About Trudi Birger

Dental Volunteers for Israel was founded in 1980 by the late Trudi Birger, a Holocaust survivor, microbiologist, and dedicated humanitarian activist. 

Trudi was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1927. After fleeing to Lithuania, Trudi’s family was confined by the Nazis in the Kovno Ghetto from 1941-1944. Trudi and her mother were then transferred to a Nazi concentration camp, but through her will to live, her quick wit, and her self-confidence, they lived to see liberation and eventually emigrated to Israel.  After miraculously surviving Nazi persecution, Trudi vowed to make her life as meaningful as possible.

The cardinal principles upon which Trudi established the dental clinic continue to guide its practice to this day and make it unique:

  • The treatments provided to Jerusalem’s children from the city’s most needy families – regardless of their religious or ethnic origin – would be totally free.
  • The city’s welfare service offices would refer these children and they would be the only patients to be served by the clinic.
  • Children and parents must participate in a dental hygiene preventative health care program.
  • There would be a regular six-month recall program.
  • Volunteer dentists, both Jewish and non-Jewish, from many countries would be the mainstay of the clinic’s staff.

For over two decades, Trudi’s determination and forceful drive kept the clinic open. She raised the necessary funds from private donations to establish and then to operate the clinic.  In 1981, Trudi received the President’s Award for volunteerism. In 1991, she was named a Worthy of Jerusalem. Trudi was made an Honorary Member of the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity in 2000. Those who knew Trudi, were inspired by her selfless drive and her uncompromising determination to make certain that the children who needed dental health care the most would receive the very best. Her humanitarian view of life provided her with immense energy as she strove to fulfill her promise to alleviate suffering.

When Trudi passed away in 2002, the DVI clinic was renamed the “Trudi Birger Dental Clinic” in her honor.

“God, I called, If I survive, I will do whatever I can to make sure that no children suffer the way I have.”

-Trudi Birger, A Daughter’s Gift of Love

“Trudi had an incredibly strong magnetic quality to her. She entered your soul with her amibitious goals and somehow, before you realized it–they were your own!”

– Dr. Deborah Weisfuse, AFDVI Board Member

“Trudi was the most dedicated, hard-working person I have ever met. She cared for every child as if that child were her own.”

Dr. Fred Margolis, DVI Volunteer