Words of Rabbi Menechem Mendel Shneerson
Beside excerpts from the book "Hitvaaduyot"
of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, we refer to the very
fact that even after the Shalgi committee finished
its job, none of the documents were catalogued. . .
No way was found in Israel to track down missing
children that had been likely kidnapped and sold
As expected, different people reacted to this issue of stolen
Jewish infants in the Land of Israel. One such reaction came from
the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menechem Mendel Shneerson, in his book,
"Hitvaaduyot", written around 1987-88.
Herein a quote from his writings:
"On the matter of the kidnapping of children from
their parents in order to educate them not in the
way of the Torah.
It is well-known what happened thirty to forty
years ago during the Aliyah [immigration] of
children from Yemen and Teheran [Teheran, the
capital of Iran. It seems that he, too, was
unaware of the many different communities from
which the children were stolen] to the Holy Land.
Small children, who came with their parents to the
Holy Land, were suddenly taken away from their
parents, who were given strange and unfounded
reasons for this, such as the need for medical
treatment, and that their children were in bad
shape. These explanations continued, until the
parents were told that their children had died....
And all this for the simple reason that they (the
authorities) did not want them to be educated by
their parents, who kept Torah and Mitzvot
(commandments), but wanted to educate them as they
wished, in a way totally devoid of any connection
with their Jewish heritage! For this purpose -
children were stolen from their parents!!"
What Rabbi Shneerson wrote then was based on the fact that when
many religious Jewish men and women immigrated to Israel, there were
people in authority that thought that religion was not what the
country needed in its first days. Certain actions were taken by
these authorities, such as shaving the beards of new immigrants and
cutting off their side-curls. Not to mention all the Torah Scrolls,
Holy Books, and many other possessions taken from the Jewish
immigrants back then. Although this explanation is accepted by some,
others do not accept this as a possible reason for the kidnapping of
children, since so many of these children were sold abroad for
Rabbi Schneerson continues:
"And who was at the time one of those in charge -
a Jew who puts on Tefilin (phylacteries) [Another
Religious Jewish custom] and prays three times a
day, and who in his private life, observes Torah
and Mitzvot! And nevertheless, not only did he not
prevent this from happening, he cooperated, and
was even amongst those who were in charge of the
people who committed this terrible crime!"
Here, Rabbi Shneerson was referring to Rabbi Dr. Issachar Dov
Bernard Bergman, whom we mention in part V of this series of articles.
"And when people started an outcry, as to how this
could possibly have happened, for it is an act
that is the complete opposite of all that is just
and right, and the complete opposite of humane
behavior, they were told: 'We saved them from
death and gave them a new life, therefore it is as
though these children belong to us....'
And not only did they behave with the children as
a man would behave with his "Canaanite servant"
[In other words, a slave] who "belonged" to him,
but even worse. They treated the children as an
object that was their own private posession, that
could, if they so wished, be burnt - where in this
matter, the burning was of the children's soul and
not of their body, Heaven forbid."
What Rabbi Shneerson says here conflicts with reports of children
that know they have been sold in this fashion, when they were
children. In these reports, most of the people report that they were
raised with love and care, as if they were the real children of their
"During that period, hundreds of small children
disappeared without a trace, and until this very
day, the parents do not know what was the fate of
their children, and where they are today."
Rabbi Shneerson mentions hundreds of children, although the
number of such occurrences is alleged to be in the thousands.
"Today, after thirty to forty years, it is still
possible to trace these children, for the same
offices that dealt with the children then have
exact lists that contain the names of all the
children, where they were sent to, etc. The
trouble is that no-one wants to give out the
lists of the names of the children!"
As for the lists of the children's names, not everyone accepts the
idea that there are lists of the names of the original families of
the children, as so many of them were said to be stolen without the
kidnappers even caring who the original parents were.
Why should they?
It is also commonly believed that, considering all the forged and
"confused" documents, there are no real documents. Also there are
those who believe that real documents did exist until Ami Chovav,
the investigator mentioned in part VI, "took care" of the records,
as Chovav worked in the national archives, following his investigation.
He was quoted in "Ha`aretz" as saying:
"After the Shalgi committee, all the material was
in a mess. The committee finished its job, but
none of the documents were catalogued in order, in
the archives. The main archive manager asked me to
organize all the material, of both investigation
committees, in order for the archives. So I sat in
the archives, and organized the material, until
the order was given to hand the material over to
the current (Cohen) committee".
Of course, there are also those who believe that the documents do
exist, some say in a certain safe, in Jerusalem. An article in the
"Makor Rishon" newspaper, written by Journalist Pini Ben-Or,
describes these suspicions:
"In these days, when in many countries in the
world adoption of children occurs, and adoption
certificates are issued, there was no way found in
Israel to try and help find children that have
disappeared. Even the adopted people themselves
are faced with many difficulties in finding their
biological parents. Today, the belief is getting
stronger that thousands of children disappeared,
and were stolen from their parents in the first
years of the existence of the State of Israel.
