Protocol of the official investigation committee regarding the affair of missing children among the Jewish Yemenite immigrants during 1948-1954


Session from 1996/10/10


Committee members


Chairman: Retired judge – Yehuda Cohen

Committee Member: Retired judge – Dahlia Koval

Committee Member: Retired general – David Maimon


From page 11229


Witness: Dr. Roza Amster (Previously – Dr. Avlof) - a children’s doctor who worked in Rambam Hospital in Haifa from February 1949 until the end of 1953.
Based on her testimony she started to work in a new department (A) with another doctor. They were the only doctors in the department at that time. A few months later department B was created and more doctors were recruited, increasing the number of the medical crew also in her department.


Investigating Lawyer: Drora


Drora (Investigating Lawyer): Where did the children come from? From which areas did they arrive to Rambam [hospital]


Dr. Amster: From around, from Haifa and around, from Kibbutzim, from around. But there were children in the beginning, there were all kinds of children. And there was a period when Yemenite children started to come.


Drora: Yes


Dr. Amster: And they [the administration] used to call me sometimes. I used to do 17 [extra] shifts in a month, during the nights, days and nights. And they would call me to the emergency room, and there were 5-6-8-10 children that arrived all together, very sick, in severe condition.


Drora: The Yemenite children who usually arrived sick, which areas did they come from?


Dr. Amster: I don’t know the administration process. It was not my job. But I was told that they came from a Maabara [meaning from an immigration camp)  and also…


Drora: Maabara, do you mean Ein Shemer? Where from?


Dr. Amster: I don’t know exactly from which Maabara. And there were also cases that arrived straight from the airplane, children. At any rate this is what they told me in the emergency room.





Drora: Now, when a child came to the department, who was responsible for the registration, for getting the details?


Dr. Amster: A nurse, a nurse admitted him.


Drora: The name of the nurse, the nurse in charge, do you remember her?


Dr. Amster: Tamar Bermshtater. A chief nurse, she was in my department. After her was Yehudit Pe-er, now she is in Hadera. And after that there was nurse Bruria, each time… But Tamar Bermshtater came with me from Afula. She also was in Afula earlier.


Drora: Now, about Yehudit Pe-er who worked with you for some period. She’s retired I believe, is that true?


Dr. Amster: Nu [So], they are all retired now.


Drora: Do you have any details that would help us to reach and invite her?


Dr. Amster: They live in Hadera. She worked afterwards in Hillel-Yafe’ (Hospital) in Hadera as a nurse.


Drora: Do you have any personal contact with her?





Dr. Amster: No, I have no contact at all.


Drora: That means, her family name remained Pe-er?


Dr. Amster: Pe-er, yes, her husband was a Doctor


Drora: That means, this is her husband’s family name.


Dr. Amster: Dr. Pe-er


Drora: I understand., So it would be possible to locate her in the phone book.


Dr. Amster: Yes, their name was PEKER before. Later, when they relocated, I knew them earlier in Afula as Peker and after as Pe-er, they changed their names.


Drora: I understand.


Dr. Amster: Yehudit Pe-er - she worked, and Tamar Bermshtater from Haifa.


Drora: Now, when a sick child arrived, he arrived with documents from whoever sent him, from a nursery, from a babies’ home, where he came from…?





Dr. Amster: [When] a sick child would come, I would not know who would bring the children, sometimes a social worker, sometimes a nurse; we had no contact with the parents. First of all we had no common language and secondly, [no contact with] the parents at all, somebody would bring the children. This - I would come, I would be in the [doctor’s] shift room, let’s say at night, suddenly they would call me to the emergency room, and there were a few, sometimes many, children at once, and I saw children who were in very bad condition.


Drora: Yes, we will get to the children’s condition. Do you agree with me that most of the children arrived during the night shifts?


Dr. Amster: Sorry?


Drora: Did most of the children arrive during the night shifts?


Dr. Amster: No, I cannot say this. Also during the day children arrived. This I cannot say. But I remember at nights when they woke me up every time. I didn’t sleep at all during the nights. Not only Yemenite children arrived. (Other) children arrived also, later there was an epidemic at the time, an epidemic affecting children.


Drora: Yes, we will go through the details about this later. Since you worked for 4 years, so we will go through the common illnesses. But first we want to know how the children arrived to you. You say that …





Dr. Amster: In what shape?


Drora: You know, whether they came with some kind of a label, with some document?  With names?


Dr. Amster: Names were a big problem.


Drora: Why?


Dr. Amster: Each child had many names, we didn’t know what was the family name, what was the private name.


Drora: But they arrived with names?


Dr. Amster: They arrived with something. The nurse would prepare the form and would give it to me, and there was an anamnesis [an account of a medical history]. I had to have it. But it was difficult to receive. We did not see the parents at all. A nurse would come, let us say the nurse that brought me [the child] would say that he has diarrhea since the previous day. Vomiting and that would be it. But when we saw the children we saw [realized] what condition they were in.


Drora: Now, the first reception was not done by you, but by the nurse? The first admission to the department?





Dr. Amster: But I would go to the emergency, and would look at the children to see what condition they were in, [to decide] if they should be admitted or not. And I would tell them to send them to the department. And they would send them to the department. They would be in such a bad condition that we would immediately start giving them infusions and transfusions and all kinds of treatments, [to those] who were in a severe situation. Many children.


Drora: When you say that the children arrived in a difficult situation, which kind of illnesses were mainly found among the children?


Dr. Amster: The most occurring ones were diarrhea, infections, dysentery and salmonella. All kinds of infections, para-typhus, and the children were dehydrated, and very skinny. Many children like that.


Drora: Now, the treatment was medical infusion?


Dr. Amster: The treatment was to immediately give infusions, plasma, vitamins, blood - this was the treatment.


Drora: Was this a treatment that usually succeeded?


Dr. Amster: Sometimes, we would not know where to start, when 3-4 children would come.


Drora: But the treatment usually succeeded and the children usually became healthy?





Dr. Amster: No, this is not true. No, the children who came with severe conditions, with extreme dehydration, they did not get healthy. They arrived to the hospital too late.


Drora: Do you remember how many children of the Yemenite immigrants died - a rough estimate based on your memory?


Dr. Amster: I cannot say


Drora: If 10 children arrived, how many of them remained for treatment and would not die?


Dr. Amster: I cannot tell you, I just can say that one night 6 children died, but not all of them were from Yemen. But most of them were from Yemen. I will never forget that night.


Drora: Yes, but this was a rare night, meaning not every night 3 children died.


Dr. Amster: No, if they died, we would stay, but no. They would arrive in a difficult condition and it was difficult to rescue them. Simply impossible. Many children were in a very difficult state.


Drora: Now,





Dr. Amster: There were children who got healthy, but…


Drora: There were many children who got healthy but you sent them on, to convalescent homes, is that true?


Dr. Amster: Sorry?


Drora: Were there children who got healthy and you sent them to a convalescent home?


Dr. Amster: Yes, we would generally send children who became healthy. From what I know we sent them to a custodial facility.


Drora: Only for custodial care?


Dr. Amster: I do not remember that we sent them anywhere else.


Drora: Do you remember a WIZO convalescent home in Safed (Tzfat)?


Dr. Amster: I heard. I heard that they sent to Safed, from a second department I think.


Drora: And you do not remember?


Dr. Amster: No, I don’t remember that I sent any to Safed. Maybe yes, I do not …





Dr. Amster: …Remember. I remember that we sent to a custodial facility. The children who became healthy we sent to custody or they were taken home. But there were cases where nobody came to take the children immediately, and it was very crowded so we would send them to custody.


