The Great War left families in Europe destitute and many children bereft of parents. This, along with the influx of Jews fleeing the pogroms in Poland, prompted a remarkable group of Zionist women to open a feeding center for Jewish street children in 1914. Within a decade, the outreach evolved into a home for children of Jewish refugees fitly named Ahava (Hebrew for love). Opened in 1922 and located on August Street in Berlin, no one at that time could possibly have known the critical role the shelter would come to play in the dark years that were to come.
By 1933, it was clear to the centers director, Nurse Beate Berger, that Germany was becoming an increasingly unsafe place for Jewish people to reside. She knew she had to get the children out of the country and that she didnt have much time. As the Nazi party came into power, Beate resolved to protect the orphans under her care and traveled to Israel (then Palestine) where she purchased three acres in the Zvulun Valley. This endeavor became the first stages of Ahava Village for Children and Youth that stands in Kiryat Bialik today.
Between the years of 1935-1939, groups of Jewish orphans were smuggled to safety in Palestine, out of the reach of Hitlers final solution. In total, about 300 children whose families were murdered in the Holocaust, were saved. Those who could not be rescued in time were rounded up by the S.S. and sent to extermination camps.
The epic and sobering origins of Ahava Village are far from forgotten. Its history speaks of the dangers faced by Jewish people who, to this day, suffer persecution in Europe and around the world. This anti-Semitism drives many to make Aliyah and come home to Israel. We consider it a privileged duty to care for orphans and abused children in the very location where they first found refuge on the brink of the World War II. We warmly invite you to join us in this work of extending love to Gods children who today, as much as ever, need a safe place to call home.