They managed to survive some of the greatest horrors known to man in the modern age. But now, many aging Holocaust survivors are facing a new affliction: loneliness.

"Many of them live alone and don't have family to visit them," said Sheva Tauby of Crown Heights. "For a senior citizen in Manhattan, being stranded on the 25th floor of a high rise apartment building with no friends or family around is very isolating."

Years after the war, many survivors are experiencing nightmares or post-traumatic stress syndrome and they're in a very fragile state.

"Some of them are reviewing their lives and wondering who will remember them when they're gone," noted Tauby. "Many of them never had children."

Tauby and her husband Tzvi founded iVolunteer in September of 2007. The aim of the innovative program, which matches young volunteers with some of Manhattan's nearly 5,000 Holocaust survivors, is to provide companionship and alleviate loneliness.

"To have someone come and listen to their experiences is tremendous," said Tauby. "They survived and gave us a future. The least we can do is be there for them."

Volunteers who are accepted in the program "Many of them live alone and don't have family to visit them." undergo a thorough screening and training process before they are carefully matched with survivors who live nearby and share common interests. They make weekly visits during which they provide friendship and assistance to the senior citizens. They often are privileged to hear extraordinary stories, and the bonds that inevitably are forged ensure the experience of the Holocaust will be remembered.

The volunteers often read to survivors, accompany them on walks, or escort them to errands.

"Through the program," said Tauby, "the survivors often come to see their volunteer as family, or as their surrogate family."

While the primary purpose of the program is to foster strong inter-generational bonds between Holocaust survivors and the younger generation, providing needed companionship, it also has another, less obvious benefit, notes Tauby.

"Many of the volunteers arrive to Manhattan without a strong Jewish identity. For many participants, Ivolunteer becomes a Jewish address in the city where they can socialize with other Jews."

In addition to the one-on-one weekly visits, the iVolunteer staff helps create a sense of community by providing volunteers as well as the survivors with an array of social events and programs. Among them are monthly Shabbat dinners, holiday parties, and study sessions on Jewish philosophy, led by Tauby and her husband, a rabbi.

Tauby has even succeeded in matching up four couples in the past year among her volunteers. Not a bad statistic for an amateur matchmaker!

Yael Feder, 30, who has been volunteering for the past three months, was drawn to the organization because her own grandparents, who passed away about 15 years ago, were Holocaust survivors.

"I think it's important to treat elders with respect and compassion, and it saddens me that so many older citizens, Holocaust survivors in particular, feel isolated and lonely," said Yael, who recently earned her MBA degree.

Emily, the 92-year-old survivor she visits on a weekly basis, is from the Ukraine. Although Emily doesn't talk much about her war years because it's too painful, Yael believes that for those who want to share their story, "It's important that we are there to listen." Yael is there to listen to other things, too, like when Emily plays her mandolin and sings Yiddish songs, which she loves.

Yael has forged such close ties with Emily, she ended up inviting the elderly woman to join her mostly secular family at their Passover Seder. At the end of the meal, Emily sang several traditional songs in Yiddish, which left a dramatic impact on those present. "Many of the melodies she sang were songs that even the older ones there hadn't heard in years, since my grandparents sang those songs," said Yael. "It was very emotional and enriching to hear this connection to a lost past."

"It's the responsibility of younger Jews to insure that Holocaust survivors feel cared for and included in the community," said Yael. "This experience has reminded me that it takes so little to make a positive difference in someone's life."

In the year that Rebecca Fogler has been volunteering with the organization, she has grown very close to her survivor, Gina. "She is very insightful and fun to talk to," said Rebecca, a recruiter at a law firm. "She knows ALL about my sister's wedding and the boys I am dating – really she is just like a friend who happens to be a bit older."

Fogler, 27, was "It's the responsibility of younger Jews to insure that Holocaust survivors feel cared for and included in the community." drawn to the organization because she wanted to volunteer with a Jewish group. She was matched up with Gina, who lives directly across the street from her and who spent most of the Holocaust years in a camp. Although Rebecca spent the first few visits speaking with Gina about the Shoah, now they tend to focus on the present. The two women read the newspaper together and discuss current events. "I think part of the reason we get along so well is that we share a lot of the same values," said Fogler.

Fogler has grown to respect Gina for her fierce independence. "Despite any physical ailments, she likes to take care of herself, be cognizant of the world around her and in control of as much as her life as possible.

"In fact, the visits have really made me more aware of the mentality of survivors and the elderly in general. I have found myself getting closer with my own grandmother since I started visiting Gina," she said.

Fogler says she enjoys the experience so much that "I always feel a bit selfish when I describe this as volunteering — I think I enjoy it more than Gina does! I always say the highlight of my week is first walking in (usually with some flowers, which she loves) and seeing her face light up — mine does too!"