Drora: Now, when you sent children to the custodial facility, did you have connection and follow up for these children in custody or did you have a complete disconnection?


Dr. Amster: We had no time to keep connections with all the children who were sent to custody. We sent to custody, there was a home doctor, there was…


Drora: Do you remember the name of the doctor?


Dr. Amster: Dr. Feldman. She also passed away. She worked there. And after, the chief inspector, once or twice a month, Professor Falk would come. He was an excellent doctor, and he would come. And when there were problems we would go to Dr. Falk. But in our department we had no connection with the custodial facility.


Drora: Now, based on your memory, you actually sent not only those children who needed recuperation to the custodial facility, but also children that had no arrangements, meaning children who it was impossible to send back home.


Dr. Amster: Sick children would not be accepted in custody, I think.





Drora: Meaning there were children who got healthy and needed some extra time (to recover)?


Dr. Amster: But it could be, very possible, that we could not keep them, that the department was crowded.


Drora: Either it was crowded or the parents could not be found, is that true?


Dr. Amster: I do not remember that I ever saw parents.


Drora: You had no connection with the parents at all?


Dr. Amster: I had no connection, and even if I would have, I had no language [means of communication] with them.


Drora: Now, did you send the parents to the custodial facility with a status of the diagnosis?


Dr. Amster: A Release letter.


Drora: With a summary conclusion about the disease?


Dr. Amster: Sure, a diagnostic summary about the disease and a release letter.


Drora: Now, Dr. Cohen is she known to you? A female doctor, lives in Safed, Dr. Cohen, Sharlota Cohen





Dr. Amster: From Safed?


Drora: Miloslevski, from Safed is known to you?


Dr. Amster: No, I did not hear of and did not know this name.


Drora: She was someone who was actually almost the only children’s doctor in Safed. Is she not known to you? She also sent children to Rambam (hospital) for treatment, and she was in touch with you in Rambam.


Dr. Amster: Maybe, I cannot recall who exactly sent [children]. Sometimes a certain doctor sent, they sent from all around. But I didn’t know her, and even not her name.


Drora: Now, tell me, under which procedure did you send children to a custodial facility? Who would tell you? Who would give the order?


Dr. Amster: It was probably an order from the Health Ministry, I think.


Drora: This wasn’t known to you? Who told you?


Dr. Amster: They would always come from the Health Ministry to visit and this is why we could not keep them [the children].





Drora: No no, the question is different. You are telling me ‘probably’. I am not talking about probably. Who told you, which [kind of] orders did you get to send children to a custodial facility?


Dr. Amster: It was not my personal function to send them there. My function was to treat the children and to give a letter of release, and the nurse would come, the child would leave the department, and he would be sent to custody. Who decided about it? This I do not know.


Drora: But when you…


Dr. Amster: It was not my decision.


Drora: Yes, but when you wrote in the release letter that the child needs to recover or the child needs to be sent to custody, and there are such letters, and I will present them to you…


Dr. Amster: Yes, yes


Drora: You already decided to send them, who ordered you to send them to a custodial facility?


Dr. Amster: When the child got healthy, it was impossible to keep him, it was also no good for the child. He would have been with sick children.





Drora: Yes, but why precisely to custody and not other names [places]?


Dr. Amster: I did not decide this. I do not know. Either, Bar Hai told me, or the nurse told me that they cannot hold any more and that they would send [the child] to a custody facility. It was not my decision.


Dr. Amster: You had no discussions about where to send them.


Dr. Amster: No, there was no time for discussions, we were short on doctors and there were many children, and we worked without a break day and night.


Drora: So as a routine you sent to a custodial facility?


Dr. Amster: No, it might happen that they sent somebody to Safed. Somebody, I am not sure. I know, I remember that I wrote a few times that “the child was sent to custody”, in the release letter.


Drora: Look, I will show you many letters that you are signed on, Diagnostic Conclusion Summaries about the diseases, which were collected from the hospital.


Dr. Amster: That I am signed on?


Drora: Yes, from the hospital.





Dr. Amster: Ramban?


Drora: And that you sent children to Safed, to a convalescent home.


Dr. Amster: Maybe, I do not remember this.


Drora: It is strange that you do not remember the hospital.


Dr. Amster: I do not remember at all, I know that there was [a home] in Safed, but I do not remember, maybe we did send [there].


Drora: Here, this starts from this. Dr. Avlof, there are also signed documents by you, a baby girl, a year and a quarter old, was admitted in the department a second time, a convalescent home, in Safed. She was even received in the convalescent home in Safed.


Dr. Amster: Might be


Drora: She was there for 2 months, meaning she was sent by you to Safed, and you, based on the documents, I imagine, returned her back to Safed. This one died a day later. But there are other cases. This one was transferred to Safed, was brought back to you from Safed after she was transferred. But there are also other cases. Just a minute I have more documents. Dr. Avlof, the baby girl also died. She was a baby girl 7 months old. She left the department on 14/6/50 to Safed, the diagnostics was Gastro…. She was a month in Safed and was brought back to you. And she died. Here is a case that you…





Dr. Amster: Very possible.


Drora: …That you also sent to the convalescent home, WIZO Safet. When you say here, admitted to the department, a second time, this time from the convalescent home in Safed. Here she was sent back to Safed in this case. And we have a lot of other documents. We still have a lot of material on the side.


Dr. Amster: Maybe I did send to Safed, I do not remember, but it might have been.


Drora: Yes, and many other documents (exist) in the convalescent home in Safed. A baby girl 7 months old, and many other cases, meaning, this is just a sample of these documents.


Dr. Amster: Maybe, I was never in Safed, and not in the custodial facility. I never saw the convalescent homes.


Drora: Now, You know what happens to a child after being sent to a custodial facility or to the convalescent home in Safed. You had an idea.





Dr. Amster: No.


Drora: What happened to a child after that [he/she was sent]?


Dr. Amster: No we could not follow up on the children. There were many children, and we were busy and we didn’t know. Only, sometimes they would call from the custodial facility and ask a question. For example, let’s say that the child had an ear ache so they would ask us to send them an ear doctor or something like this. But we didn’t have one; I could not follow up on every child that left the hospital.

I did my work. We brought them to a state that made it possible to send them to a convalescent home and after that I do not know what happened there. We did not visit there. We treated only the children that were in the department.


Drora: Yes, now, to your knowledge or your understanding, those children who were sent to convalescent homes, actually they had no other address to transfer them, mostly?


Dr. Amster: It was very possible that there was the address of the Maabara [the immigration camp], I didn’t pay attention to the address. We would complete the treatment and send them to a convalescent home.


Drora: Now, you would send them to a convalescent home without the parents knowing? Because you had no connection with the parents?





Dr. Amster: This I do not know. This was not the job of the doctors, to send, to ask the parents. This was the job of the nurses.


Drora: But did you have any kind of knowledge if the parents knew or did not know that the child was sent?


Dr. Amster: I have no idea. These were the nurses. Administration was part of the nurses’ job.


Drora: But you did not clarify with the parents if they knew? Let’s assume, you say that the parents were very much missing for you, is that true?


Dr. Amster: Sorry?


Drora: In your diagnosis about what happened to the child you were missing also… a contact with the parents was missing.


Dr. Amster: Yes


Drora: Since today when a child comes to a hospital, or immediately after, they tell the parents which illnesses he has, what is happening with him; all the anamnesis [medical history] is with the parents.





Dr. Amster: But these were not parents who lived in Haifa and who were able to come. These were parents who were in some Maabarot [immigration camps]. I didn’t know where they came from.


