Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Palestine

Mass kidnapping of children from adoptive homes


CO 537/1705

State of Terror, 122-124

In 1946, the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Palestine, Yitzhak Herzog, conducted a kidnapping operation of orphans of Jewish background that had been adopted by European families when their parents perished years earlier.

Removing ten thousand children from their homes was the number he cited to the NY Times as his goal. The National Archives holds this record of his trip.

In it, Herzog complains of the fierce resistance he met from horrified local Jewish leaders who tried to protect the children, but he used his political clout to circumvent them. In France, for example, facing the steadfast refusal of the Jewish leaders to betray the children, Herzog

“demanded promulgation of a law which would oblige every family to declare the particulars of the children it houses.”

Herzog’s justification for the kidnappings was that for a child of Jewish background to be raised in a non-Jewish home is

“much worse than physical murder”.

Yet, at the same time, Jewish Agency officials were sabotaging Jewish adoptive homes in England for young survivors still in the camps. (See Yosef Grodzinsky,  In the Shadow of the Holocaust: The Struggle Between Jews and Zionists in the Aftermath of World War II. [Common Courage Press, 2004]


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