the Chabad Jewish Centre of Barrie.