Drora: I understand


Dr. Amster: And they would usually almost never come.


Drora: Meaning, that you [all of you] assumed that parents of these sick children did not exist. Actually, this was the assumption.


Dr. Amster: No, no, no, not that they did not exist. We knew that somebody gave birth to them.


Drora: No, no, I mean that they didn’t exist in terms of cooperation, of consultancy.


Dr. Amster: Nothing.


Drora: There was no connection at all.


Dr. Amster: No cooperation at all, and I saw very few parents in the department. I hardly saw any. I don’t remember that any parent ever approached me. I do not remember that. And we treated the children. They were mostly babies. One, one and a half years old, a few months old.





Drora: Now tell me, when a child died, also then you had no contact with the parents?


Dr. Amster: It was not me, not me.


Drora: No, no, [when] a child died.


Dr. Amster: Died, then they probably sent notification, there was an address on the medical form.


Drora: Whom would they give the notice to?


Dr. Amster: To somebody in the camp, probably. They gave a notice that the child died, to a nurse probably or somebody, a nurse.


Drora: But you would write a diagnostic conclusion for the disease, and there were a few children that died.


Dr. Amster: Yes, then I, this was not my job to tell the family that the child died. [A child] Died, then it was the nurse whose job it was to do that. She would tell the parents.


Drora: Do you know if nurses told the parents that their children died?


Dr. Amster: This is not known to me. I am sure that they told them, when they [the parents] came to take them.





Drora: No, no, you can not be sure, if you do not know.


Dr. Amster: I do not know.


Drora: Just a minute.


Dr. Amster: I do not know.


Drora: Please, you probably were not there then.


[unidentified person] --: he was 2-3 years old…


Drora: [to unidentified person] It doesn’t matter, never mind, this was another period. So, let your mother testify calmly, and whatever she knows she will tell the committee.


Drora [continued]:Yes. Why do I say this, since there is an example? There is a case, for example, of a girl, Nurit Yosef that died at your place.


Dr. Amster: Yes, yes


Drora: And usually when sending [a child] to a convalescent home you would write “to a convalescent home”. Meaning, the convalescent facility would have a copy that the child was sent there.


Dr. Amster: Yes, yes





Drora: And if a certain doctor sent [the child], then you [plural] would notify him that you would send the child to a convalescent home. This is what I see. When a child died I do not see here - for example regarding Nurit Yosef – that you notified even the camp about her death, for example. Is there any diagnostic evaluation of the disease, even without a copy, [sent] to the camp that she was sent from?


Dr. Amster: I don’t know, it was not my job to notify the camp. My job was to determine if the child died, or to do everything to see that he lives. But to know where, to deal with this too, to know where to send, whom to notify, this, the nurse should have done. Maybe she didn’t do it, maybe she did do it, I don’t know.


Drora: Now, children who died, did you have orders about what should happen with the bodies? Were autopsies done to the bodies?


Dr. Amster: No, they did not do that. First of all, the diagnosis was known. Most of the Yemenite children were sick with diarrhea. We called it then toxicosis. This is severe gastritis. This means a very serious infection. Most of the children, we knew then. We did not do [an autopsy]


Drora: Now look…


Dr. Amster: It was clear what they died of.





Drora: Dr. Mendel testified here regarding this issue, do you know him?


Dr. Amster: Yes, yes, oh yes, He is still alive.


Drora: He testified here before the committee.


Dr. Amster: He worked under Professor Falk.


Drora: He worked in Ein-Shemer, in the temporary hospital that was there for two weeks, 2 years in Rosh–Haain. Sorry, about 2 years.


Dr. Amster: But he also worked in Rambam.


Drora: He also worked in Rambam? When?


Dr. Amster: Yes, yes, during the period that I worked there, but I don’t remember - 1951, 1952.


Drora: He testified regarding the system [approach]. There was a female doctor, Dr. Froidlich


Dr. Amster: Dr.?


Drora: Froidlich, do you recognize the name?





 Dr. Amster: Froidei..?


Drora: Froidlich,


Dr. Amster: This was a male doctor?


Drora: Sorry I made a mistake, Froind not Froidlich. Dr. Froind, a female doctor… known to you?


Dr. Amster: I didn’t know her.


Drora: That she, as a matter of routine, would perform autopsies for all the children who died.


Dr. Amster: This is the first time that I hear about this.


Chairman: Sorry, sorry


Dr. Amster: Was she a pathology doctor?


Drora: In Rosh-Haain?


Chairman: In Rosh-Haain? So why do you ask her?





Drora: No, no, no. I am saying no. My next question, and he actually testified regarding this, is it true that this is associated with Hadassah. My question was like this. Dr. George Mendel said, that systematically, at that period…


Dr. Amster: Yes


Drora: Autopsies were done on children who died. And it was done systematically, without telling the parents. Without notifying the parents about it.


Dr. Amster: I don’t know about this.


Drora: But this was done systematically.


Dr. Amster: I don’t know about this, I didn’t hear about it.


Drora: Was there a pathology doctor in your department?


Dr. Amster: Our pathologist was Dr. Gali, in Rambam hospital


Drora: Gali?


Dr. Amster: Gali. I don’t know if he was already, then. Yes Gali. Professor Gali. He was our pathologist.





Drora: Is he still alive, Prof. Gali?


Dr. Amster: He is alive, he lives in Haifa, alive and well. Prof. Gali, but I… regarding this, I never entered the morgue.


Drora: No, the question is if, as a doctor, you had an order not to visit.


Dr. Amster: I didn’t know about it.


Drora: To transfer…


Dr. Amster: This I don’t know.


Drora: Meaning, it might be possible the autopsies were done without you knowing about it?


Dr. Amster: It was possible that Dr. Mendel, as a doctor, would order it to be done. It was possible that he would want to know exactly what happened there, but from our department, no.


Drora: Maybe, in fact, this was done for the purpose of learning from it, if you did it


Dr. Amster: That is correct.





Drora: If you talked together about the case,


Dr. Amster: Yes


Drora: And this would be returned, the pathological report, usually it was returned to the department. Is that correct?


Dr. Amster: I don’t remember about any autopsy that was made on a child that died in our department. I didn’t hear about any. Sometimes maybe there was a case, not a case of diarrhea, other cases. A tumor or something like that. Then, if the parents would agree that it was done. Without the permission of the parents it was not done. They had to sign, I would think.


Drora: Yes, now, there is another question that I wanted to ask you, from the testimony of George Mendel.


Dr. Amster: Yes.


Drora: George Mendel testified that there was a phenomenon…that actually the hospital he belonged to, connected to Hadassah Ein-Kerem.


Dr. Amster: He left us then


Drora: No, not in the period that I am talking about.





Chairman: Sorry, sorry, I am sorry. The advocate asks you questions that are based on what happened in the hospital in Rosh-Haain. And she asks you in order to know if they had the same system of working also in Haifa. And I do not want you to get confused.


Dr. Amster: This is true, I got confused.


Chairman: You can say: “I do not know. In our place, autopsies were not done” - and we are finished with it.


Dr. Amster: I do not know what was done in the morgue. I do not know this, if they did or not.


Drora: So I want to say, that George Mendel…


Dr. Amster: There was no policy that every child who died would go through an autopsy. There was not.


Chairman: This is an answer.


Drora: Prof. Mendel who testified here - in his hospital in Rosh-Haain I say, he testified also about a phenomenon that existed, and I am asking if this phenomenon did not exist in your place, a phenomenon where they brought children that were dehydrated, meaning they lost liquids.





