The Selvino children were a group of approximately 800 Jewish children orphaned by the Holocaust. rescued after World War II from ghettos and concentration camps and housed in a former Fascist children's home called Sciesopoli in the Alpine town of Selvino, Italy, constructed in the 1930s as a "sports palace," or gymnasium and training center for athletes. There the children were allowed to recover physically, mentally, and spiritually from their ordeal, while being instructed both in the general education they had missed during their imprisonment as well as in their heritage of Judaism and Judaic culture, in preparation for their later relocation to Israel as part of the Bricha. The house was run by members of a Palestinian Jewish unit of the British Army stationed in Northern Italy under Moshe Zeiri, along with the generous help of many Italian citizens. From early 1947 to May 1948, when Israel became a state, Amalia (Mania) Schoeps was director of Sciesopoli.
The home was organized by a Jewish Socialist organization called Gordonia with the motto Beit Aliya Hanoar. Aliya means house of the going up, i.e. moving to the Land of Israel. It was a Hakshara, which was a kibbutz outside of (then) Palestine for the training of "chaluzim," or young pioneers, to move to the holy land.
A plaque on the side of the house reads:
Between the years 1945-1948, nearly 800 children and youths - holocaust orphans - were gathered in this house. They were survivors of the ghettos and concentration camps. Here the joys of youth and the belief in mankind, that was snatched from them, were restored to them. They learned their people's ancient tongue - the language of the Bible, and were prepared for life in their homeland - Israel. Here they learned to recognise and cherish the goodness of the Italian people.
- The Story of Selvino's Children: Journey to the Promised Land; Megged, Aharon and Eden, Vivian (translator); Published By Vallentine-Mitchell & Co Ltd.; ISBN 0-85303-397-8,