Culture

BOOK REVIEW: Hebron: Rebirth from Ruins

A collection of articles detailing the 1929 Hebron massacre and its dramatic return to life.

2.4.17, 14:14
(PHOTO: Dr. Michal Rachel Suissa. Credit: Center for Combating Anti-Semitism.)
 
Hebron: Rebirth from Ruins: 80 years after the 1929 massacre, Hebron lives!
Edited by Dr. Michal Rachel Suissa
 
The book Hebron: Rebirth from Ruins was released in 2009 and coincided with the 80th anniversary of the Hebron massacre that claimed 69 lives. 
 
The book is a collection of articles edited by Dr. Michal Rachel Suissa, an associate professor in medicinal chemistry at University College in Oslo. Born in Morocco and raised in Israel, Dr. Suissa holds a PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and serves as CEO of the Norwegian-based Center for Combating Anti-Semitism.
 
The book features historical articles by Israel's first prime minister David Ben-Gurion, and the non-Jewish Zionist advocate Pierre Van Paasen, who was a personal witness to the 1929 massacre. It also features contemporary articles from Kiryat Arba Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, attorney Eliakim Haetzni, and others.
 
The full text of the book can be downloaded here: 
 
 
The following is Dr. Suissa's introduction to the book:
 
No Jewish State Without Hebron
 
On the 8th of August this year we marked the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the “Tarpat Pogroms,” committed by the Arabs of Eretz Yisrael against their Jewish neighbors. The pogroms struck Jewish communities in twelve cities throughout Israel, including Jerusalem, Safed and Hebron – where the Jewish community suffered most severely, scores being killed and the remainder exiled. The year was 1929, or 5689 according to the Jewish calendar (“Tarpat” in a standard Hebrew acronym), and the day was the Jewish holy day, the Sabbath, the 18th of Av.
 
This year is only the second time that the Jewish State of Israel declared the day of the Tarpat massacre as an offcial Memorial Day. The memorial ceremony is scheduled to be held in Hebron on September 7th 2009, 18 Elul 5769.
On the 18th of Av eighty years ago, an Eastern European-style pogrom was carried out by the Arabs of Hebron, who for generations had lived in relative peace with the Jews. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the Arabs fell upon their Jewish neighbors, pillaging, raping and murdering. Only a few Hebron Arabs heroically protected the Jews. During this pogrom, Jews whose ancestors had lived in Hebron for generations, as well as newly arrived fugitives from the pogroms of Eastern Europe, were murdered.
 
The architect of the Arab pogroms in British Mandatory Palestine between 1922 and 1936 was the so-called Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. He later became an admirer and ally of Hitler, met with him during World War II, and provided the Nazis with considerable Muslim political support and material assistance in the destruction of European Jews during the Holocaust. To that end, he promoted the creation of Muslim SS units in Bosnia, financed and equipped by the German Nazi government and employed to exterminate Balkan Jewry.
 
(PHOTO: Amin al Husseini and Adolf Hitler, November 28, 1941. Credit: German Federal Archives / Wiki Commons.)
 
Al-Husseini’s attempt to eliminate the Jewish community of Eretz Yisrael predated Hitler’s Holocaust in Europe. From the 1920s on, Husseini created a clandestine network of Arab terrorist groups throughout Mandatory Palestine and incited them to commit terrorist attacks and pogroms.
 
The massacre in Hebron represents his most gruesome and effective achievement. British authorities, who had appointed the Mufti to his position, did little to prevent his terrorist activities, acting only when they, too, became his targets. In 1929, the British took extraordinary measures to cover up the Hebron massacre. It was Israel’s first Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, of blessed memory, who made the pogroms known to the world.
In August 1929, Hebron, the most ancient of Jewish cities, became thoroughly “cleansed” of Jews, ending 3,800 years of continuous Jewish presence in the city. In this Hebron appeared to share the fate of the great majority of Jewish communities on the Eurasian continent, some of them quite ancient. The Holocaust burnt away the thriving Jewish civilization of Christian Europe and it has never been restored. Little but ashes remain.
This, however, was not Hebron’s fate.
 
Though subject to its own miniature Holocaust in Tarpat, the Jewish community in Hebron was restored following the liberation of the city in the 1967 war. Though Jewish civilization was burnt out of Europe it was restored, not in Europe but in the land of Israel, which G-d promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants forever. Hebron was the place where that promise was first realized. When, in G-d’s good time, the time came for the Jewish community in Hebron to be restored, it came to life not in some distant place but in its own native home, where it had dwelt till 1929.
The fate of the great Yeshiva (Talmudic academy) of Slobodka, whose history is recorded in these pages, is symbolic.
 
One of the leading centers of Jewish culture in Eastern Europe, Slobodka divided in 1924. Half the Yeshiva remained in its traditional home on the outskirts of Vilna, Lithuania, and half of its leading scholars and students came in that year to Hebron.
 
Both halves of the distinguished Yeshiva underwent destruction, in Hebron in 1929 and in Lithuania in 1944. The Lithuanian Yeshiva remains in ashes; but in Israel today Slobodka survives and prospers. The present political struggle in Israel is very much about forcing Jews to relinquish their roots and identity. It is therefore important now more than ever for Jews, supported by their true Christian allies and everyone else who has high regard for truth and justice, to reach out to Hebron and do everything in our power to ensure that it remains forever in Jewish hands under the guardianship of a sovereign Jewish State. Only thus will people of all nations and creeds be guaranteed free access to the ancient City of the Matriarchs and Patriarchs. We must never forget that Ma’arat HaMachpela, was off-limits to Jews and Christians for 700 years, until the Jews returned to and liberated Hebron, 42 years ago.
 