Dr. Amster: Dehydration, dehydration, right.


Drora: Yes, yes, and they got infusions, but instead of improving, they deteriorated sometimes to a point of death. This was because the infusion composition was not right; the infusion technique did not fit. Do you remember any such phenomena?  Or did it exist also in Rambam hospital? And regarding this, would they want to research it?


Dr. Amster: I know that the only process was…


Chairman: Why do we need all of this?


Dr. Amster: And the most efficient thing, was that a dehydrated child who could not have even a drop of water through his mouth, would get liquids through the vein, plasma, everything that is needed. And this was the process, this type of orders I received from my boss.


Drora: I am not talking about the orders. Was there not a phenomenon where, in spite of the infusion, instead of improving the child’s state, there would be deterioration? Do you remember such cases?


Dr. Amster: This I don’t know. That because of the infusion he [the child] died, it might be that the infusion came too late, they gave him liquids, and it wouldn’t help. But that he would die because of the infusion, this I don’t know.





Drora: I ask, because also on the basis of that background autopsies were done, in George Mendel’s hospital.


Dr. Amster: Very possible.


Drora: Because they wanted to know the cause of death. Because this would be a surprise, that they gave an infusion, and everything should have been ok, and the child would die.


Dr. Amster: Possible.


Drora: So the question is if there was also such a reason in your hospital?


Dr. Amster: We did not have such a system. I would know if they did autopsies, they would have told me if they did. But I didn’t know, I did not hear, ever, that this was done to a child who died. There were a few cases, something strange, a defect in the heart, something like this; they wanted to know exactly what was there, but very rarely.


Drora: Besides custodial facilities, do you remember institutions in the area of Haifa, where you directed children outside of custodial facilities?


Dr. Amster: Which institutions other than a custodial facility?





Drora: Yes, apart from custody, apart from Safed, from WIZO Safed, do you recall?


Dr. Amster: I… You see, I didn’t remember that we also sent to WIZO. That I don’t remember, I remembered to custodial facilities. It is possible that…it is a fact that we sent to WIZO. But to other institutions, I don’t know if they sent any, this I don’t know. Besides me, there were also other doctors, maybe they sent.


Drora: Yes, you mentioned [redacted name] was an adopted girl?


Dr. Amster: Yes, this I know


Drora: Correct?


Dr. Amster: Yes, [redacted name] came one day and told me that he took a girl from custody, and that the girl lives now in Haifa. I didn’t see her. He told me that they had no children. That (the girl) was 9 months old, and I saw the girl when she was about 30 years old, and she looked to me… I, first it was all legal. I would not have done anything (otherwise).


Drora: Ok, I do not want to ask you about legality. I only want to ask you about the information





Dr. Amster: He adopted a girl. You can find her. She lives in Haifa, I just don’t know her family name now. They died, both of them [redacted name] and his wife. But the girl is in Haifa. The girl now is about 40 something years old.


Drora: Yes, do you know in about which year he adopted her?


Dr. Amster: I don’t know - in 1953, 1952, but I saw the girl, but this thing can be checked.


Drora: Yes, no - so you will understand, I simply want background details.


Dr. Amster: He did not take a girl…She did not look like a Yemenite girl.


Drora: Let’s leave the girl for a moment. I’m talking about the process, not about the girl, not about the witness. Meaning (that is to say), it was known that children were adopted from custodial institutions, correct?


Dr. Amster: It was possible, sure.


Drora: Yes, yes, it means, that it was known that from custodial institutions people were adopting children?


Dr. Amster: me?





Drora: Did you know that children were adopted from the custody facilities?


Dr. Amster: I had a case, no, there was a case, there was a hotel, there was a children’s home “Shabtai Levi”. Once a lady patient came, it was 10 years after this, maybe in 1960. She said that she wanted to adopt a child, and asked me to go and examine a child half a year old in “Shabtai Levi”, it was beside Rothchild hospital there, if he was healthy.


Drora: It was a private hospital, wasn’t it?


Dr. Amster: This was a home.


Drora: A private home.


Dr. Amster: This was a home of NAAMAT or something like this, I don’t know. And I examined [him]. I said that in my opinion the child was healthy and good, and she took [him].


Drora: When was it? In what year?


Dr. Amster: I don’t remember exactly. She was someone who lived in my neighborhood.


Drora: Yes, but I wasn’t talking about the ‘60s, I am talking about the …





Dr. Amster: This was later, when I had a private practice after I left Rambam [hospital]. In Rambam I couldn’t work privately.


Drora: Dr. Avlof, I’m not talking, now, about the later period. I’m talking, now, about the period more or less when [redacted name] adopted a girl.


Dr. Amster: He adopted a girl.


Drora: During that period, but it was known, and it was clear, and look, also from a logical point of view, if children were with no parents, it was clear that it was possible to adopt them. Correct. It was a common thing.


Dr. Amster: This I don’t know. [Redacted name] told me that he adopted a girl, and the girl, and that’s all. This I know that he adopted.



C.H. Maimon: No, but he said that he adopted a girl from a custody facility?


Dr. Amster: From a custody facility,


Drora: Yes


C.H.Mimon: That’s it.





Dr. Amster: But in the custody facility there were all kinds of children, and I was familiar, I knew that he adopted a girl.


Drora: The 9 month-old girl…


Dr. Amster: He waited many years before they let him adopt a girl.


Drora: I am not talking about the adoption, whether it was legal or not, this can be checked. I am talking about what is known to you. Did you know that the girl was about 9 months old?


Dr. Amster: About 7-8 months.


Drora: In about 1952?


Dr. Amster: This I don’t know, either 1952 or 1953.


Drora: Or 1953


Dr. Amster: Or 1951, this I don’t remember. I remember that he came to tell me: “You know, I adopted a girl”. He told me that.


 Drora:  Ahh, yes. Did you hear of other cases where children were adopted from a custody facility?





Dr. Amster: No, I did not hear, I heard nothing about a custody facility. I was never in a custody facility, and I don’t know what happened there. But I didn’t hear [anything].


Drora: But were there no inquiries to you in the hospital?


Dr. Amster: No, in my department, I am talking about Children’s Department A. No, nobody, if someone would want to adopt a child, then they would come and ask the doctors if the girl was healthy, in order not to take a child with any kind of defect. But I don’t remember any case where somebody approached me or any of my colleagues regarding adoption. This is what happened in our department. I do not know about other departments.


Drora: No, it makes more sense that they would adopt from the institution the child arrived to. Either from a custody facility or from Safed, not sick. From Safed or from a custody facility, where the children were already healthy.


Dr. Amster: So, this I don’t know. What was there, I could not tell.


Drora: Yes, as it happens, there is one case or two.


Dr. Amster: Yes





Drora: Where the child’s name…


Dr. Amster: No name. This happened


Drora: Correct, Yes.


Dr. Amster: This thing happened, that they brought a child, left him in the emergency room, and nobody knew who, what was the name, and such.


Drora: Now, you [plural] tried, you [singular] as the responsible doctor, did you try to find where he [the child] at least arrived from, from which camp?


Dr. Amster: He came from a Maabara, a camp. They would always say, ‘came from a Maabara’


Drora: No, but from which Maabara, was it known?


Dr. Amster: I didn’t know, I was not familiar with the Maabarot that existed, and where. I do not know, I know that there were cases where there were no names, that some child, somebody brought the child and left.


Drora: Were there many cases like this?


Dr. Amster: I don’t remember many, but there were cases in fact where there were many names, we did not know exactly, there was a lot of disorder with the names.





