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Lot 20

Large Collection of Letters and Documents - The Educational Battle for the Souls of the Child Survivors in the Land of Israel. 1944-1945

Collection of about 40 letters and documents from the "Organization for the Rescue of Israeli Children" which dealt with arranging placements for child survivors in Torah institutions in the 1940s. The collection contains important documents and letters recording the daily battle to save the immigrant children originating in religious families from the claws of secular education, and their placements in Torah institutions which were then founded to ensure their spiritual futures. The collection includes varied documents and dramatic correspondence over the years 1944-1945.

Documents - most in stencil print - recording locating children who were already staying on secular kibbutzes, in order to transfer them to a Chareidi kibbutz, attempts to locate children who originated in devout families in the diaspora who were found to be on a low spiritual level due to the negative influence on their way to the Land, placement of children in summer camps, posters calling for emergency assemblies for the sake of rescuing the children, letters to rabbinical leaders in the diaspora requesting support, the tension that prevailed over the fate of each child and youth, lists of names of immigrants' children and their spiritual condition, financial reports summarizing expenses for dealing with Yaldei Teheran and more.

Standing out among others is a stencil print letter with the signature of A. Albert regarding a boy who arrived in the Neve Eitan kibbutz - a letter from his uncle in London was received explaining that he was from a mitzvah-observant family and he must urgently be removed from the secular kibbutz on which he was staying at the time, to be transferred to a Chareidi kibbutz; a fascinating list of immigrant children, their ages, origins and spiritual conditions, in minute detail, so as to direct them according to their spiritual condition: Grossman, Shlomo: 14, Rumania, beginning gemara, wants to learn. Mondar, Menachem 11. Rumania, prodigy. To learn. Greineman, Yonah, 15, Rumania, chumash, may agree to learn. Gatzovitz, Yehudah, 16, Rumania, starting gemara, wants to work half a day, etc.; letter from Iyar 1946 documenting an attempted infiltration into a Beit Yaakov dormitory with the intent to remove girls to secular education "Two of your representatives, one of whom is Mr. Shadmi, conducted 'visits' in a Beit Yaakov dormitory in Jerusalem and held discussions with the girls in the dormitory in order to transfer them to a kibbutz. The visits and the discussions were held without any knowledge of the institution's administration or the Organization for the Rescue of Israeli Children, and the entire act smacks of the scheming of a foreign authority and temptation for the girls to change the direction of their lives ..."

There is also a letter signed by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Levin [among the prominent activists in the 'Vaad Hatzalah,' leader of Agudat Yisrael] in which he counters claims which were raised by secular Zionist organizations that the Chareidi institutions are starving the children ['After I spoke with the girls, the counselors and the workers in the dormitory, it was clear to me that these rumors are based on lies ... various people interested in defaming the Organization and the institution in Petach Tikvah increased and spread the rumors ...']; a rare document in stencil print describing details of the 'investigation' conducted by Rabbi Shmuel Shadrovsky [one of the heads of Agudat Yisrael in Tel Aviv, emissary of Agudat Yisrael in the Far East], David Bernholtz, Rabbi Rosenthal and a counselor from Italy for immigrants' children with respect to attempts to cause them to forget their religion [The Nissenbaum sisters ... the older one speaks some German, was in Belgium for a time, and they visited a Christian kindergarten there ... in the house, there was a JNF charity box ... the older sister appeared and spoke in the name of her sister, there is reason to suspect that she was influenced in the week she spent in Kibbutz Yavneh ... Goldberg, Chaim, age 10, born in Frankfurt ... he remembers little, he just knows that his father was a 'frumer Yid' and that his father told him to go to a religious place in the Land of Israel].

Here we note a stencil letter by Shimon Landau from the Sfat Emet yeshiva about a boy named Yaakov Zilpan who ended up in a Mizrachi institution: 'I was very upset to see that the boy ... is in a Mizrachi institution. I am sure that if his father knew about this he would be very upset about it ... it's unfortunate that the child of a holy person is to be found in a place not in consonance with the spirit of his holy father, may his blood be avenged ... his father was a member of Agudat Yisrael'], a letter with the signature of Rabbi Y. M. Levin about a boy who influenced others to go to a theater, with a request that he be prevented from having a foothold in the dormitory [The youth Elimelech Fisher occasionally goes to the Sanhedriah dormitory and negatively influences the children, and once took five children from there with him to the theater - it must be arranged that he not have a foothold in the dormitory ...'] Detailed report by Dr. S. Shapira about his visit to the Beit Yaakov Dormitory in October, 1944 which describes his deep shock and the poor hygienic conditions and terrible crowding in the place.

Another highlight is the rare notebook of the 'League for the Chareidi Youth, its Aims and Functions' detailing the fundamental principles of the movement. [Tel Aviv 1946]; Invitation to the Organization's conference for the absorption of the immigrants' children under the leadership of the gaon of Brisk and the gaon of Tchebin: 'To rescue the immigrants' children from the exploiters of souls from within and without;' Stencil print documents from the Organization summarizing meetings which were held in the home of the Brisker Rav in which decisions were made about founding Torah institutions for the immigrants' children and an invitation to the meeting with the signature of Y. M. Levin to the activists: 'You are hereby invited to an urgent gathering ... the day's schedule of urgent matters concerning the battles for Chareidi education for the refugee children, their arrangements and placements;' letter in the handwriting and with the signature of the secretary of the Ponovezh Yeshivah from Kislev [1946], stencil print letter from C. Kronzak to Rabbi Aharon Kotler with a request for support for the rescue of the children [1941], letter handwritten and signed by Rabbi Yisrael Yaakov Weisberger on the matter of rescuing a child; leaflets by the Organization calling for implanting the Organization's idea among broad layers of the yishuv, and more.

Various sizes and conditions, most of the documents are stencil prints with handwritten signatures, there are a number of handwritten letters. Overall fine-very fine condition.