It is our duty to bear witness to the truth. History has shown us time and time again that it is usually the few, daring to turn against the tide, with the light of truth as their guide, who are proven right in the end. Let us hope these pages may
help the truth to be heard in Israel and throughout the world.
 
This commemorative volume is sacred to the memory of the victims of the Tarpat Massacre of 1929 in Hebron. The first part of this book gives an account of Hebron as the oldest Jewish city in history. Hebron was the city of the Jews’ forefather Abraham, and the right of Jews to dwell in their father Abraham’s city was established at that time. It is especially necessary to remember this today, as we live in time where not only external enemies of the Jews, but also many leftist, backslidden Jews strive to make Hebron Judenrein again. The Bible describes the Land of Israel as the Jewish people’s “inheritance,” and the foundation of this inheritance was laid in Hebron. The price Jews may have to pay for giving up  their oldest heritage, Hebron, may be the surrender of their entire heritage in the Land of Israel.
 
The second part of this volume presents updated documentation of the 1929 pogrom. We hope that we succeeded in showing proper respect for the holy Jewish martyrs who were massacred by their Arab neighbors – in many cases by Arab neighbors and employees who they’d known and trusted for years. We strove to find a picture of each martyr whose remains were identified after the massacre but some of them are still missing. We hope and ask that people who might have as yet unknown pictures and documentation of the pogroms in Eretz Yisrael to donate them to the Hebron
Jewish Community’s archives. The memory of the pogrom martyrs should forever be with us, and remembering them will contribute to a better future for today’s Jewish residents of Hebron and for Jews the world over.
 
The third part of this publication chronicles the renewal of the Jewish community in Hebron after the city’s liberation in 1967, with some vivid personal testimonies of Jewish immigrants and their children, telling about their life in Hebron. The fourth part opens a window to the dark & evil forces that strive side by side with the Arab enemy to make Hebron once again Judenrein. Acting behind a humanitarian mask, extremist left wing Jews misuse the concepts of peace and morality in an attempt to oppress and ethnically cleanse their own brothers and sisters from their Land. Israel’s extreme left wing doesn’t see Israel as its historical, biblical land, and they reject Jewish tradition and spirit.
 
Their actions might not only, G-d forbid, destroy Jewish communities in Hebron and the rest of Judea and Samaria, but they may contribute to the destruction of the entire State of Israel – with Gush Katif and today’s Gaza as a model. It is very difficult to defend ourselves against such destructive forces from within, whom European countries finance and support.
 
But there are some organizations today that fight for Jewish rights, with little means but with huge faith. Two of them are located in Hebron. One is the “Honenu Legal Defense Organization” and the other, presented in this book, is the "Organization for Human Rights in Yesha" (Judea, Samaria and Gaza).
 
The renewal and continued survival of the Jewish Community in Hebron represents miracle of tremendous importance to the Jewish nation – a nation that has gone through many trials, but never given up. As Israel’s Prime Minister, the late David Ben Gurion, correctly put it; “Those of us who do not believe in miracles are not optimists.”
 
The last words of this commemorative volume come from Hebron, the City of Peace and Love evocating the hope that always arises in each Jewish heart. The Jews are the only nation on Earth that has managed to come home after spending thousands of years in exile – four times! Many Jews paid the ultimate price for preserving their Jewish identity, one of the critical factors in the reestablishment of Israel. The martyrs of Tarpat are among them. A massive renewal of Jewish life in Hebron would be the best way to commemorate their martyrdom.
 
The publication of this book has been, for me, a painful personal journey through a mountain of documents soaked, as it were, in the blood of innocent Jews and the tears of those who survived. I would like to thank everyone on the CAA staff in Norway and the Jewish Community of Hebron who through their outstanding efforts helped bring this volume to the press. Special thanks to Eric Jacobson for the translation work and to Per Antonsen, Erez Uriely, Noam Arnon, Dr. Yitzhak Klein and David Wilder for their skillful editorial assistance.
 
May G-d bless the memory of the victims of the Tarpat pogrom. May G-d also bless and keep His hand of mercy and love upon those heroic Jews who today struggle to secure Jewish life in the Jews’ eternal and holy city of Hebron. With their presence and daily prayers, these pioneers guard our Matriarchs’ and Patriarchs’ graves – roots which are crucial for the future of the Jewish nation. Children don’t forget their parents.
 
Let us hope that the children of Abraham will one day be able to live in Hebron in peace, side by side, in serenity and harmony, and that all the claims for a ‘Judenrein’ Hebron, will forever be rejected by all
 
Dr. Michal Rachel Suissa, Oslo-Hebron,
Elul 5769; August 2009
 
REFERENCES:
 
 
VISIT HEBRON TODAY!

United States contact info:

http://www.hebronfund.org
1760 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230
718-677-6886
info@hebronfund.org

In Israel contact the offices of the Jewish Community of Hebron at:
http://en.hebron.org.il/
02-996-5333
office@hebron.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hebronofficial
 
RECOMMENDED ARTICLES:
 
Hebron Jews - A Comprehensive History of the Community
Sefer Hebron - The Definitive Work on the City of the Forefathers
1929 Hebron Massacre
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