Drora: Look, there are at least 2 cases that we have. Indeed, there is a child without a name, and you marked that he does not have a name.


Dr. Amster: Yes


Drora: What did you do with children like this? Meaning, these are 2 examples that we have. What did you do with such cases, what did you do next when you released them?


Dr. Amster: What was written in that case? A Release letter? Where they sent the children?


Drora: Yes, I am trying. Based on your memory…, in principle, what did you do with children without names?


Dr. Amster: I don’t remember many children without names. But there were a few without names. It is true. But I don’t know what I wrote there in that case, [and] where I sent the child.


Drora: Let’s take an example. A 16 day-old girl was sent without details.


Dr. Amster: Where to?


Drora: With a diagnosis that I assume was Pneumonia here, and you sent a copy.





Dr. Amster: Who was it? Me?


Drora: I will show you.


Dr. Amster: Me? Am I signed?


Drora: Yes, yes, I will show it to you.


Dr. Amster: Help me. So where did I send her?


Drora: First I will ask you questions. You can see the document, please.

Read it. Do you want me to read it for you? A 16 day-old girl, was sent without details. With a diagnosis of having Phermonia. She was admitted to the department with a medium nutritional state, in a general problematic state [of health] and with a normal fever. The end was that she left the department in a generally good state [of health]. Her nutritional state was still low. And there is a copy for the Kupat Holim Doctor in Alkosh. This was the case.


C.H.Mimon: Alkosh is a place in the north. It is a Moshav.


Dr. Amster: Maybe I sent to this doctor, but then, there should have been a letter of the doctor. There, it should have been there.





Drora: Here, there is. There is another case without a name at all. But you write ‘without details’. ‘Without details’, so I assume… what did you mean by ‘without details’?


Dr. Amster: That there weren’t any… the parents probably did not come. And they did not say. Either details - any details. Birth, date of birth, I do not know.


Drora: Now, when you say, left the department, do you have any idea where she left the department to? It is not indicated here.


Dr. Amster: If I sent a letter to the doctor in Alkosh, so probably they sent her to Aklosh.


Drora: Why, to Kupat Holim?


Dr. Amster: You say that there was no [address].


Drora: Yes, but there was no place (address) to send her home. Because there were no details. The question is where did you send (her), back. Sorry, sorry, just a moment. Usually at the end of the diagnostic conclusion of the disease, you would write ‘sent home’, ‘sent to rest home’, ‘sent to custody’ and you mark, and I will show this to you, systematically in all of your summaries.


Dr. Amster: So, there were many like this that were sent without…





Drora: The question if any, is if you remember, as a process, where children like these would be sent.  I will find another case.


Dr. Amster: Probably there was an address. We sent her to Alkosh. I know… there was an address, A moshav.


Drora: Let us take an example, unfortunately, of a child that died.


Dr. Amster: Yes


Drora: And here, even the details of the baby do not exist.


Dr. Amster: Nothing?


Drora: Nothing. No details, you just direct him to…just a minute…


Dr. Amster: Maybe he already died in the emergency room, where he was admitted. There were also cases like this. That did not even get to the department. Sometimes by the time I got to the emergency room the child was already gone.


Drora: Now, let’s ask, in general…


Dr. Amster: Yes





Drora: It’s written here. ‘There is no baby name’, ‘there are no details’, and there is only a diagnostic summary about the disease that you had to do when he died. What did you do in cases of healthy children when you had no details about where to send them to, or children that died?


Dr. Amster: Healthy children who recovered in the department or those who came healthy?


Drora: No, no, those who recovered.


Dr. Amster: [Those who] arrived healthy, we would not receive healthy children, but those who…


Drora: Let’s talk about those who got healthy.


Dr. Amster: Got healthy.


Drora: What did you do with them, and without details for where to send them, what did you do?


Dr. Amster: This, this was not my job where to send them. There was the nurse for that. She would call here and there and would ask in the Moshav, in the Maabara, that such a child got healthy, that they should come to get him. It was not my job. I was not, I did not deal with it. This is how it was.


Drora: By your knowledge, since there were such cases, by your knowledge, were they sent to the WIZO home, to the custody facility? Where were such children sent to?





Dr. Amster: Who were sent to custody facilities, which children?


Drora: Children who had no address, what did you do with them? You had a group of children that nobody came to take.


Dr. Amster: Probably, this I heard, that there were cases that they did not come to get them.


Drora: Correct, and I also have such a list of healthy children that stayed in Rambam and nobody came to take them.


Dr. Amster: So they were taken to a convalescent home. It was a good place, the convalescent home. There were healthy children there.


Drora: I am not talking about good or bad. Only from the point – what did you do with them? Did you send them to a custodial facility or to WIZO, I suppose.


Dr. Amster: I don’t remember, you see, there were cases that were sent to a custodial facility, and there were cases sent to Safed.


Drora: Yes, but you transferred them from the hospital because they held beds.


Dr. Amster: From the hospital with a letter to the custody facility or to Safed, if it was Safed. About Safed I don’t remember at all. I remember that we sent to custody facilities. But it seems that we did it also to Safed.






Drora: Yes, you mentioned a social worker that was in the department then?


Dr. Amster: We did not have a social worker at that time. It was half a year after the state was established. The hospital was not yet organized as was needed, there was a small crew, and there was a lot of work. And a social worker was not in the departments yet.


Drora: And the nurse had to do all the work?


Dr. Amster: The nurse - all the administrative work was in the hands of the nurses.


Drora: There were witnesses here that testified and among them also testimonies of female witnesses.

Meaning, testimony of an ambulance driver that has not yet been in front the committee, that children were sent to the wrong camps, meaning they were brought from Ein Shemer.


Dr. Amster: Ahh, mistakes


Drora: Yes


Dr. Amster: This was very possible. I did not know at all where the children were taken to, this could have happened.





Drora: Meaning, the question is this, you sent them with a summary diagnosis of the disease…


Dr. Amster: Yes


Drora: And I see that the summary diagnosis is actually, sometimes, not directed anywhere. There isn’t - sometimes there is a copy to the baby nurseries and sometimes there isn’t.


Dr. Amster: Then they would give [the child], then maybe someone would come to take it, a nurse, or from a camp, or somebody from the camp then they would give us a copy of the diagnostic summary, in order to give it to the doctor of the camp.


Drora: I understand, the question is whether, in terms of the responsibility of the hospital to return the child, if you were involved?


Dr. Amster: I could not be responsible for Rambam hospital. I was responsible for the department I worked in, and to treat the children. This was my job. But to know exactly and to check where they had gone, and who took them? This I did not do.


Drora: Now, there were many testimonies of parents who claimed that they would not be let in to the children’s department in Rambam. That they would not let them [the parents] see their children.





Dr. Amster: Ahh, this was the system in Department B. Children B. There was a doctor. Dr. Falk, he would not let any parent in, for no one [no child]. [Not] big children, babies, if he saw a mother or a father coming in. The same thing was in Afula, with Professor Nasaw. He also would not let them in. But with us it was more flexible. Whoever wanted to enter, they were let in. When they were not let in (in Dept. B and in Afula) it was on principle that the parents should not go in and bother [the staff]. This was in Department B and that was in Afula.


Drora: Now it is a bit… that you say that there was such a phenomenon, this contradicts your claim that you had no contact with the parents at all.


Dr. Amster: There?


Drora: That you had no contact with the parents at all.


Dr. Amster: No contact at all. I don’t remember.


Drora: So the parents did not come to visit?


Dr. Amster: Maybe during the time I worked, maybe I saw one or two parents, a father or a mother, something like this, but very little.


