Saving the Children

As the war raged, Jewish women in the Washington area struggled to help children at risk.

Founded in 1933, Youth Aliyah rescued Jewish children from increasing danger in Europe and brought them to safety in Palestine. There, Hadassah—the Women’s Zionist Organization—assumed responsibility for the youngsters’ housing and schooling in special children’s villages on kibbutzim (cooperative farms).

In Washington, a number of women lobbied and raised funds for the children. Denise Tourover, Hadassah’s first Washington representative, worked tirelessly to rescue the “Tehran children”—700 Polish orphans stranded in Persia after making their way out of Europe. She pleaded with State Department officials and ambassadors until British ships finally transported the children to Palestine.

Can you really refuse to donate 25 cents a week to save the life of a child?

Sally Kravette, JHSGW Interview, 1997

My Pledge for Youth Aliyah

Youth Aliyah pledge card

JHSGW Collections. Gift of James Cafritz. 1995.12

Photo of clipping with Denise Tourover

1943: L to R: Lillian Offenberg, local Hadassah president, Gisela Warburg, National Youth Aliyah chairman, Denise Tourover. Denise Tourover (far right) worked on the most famous Youth Aliyah project: the rescue of the “Tehran children.”

Courtesy of Washington Jewish Week.

letter from Elinor Morgenthau

1943: In this letter, Elinor Morgenthau, wife of the Secretary of the Treasury, expressed relief about the children’s rescue.

Courtesy of Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.

Flyer re: Cafritz Broadcast on Youth Aliyah

1945: Mildred Cafritz used her radio show on WINX and her influence as chair of Hadassah’s local Youth Aliyah Committee to appeal for funds for refugee children. By March 1945, her committee had raised $33,000 for housing, education, and vocational training.

JHSGW Collections. Gift of James Cafritz. 1995.12

Photo of Sally Kravette of VA

1947: Sally Kravette (right) became chair of Youth Aliyah for Northern Virginia after hearing Denise Tourover speak. She remembers: “My quota was $4,000. I raised $7,000 that year.”

Courtesy of Sally Kravette.

My Pledge for Youth Aliyah
Photo of clipping with Denise Tourover
letter from Elinor Morgenthau
Flyer re: Cafritz Broadcast on Youth Aliyah
Photo of Sally Kravette of VA