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    Stolen generations

    Aborigine Aboriginal Stolen Generation AustraliaThe law against stealing occurs more than once in the Torah.

    In the Ten Commandments it comes in a context of human relationships – respect for parents, respect for human life, respect for marital partners, etc.

    Because of that context, the rabbis said that “Thou shalt not steal” indicates a prohibition of stealing a person, i.e. kidnapping.

    The Australian Aborigines were amongst the groups that suffered grievously from the transgression of this rule. Because children were often taken away from their parents and ancestral culture, there arose what is called the Stolen Generations.

    The fact that the perpetrators thought they were doing the children a favour is irrelevant. What they did was to deny children the right to be themselves and to live in their own comfort zone.

    Of course Jewish life – especially at the time of the Holocaust – had its own Stolen Generations too, when children were retained by other religions after the war and not given back to the Jewish family.

    How many Jews were lost to their people because they were a Stolen Generation we shall never know.

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