Drora: But during the visitors’ hours





Dr. Amster: They would sometimes come to take [a child], but I don’t remember. With all the other children I had a contact, and the mother would sit and give every detail.


C.H.Mimon: The others are the non Yemenite children?


Dr. Amster: No, Yes, but the children…


C.H.Mimon: This is what you mean when you said others?


Dr. Amster: I am saying, that children that arrived to Haifa, then they had a father or a mother or somebody, and they gave us details. And here, they would usually come to the department; they would arrive to the emergency room, and would go. And we would take them, and we had no details. I did not know how many days she was sick, how many days she has diarrhea, we knew nothing.


Drora: But you had no contact also during the visitors’ hours? Since parent were allowed to enter and visit the children. You had no contact? Parents did not ask to talk to the doctor?


Dr. Amster: It is possible that somebody came [once] to see the child, or more. It was possible, but I had no connection that I remember, that I talked to the parents, not that I did not want to talk with them, I simply had no communication with the parents.





Drora: The question is if, apart from communication, you saw Yemenite parents who entered [visited] Yemenite children while they were admitted to the hospital?


Dr. Amster: I did not see many parents.


Drora: Also during the visiting hours, did you see such a thing?


Dr. Amster: During the visiting hours?


Drora: During the hours that they let them in, did you see?


Dr. Amster: I don’t remember. Maybe some parents entered. I can’t say. It is a matter of 41, 47 years. I don’t remember exactly.


Drora: Now, what is your opinion about a claim of many parents, who testified here in the committee, that actually under no circumstance were they allowed to enter and see the children, and they did not mention that it was especially in Dr. Falk’s department. But they would not let them in at all.


Dr. Amster: In our [department] any parent who wanted to enter was allowed to do so. And whoever wanted to sit beside the child, like today, now they let all the parents come in. We let the parents in, and we let them sit beside the child. Just not during the doctor’s hours.


Drora: So you deny such a possibility in your department?





Dr. Amster: But it could have happened in the other department. I know that they did not let [them] in.


Drora: Now, there are also parents’ stories, a child that died, and the parent wanted to see his body. Did you use to let them see it?


Dr. Amster: The moment a child died, he would be transferred to the morgue. But if the child was still in the department, then, we would, I think that we did. I do not know.


Drora: Did you experience such a phenomenon?


Dr. Amster: I did not experience….when the parent came to see a child that died in such department. In Afula, where I worked, then I had a few cases.


Drora: Now, there were a number of testimonies about parents who came to Rambam hospital, they told him that the child died, the parents shouted – “show us the child’s body, we want to see”. And by - I am speaking in the voice of those who testified – they were thrown out of the hospital. They were told – there is no child, you cannot see a body, not anything. They were not notified at all. Not before - also they did tell them about it earlier. But when they came asking about him. And when the parents came, they even would not allow them to see the child’s body. They did not take them to a place where they could see the body.





Dr. Amster: I don’t know about this. That they answered like this. I did not hear about this. It is not known to me. Maybe nobody came. If I knew that somebody died, I would say that he is in the morgue, if this…


Drora: You never came across such a parent?


Dr. Amster: No, but I never came across w…where somebody, I don’t know, maybe somebody in Rambam told them this, I don’t know.


Drora: You do not know if there were orders to tell the parents such things or other things after a child died?


Dr. Amster: I did not hear, what kind of orders? What is that? When a child died, then the parents were notified. This is the first thing.


Drora: Yes but I am telling you that systematically witnesses came here and testified that their child died, and consistently and systematically they would not let them see the body of the child, in none of these cases. And many parents came and testified about it.


Dr. Amster: I did not come across this. And I don’t remember such a case where the father or the mother came to me and told me he died and that they did not want to see the body. I did not come across this. Maybe there were such cases. This I do not know.





Drora: Now, did you hear, when you worked in the department maybe you heard, about a case where the parent was told that his son died, and after the parent insisted and stormed into the department he found his son, and took him, in spite of the fact that they said he died. The question is did you hear about it in real time?


 Dr. Amster: I know, we were 2 doctors and there were some 5-6 (nurses) who were in charge. I did not hear about any incident. I do not know, I could not be responsible over a nurse or a student that worked there, a school student that would say so. I do not know.


Drora: No, but did you hear about such a case at that period?


Dr. Amster: I did not hear about cases like this.


Drora: Because such case would have been talked about.


Dr. Amster: That they said that a child died while he was still alive?


Drora: Alive and that he was taken.


Dr. Amster: I did not hear about a case, no case in my department. Maybe, I was not there 24 hours (a day). I went home. Maybe there was such case, but I never heard and did not see a case like this. I cannot imagine that somebody said that a child was dead while he was alive. I did not see [such a thing].





Drora: Yes, but there were many testimonies like this. It is not possible that the parents gathered all together…


Dr. Amster: It is possible, I am not responsible.


Drora: …From different places in the country in order to lie to the committee.


Dr. Amster: So I do not know about it, I did not come across it.


The chairman: We will listen to what she investigates, and if you want, it is possible to question it.


Drora: Yes, now that you mentioned Professor Falk who actually managed the second department?


Dr. Amster: Yes


Drora: He, he had a close connection with the custodial facility, correct? He was the doctor of the facility?


Dr. Amster: He was responsible over the custodial facility. He was the chief doctor there. It means, he would come two or a few times monthly, maybe once a week, as the person who came to see the state of the children, the type of treatment, yes, he was responsible.





Drora: But not because of an interest in him managing a children’s department, but because he worked there and received a salary?


Dr. Amster: This I do not know. Sure, I think that he worked for salary. That he used to come as a chief doctor. There was a home doctor there, a female home doctor who is gone too, and he was responsible over the custodial facility, yes.


Drora: Were you ever in the custody facility?


Dr. Amster: No


Drora: You never went to the custody facility?


Dr. Amster: No, I don’t know, I never saw it, I don’t even know where exactly it was.


Drora:  Yes, these cases that I told you about, that parents came and they would not let them enter, or that they would tell them that the children died, which was not [true], do you know that in Dr. Falk’s department there was such a phenomena?


Dr. Amster: I am not aware of anything.  I did not hear about this. That somebody said that the child died, and [in fact] he would be alive. This I did not hear.





Drora: In connection with this, you agree that Dr. Falk was a very harsh type.


Dr. Amster: He was a difficult person, an excellent doctor, and unusually dedicated to the children, but he did not like that the parents would move around. He was from Germany, and there was an approach that parents were forbidden to enter. Same for Professor Nassau. Professor Nassau also did not allow [them] to enter. I, sometimes, at night when I had a night shift, I would let a mother in to see a child. And if he had caught me, he would have kicked me out of the department.

But Professor Falk did not let anybody in.


Drora: Yes, now, Mrs. Tamar Bernshtater


Dr. Amster: Bermshtater


Drora: Bermshtater, who was a social worker, correct?


Dr. Amster: No she was not. She was a chief nurse in the department.


Drora: She was a chief nurse, sorry, but there was, for some time, a social worker, her name was Nehama? Do you remember such a name? Nehama Katz?


Dr. Amster: I do not remember, In my time, maybe not.





Drora: Because she mentioned that Tamar


Dr. Amster: Yes? Nehama Katz?


Drora: Are you familiar?


Dr. Amster: I don’t remember, maybe there was someone, I don’t remember. Then, social workers did not have the same job that they have now. I do not remember. That I had conversations with a social worker. Tamar Bermshtater I remember well, and Yehudit Pe-er, after that there was nurse Bruria. Responsible in our place.


