No taxpayer handouts for Syrian refugees
To the editor:
I did not attend the meeting concerning settling Syrian refugees in Pittsfield at the Berkshire Athenaeum. I feared I would become too upset so I am channeling my thoughts into this letter to the editor.
The reason I felt I would become upset is because of my dad. He was a Holocaust survivor who came to Pittsfield in 1949 from a displaced persons camp in Munich, Germany, to join two brothers. They were the only survivors of my family. My grandparents and aunts and uncles perished in the gas chambers in Poland, where my dad and his family were from. I have a formal photo of my dad and family where everyone was dressed nicely. My dad appears to be about 7 years old. I am lucky to have the photo.
To be honest, I am not in favor of Pittsfield settling the Syrian refugees here. California has a program in which refugees are given benefits for a year at taxpayer expense. That is not right. Why should everyone else foot the living expenses for them? They should be made to get jobs right away to support themselves.
There were no such programs in 1949. My dad settled with his two brothers and was employed not longer afterward. He negotiated the language barrier by going to night school and learning English.
If the Jewish Family Service asks for donations to help resettle these refugees, you can be sure I will not be contributing.
Diane Ditman, Pittsfield