'Makor Rishon', which is following the stolen
children issue, has checked on the other
possibility. The best kept secret in the country -
The safe of Mr. George Klein.
George Klein is the manager of the archives,
belonging to the Ministry of Interior, where
appear the records of all the people that are
removed from the population records: People who
have died, been adopted, left the country, and
From one investigation protocol of George Klein,
from the 16th of September, 1997, it is seen that,
in his archives, there is a safe where all the
adoption records, ever since the British Mandate
in Israel, are kept.
In his questioning in front of the committee for
investigating the disappearance of these children,
George Klein said that only he has access to the
safe, which is located in a safety room. He
received the adoption orders, as well as the
original personal file of the adopted child, from
the bureau of the Ministry of Interior. The
material is placed in the safe, and the child
receives a new birth certificate, where the names
of the adopting parents are found. According to
Klein, he writes the original I.D. number of the
child, in the adoption book.
After writing the details, Klein has the information
updated. The original birth certificate, along with
the adoption certificate, are placed in an envelope,
that is filed in the safe, in the safety room.
Anyone looking in the adoption book only sees the
new details of the adopted person, but adding up
the new details and what is written in the envelopes
that contain the old details - will reveal who the
adopted person is.
The biggest secret is in the hands and safe of
George Klein. Maybe there, an answer to the issue
of the missing children can be found."
Since that article was written, it has been rumored that the safe
has been moved, although not everyone believes that. Again, it is
commonly believed that records of which children went where do
not even exist. Although, it is possible that details of a
certain number of the missing children can be found there.
To return to the writings of Rabbi Shneerson:
"And the even greater trouble is - that no-one
gets up to speak of it!
Lately, a few people have woken up and begun to
ask for the lists of the children but
unfortunately, this was but 'the sound of the tune
of defeat', and nothing came of it.
And not only this, but as always, there are those
who immediately make a 'mockery' out of
everything, and they made a mockery out of this
request too!.... And we know that one should not
talk with scoffers, and even not sit in their
company, as king David said at the beginning of
the Book of Psalms - 'Happy is the man that hath
not walked in the counsel of the wicked... Nor sat
in the seat of the scornful.' (Psalms 1:1) Our
sages have already told us that a 'Cult of
Scoffers' is one of the four cults that 'do not
receive the Divine Presence'.
However, this claim also has no place in the
discussion. For, although it might be very hard
work, nevertheless, in no situation is one allowed
to despair of a Jew, and no-one can take the
responsibility to say that, as far as so-and-so is
concerned, nothing can be done to bring him closer
to Torah and Judaism."
Here again, it is evident that Rabbi Shneerson believed that these
children were stolen to keep them away from Judaism, and Torah.
"And, in any case, as long as not everything
possible is being done to correct the situation -
it is as though the crime is continuously being
committed! Obviously in this matter, doing
Teshuvah (repentance) will not help - for Teshuvah
is between man and his Master - and so above all,
what must be done is to correct the injustice and
the crime that was committed against both the
children and their parents!
After all this, if anyone thinks that they (the
authorities), regret their past deeds, and
certainly will not repeat them, God forbid,
'Trouble shall not rise up the second time' (as
said in Nachum, 1:9), they are making a bitter
Not only do they not show any remorse, and are not
even trying to return the situation to its
rightful state, but on the contrary - until this
very day, they are repeating what they did (to the
children stolen back then) with the children of
Teheran [Iranian Jewish immigrants], and in a more
acute way, and no one is standing up to be heard,
and let the world know. And especially those who
are meant to represent, so to speak, the demands
of the Charedi (ultra-Orthodox) Judaism - even
they are sitting quietly and doing nothing at all!
It is the holy obligation of anyone who has it in
his powers to do whatever they can to prevent and
to stop the stealing of children that is currently
happening, and in addition, to try and correct
what was done in the past.
And those who cannot do anything, as far as this
matter is concerned, should increase their
activities in the field of education. In other
words, try and ensure that all Jewish children
receive a Jewish education that is in the spirit
of the Torah, and no effort should be spared (just
as no effort is spared by those opposing the
matter), for one is talking about Pikuach Nefashot
(the saving of endangered lives)!
To what can this be compared? To a man who sees a
house burning - he surely will not spare any
effort to try and save the people who are in the
house. Not only that, but even if he is unsure if
there is anyone in the house, he will knock on the
blinds and the windows, etc., to check if there is
anyone in the house, who can be saved. And the
moral of the example is an endangered spiritual
Remember: 'And he that stealeth a man, and selleth
him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall
surely be put to death' (Exodus, 21:16). And his
death, according to the Halachah [Jewish law, as
set by the Rabbis. . . although there are many
laws in Halachah, such as this, that are not
enforced in these days], is by strangulation."
This is what the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menacham Mendel
Shneerson, has written about the issue of the stolen children.
Apparently, Rabbi Shneerson knew what went on. According to him
and others, such things are still happening, although, as many
say, on a much smaller scale.
© Yechiel Mann,