K.H. Mimon: (Can) she clarify about the process of admitting the babies and their transfer?


Dr. Amster: Sorry?


K.H. Mimon: Was she involved in administration?


Dr. Amster: This was all administration, she was a nurse. We would tell the nurse, ‘the child is now healthy, we release him, look for the parents’


K.H. Mimon: Can you say more about Tamar?





Dr. Amster: Tamar Bermshtater, she was probably a chief nurse, this was her position.


Drora: This means, actually, all that you said, was that most of the jobs of admitting the children, sending the children, all was under the responsibility of the chief nurse, in fact.


Dr. Amster: So…, also now, when a child is released.


Drora: We simply wanted to know where to ask the questions. Is it possible to get answers for all the questions that we are asking from Tamar?


Dr. Amster: Maybe, maybe.


Drora: Also to the transfer of children to the morgue and everything?


Dr. Amster: This was the nurse, it was not our job. Yes, it was the nurse who would either give them to the parents who came, or would send them. She arranged the transport for Sunday, to wherever they sent them. Or, a child who died [they would send] to the morgue. This was not our job; this was the nurse’s job.


Drora: I have no more questions for you. Does the committee have?


The Chairman: Dr. Avlof, I want to ask you some questions…





Dr. Amster: Please.


The Chairman: …That relate to the release of children from hospital, or how they would be returned to their parents. I am simply taking an example from general knowledge of what happens these days. Let’s say that my son brings a child to a hospital, to a children’s department. Usually this is done with a referral from Kupat Holim or some doctor.


Dr. Amster: Correct.


The Chairman: And the child is in the department and he recovers


Dr. Amster: Yes


The Chairman: Is there, I do not know if this is done now, I heard for the first time from the testimonies that they sent [children] to convalescent homes. I don’t think that today anybody in any department of a hospital, when a child recovers, some way, that they decide to send him to a convalescent home, not asking the parents, nothing, not asking.

Do you understand what I mean? Now my question is:

A child recovers in your department, then you notify the administration, I’m not going into the question of to whom, you notify that ‘the child is healthy’. And then from the administration they tell you ‘but he needs extra rest?’ or how was it?





Dr. Amster: How was it then?


The Chairman: Then, then.


Dr. Amster: Then, when I would tell the chief  nurse “this child is healthy, we have nothing to do [for him]” then she, if she would have an address, today there is no problem, you would pick up the phone and you would say “come in to get the child”. Then, it was another story. The child came from a Maabara, among thousands of children, so many children. And they [nurses] probably didn’t know, could not find the parents. Did not know where to send [the child], so they would send him, in order to protect him from staying in a department with sick children, so they would send him to a good place. To a custodial facility, there they had an excellent treatment.


The Chairman: But we will mention another good place, to Safed.


Dr. Amster: This I do not know. I was neither in Safed nor in the custodial facilities, but I heard…


The chairman: But you are signed on copies.


Dr. Amster: That I sent?


The chairman: Yes





K.H. Mimon: Yes


Dr. Amster: These were orders from above. Or the manager of the department said, send them to Safed.


The chairman: Yes


Dr. Amster: Or they told me


The chairman: Now I am asking you, I am asking you, were there children that were sent, under the order of the hospital, because they really needed a rest? And if not, if not, so explain to us what was the intention of sending [a child] to WIZO in Safed, for how long? So he could grow up there, to get to the age of 18? Or what was the intention?


Dr. Amster: This I don’t know. I know that we had to release the child from the hospital, he recovered, so there was probably no address where to send him to since he came from the Maabara [the camp], thousands were there, and we would not be able to find the parents, so we sent them to the convalescent center in Safed, maybe.


The chairman: Did you ever, did you ever find, for a child who recovered, that you gave recommendations, to whoever was deciding, that it would be better to send the child for convalescence for his well-being?





Dr. Amster: No, never. I never gave an order [to send] for convalescence. I only said that the child, from a medical point of view, should not stay in the hospital anymore.


The chairman: Yes, so now…


Dr. Amster: This was probably the nurse, who also knew. Where to send… I didn’t look for the parents.


The chairman: Yes, can one understand that this is your belief, or what you really think, that children were sent to Safed or to a custodial facility, because they did not know to whom to return the child?


Dr. Amster: Yes, this is what I believe.


The chairman: Yes?


Dr. Amster: Also the parents. If they had wanted to take the child they would have had to come. Or, would have had to come to the department and ask if the child had recovered, [saying] “give us the child”, and we would have. If they came, then we would give [the child] to the parents. If they did not come, then there was nothing to do.





The chairman: Can one assume that those children that got healthy, and that were not sent to WIZO or to a custodial facility, that they were returned to those who had sent them to the hospital?


Dr. Amster: I think so, I don’t know exactly. This I can not know. I did not follow up regarding where they would go. I just, if they told me, they would say ‘we are sending him to a custodial facility’, then I wrote in the letter ‘ the child was sent to custody’. Or to Safed.


The chairman: Now tell me if you know, about the custodial facilities, is it true that there was something that was defined as a reception center? Meaning a place where they sent children who had no address, and that the custodian would divide them for the purpose of adoption or something like that?


Dr. Amster: I don’t know anything about what happened in the custodial facilities. I was never in my life in a custodial facility


The chairman: But I ask you…


Dr. Amster: I don’t know.


The chairman: Good, good, ok. I…


Dr. Amster: I don’t know what happened in a custodial facilities…





The chairman: Dr Avlof, we have no complaints about any of the answers that you do not know. Ok, but I want to ask you…


Dr. Amster: Yes


The chairman: Why, when you talked about the adoption by [name redacted] of a girl, you added, on your own “but this was all legal”?



Dr. Amster: Because he told me that he had waited 8 years in order to get a child for adoption. And he also came from Jerusalem. First he was in Hadassah in Jerusalem, he came to us from Jerusalem, and he didn’t get a child, and he was so happy, that he got a child. So he told me that this…I did not see.


The chairman: He got then the boy or the girl


Dr. Amster: A girl


The chairman: From the custodial facility, you said? Correct?


Dr. Amster: You can see the girl in Haifa, she lives in Haifa, I just don’t remember the…


The chairman: But he got her in the custodial facility?





Dr. Amster: This was what he told me. “I was in the custodial facility, I took a girl’ but I, ahh, she lives in Haifa, the girl. The parents already died.


The chairman: According to your processes in Rambam, when you sent, when children recovered, you sent them to a custodial facility or to WIZO, you think or you are almost sure, logic implies that they simply did not know where to return them to.


Dr. Amster: Correct, this is the reason. If there was a home, if someone had a home then one would send them somewhere else?


The chairman: This means that the custodial facility for example…that he looked for a boy or a girl for adoption for about 7-8 years


Dr. Amster: Yes


The chairman: This means that in the custodial facility, after 7-8 years, they already could have given the child, because they did not know to whom to return him.


Dr. Amster: Maybe, I don’t know. He told me that he took the child from custody.


The chairman: Now, I want to ask you, if you know, if you don’t know, so then say so. First of all, by the way, about the girl that [redacted name] adopted, do you know her first name?




Dr. Amster: I do not know, I never saw the girl. But when she was 40 or 40-something, somebody pointed to her on the street. “Do you see, this is [redacted name]’s daughter. I saw her on the street. She has 2 children.


The chairman: And you do not know where she lives?


Dr. Amster: And she is divorced, this I heard, but…


The chairman: But you don’t know her name today?


Dr. Amster: I don’t remember, I don’t know her name, nor her family name.


The chairman: And also not where she lives.


Dr. Amster: She used to live in [redacted name] in Haifa. Where [redacted name] lived with his wife. He died, after that his wife also died, so probably she stayed to live in [redacted name] in Haifa.


The chairman: Ahh


Dr. Amster: In the Carmel





The chairman: Ok, thank you very much.


Dr. Amster: But where she is now? Maybe she even left the country, I do not know.


The chairman: Yes, yes, now I wanted to ask you. When you signed on release papers where it was written that the child recovered and was released to Wizo Safed, for example. You got these details, WIZO Safed, from the administration?


Dr. Amster: Correct.


The chairman: and this is why you would write on the release papers ‘released to WIZO Safed’ or ‘sent to custody’


Dr. Amster: Yes


The chairman: This is true?


Dr. Amster: This is true


The chairman: It means that the name WIZO Safed or the custody facility, you did not decide, it was them that decided? The administration? They told you before you finished signing, they told you to write that he should be sent to WIZO Safed.





Dr. Amster: The child recovered, I would tell Tamar or whatever was her name, Yehudit. ‘This child has to leave the hospital. So he recovered. So then she received, I do not know, maybe it was the chief nurse in Rambam, maybe the manager of Rambam, who said to send [the child], and also people from the health ministry. There was an order to send the child to convalescent facilities if there were no parents. If they did not come to get [the child] or if they did not know who the parents were and where to find them. So they sent [them]. If the parents would come later and would ask ‘where is the child’, so we would tell them that the child was sent to the custodial facility or to this...


K.H.Maimon complains: So why actually did they call it a convalescent home?


Dr. Amster: This was a convalescent home for babies, and usually healthy children were admitted there.

They would not admit sick children there. In it were children of divorced parents, or single mothers, so they were in custody. It was a good home in Haifa. A Home for healthy children. When a child got sick, so the custodial facility would send him to us or to Rothchild, [which is] another hospital,


The chairman: Can I ask you, if you remember that a child was returned from WIZO Safed or from custody, to Rambam?


Dr. Amster: I, maybe, maybe, this I don’t remember





The chairman: Not possible, do you remember?


Dr. Amster: I don’t remember. I don’t remember, it was possible that if a child got sick, they would send him back. It was possible but I don’t remember a case of such a child


The chairman: Is it possible that the custodial facility would have liked to keep him for more?


Dr. Amster: I don’t know. I was not in a custody facility. I didn’t work there. There was another female doctor that worked there who is not with us, Dr. Berti. She also worked there, but…


The chairman: I want to ask you more. There was a testimony that in Rambam, because of the disruption in the names, and many other reasons, when the children recovered, and lets assume that they did not want to receive them in WIZO anymore or in the custodial facility, that children were accumulated in the hospital. Do you remember such a thing?

I will tell you something else, what else people testified about. They testified that the hospital felt so much pressure because of all of those children, that it approached the Kibutzim around, asking them to receive the children to take care of them, to raise them.


Dr. Amster: I never heard about such a case in my children’s department A. That we held a healthy child in the department, or it never happened. We sometimes held [a child] for 2-3 days. If a mother called and said, ‘I cannot, I don’t feel well, I will come in 2 days.’ But no more…





Dr. Amster continues: …But, that we would send children to the Kibutzim, this was not known to me. What happened in the other department I don’t know. In mine it didn’t happen.


The chairman: Do you know if in Rambam hospital there was a special place, not necessarily in the department, that, when a child suddenly arrived and they would not know what to do with it, because they did not know who brought him and so forth, then they would keep him in such a place, until a large number of children were accumulated, and they would look for a solution. What to do with them?


Dr. Amster: Rambam hospital was a small hospital then, and everybody would know everything.

Usually. Because it was not like Rambam of today. And we were few. And I never heard about such a case, that there was a room or something like this where children were being collected and being held in. I never heard of such a thing.


The chairman: I am asking you another thing. When you signed on the release papers, did you ever sign on a release paper where the child was sent to such and such Kibbutz, or to Kibutz Ein-Hamifratz or so?


Dr. Amster: There were children that came from a Kibbutz, so…


The chaiman: No, no, not that arrived from the Kibbutz. If the child came from a Kibbutz then no…





Dr. Amster: I don’t remember. Maybe, I can’t say, because it was 47 years ago. Maybe someone said that – ‘we, are now in a Kibbutz, living in the Kibbutz’.  So, we would send the child to the Kibbutz. This was possible. But I don’t remember. I don’t remember that we would send like this. There was a process to send to this or that Kibbutz.


The chairman: You never heard about it


Dr. Amster: I didn’t hear about it.


The chairman: No, but, another question.


Dr. Amster: Please


The chairman: One question


Dr. Amster: Yes


The chairman: Did you ever hear that, I am not asking about WIZO Safed because you do not remember at all


Dr. Amster: I do not know.


The chairman: But I am asking about the custodial facility.





Dr. Amster: yes


The chairman: Especially about [redacted name] who told you that he received the child for adoption in the custody facility. Did you ever hear what kind of authority the custodial facility had to give children that they held for adoption? Did you understand my question?


Dr. Amster: I understood the question. But it does not have to do with me. I am sure that [redacted name] was such a decent man and, as such, everything he did [would be] through the court. That he would not have taken a child without a signature and a 100 percent ok. So nobody would come later to demand the child back. I am sure, I don’t know. He said that ‘I got a child for adoption’.


The chairman: Ok, but you know that people who want children for adoption, when given then they take.


Dr. Amster: Ok, but I did not know, I didn’t hear anything and I didn’t ask him ‘how did you get [the child]?  What did you do?’ and such. I had no… this, this was his issue, I didn’t ask.


C. H. Mimon: A few small questions. When you talk about children…


Dr. Amster: Sorry?





K.H Mimon:  …when you talk about the children, up to what age? Were they sending to custody healthy children of a certain age? Or of all ages?


Dr. Amster: No, no. as much as I remember, big children 5-6 were not sent. They would send only babies. At about a year, a year and a half old, something like this.


K.H Mimon: And what did they do with the older ones?


Dr. Amster: This I don’t know


K.H Mimon: But you had?


Dr. Amster: I don’t know. I would say ‘the child is released’ and later the nurses would take care of where to send it.


K.H Mimon: That is to say, that I understand that small children were sent to a custodial facility and to Safed


Dr. Amster: This was called the home.... That custodial facility was called a care home for babies.


K.H Mimon: [To] Custody and Safed – small children were sent, not grown up children.


Dr. Amster: I think that only small ones





K.H Mimon: Now, tell me please, apart from the adopted girl of [redacted name], do you know of other adopted children?


Dr. Amster: Apart from one girl, of [redacted name], a girl that is. But I… Not in our department


K.H Mimon: Yes


Dr. Amster: She adopted the girl. The girl now is 47-48 years old. I know… they all know about this case.


K.H Mimon: Apart of these cases of [redacted name]


Dr. Amster: Apart from the dentist [redacted name]


K.H Mimon: You did not hear about this? You don’t know?


Dr. Amster: Nothing about it. Everybody knows the case. She herself appeared on television a few times.


K.H Mimon: Yes, we know. Now, were there visits of foreigners, from abroad? Meaning specialists or non specialists?





Dr. Amster: I never saw anybody, so even contributions were not given from abroad, I do not recall. When I worked in Kupat Holim, then they would come from abroad to see if the plaque was on. But here, there…


 K.H Mimon: You did not see?


Dr. Amster: I did not see


K.H Mimon: Good.


The chairman: Good Dr. Avlof, we thank you very much that you came, thank you.


Dr. Amster: Thank you.



 [end of testimony]