History

Hebron Mourns Loss of 1929 Massacre Survivor Miriam Sasson

92-year-old Miriam Sasson was a supporter of repatriation to the hometown she was forced to leave as a child.

14.4.16, 19:24
(Photo: Miriam Sasson. Credit: Castel Heritage International Center)
 
Miriam Sasson was only 5 years old when she was forced to leave her native city. Born Miriam Castel, part of an illustrious Sephardic family that included Rabbi Joseph Castel and the painter Moshe Castel, Miriam lived through the violence that took 67 lives.
 
Neighbors turned on neighbors when the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini -- a supporter of Adolf Hitler -- incited against the defenseless Jewish community with false accusations.
 

(Photo: Amin al Husseini and Adolf Hitler, Nov, 28, 1941. Credit:  Heinrich Hoffmann / Wiki Commons)
 
Although Arabs who were formerly on relatively good terms committed unprovoked atrocities, it was an Arab neighbor who saved Miriam's family. An Arab man hid her in his butcher shop during the rioting on that dark Shabbat day, August 24, 1929. Other stories attest to Arab families protecting Jewish families. However another member of the Castel family, 60-year-old Rabbi Shlomo Castel, was burned to death by the mob. 
 
The British authorities, who ruled Israel from 1917 to 1948, subsequently evicted the surviving Jewish community. 
 
Family members stated that Miriam left them photographs from her childhood showing Jewish residents praying at the Tomb of Jesse and Ruth, thus refuting the claim that the site was previously not Jewish in origin. 
 
 
92-year-old Miriam Sasson was buried in Jerusalem's Mount of Olives cemetery on Thursday, April 14, 2016. Her son Eli Sasson stated, "mother was connected to Hebron all her life. She died at a ripe old and lived to see grandchildren."
 
Another son, Shlomo Sasson said, "mother was the strongest link in the chain. If we were to ask her, she would have wanted to die in Hebron and be buried there. Every time Mom came to Hebron, her heart skipped a beat."
 

(Photo: Shlomo Sasson talks about his mother in a video for Israel National News.)
 
The spokesperson for the Jewish Community of Hebron Noam Arnon said, "Miriam was perhaps the last survivor of the riots and was a supporter of the Jews who returned to Hebron after 1967. I used to visit her often and she always talked about Hebron and wanted to go back to live there. "
 
Her family was part of the group that joined Hebron's Sephardic Chief Rabbi Haim Bajayo in returning to the city and living there from 1931 to 1935 before the British again deported the Jewish residents amid countrywide rioting in 1936.
 
In 2012 Miriam met with Education Minister Gideon Saar in Hebron who was promoting his program to have every high school student visit the city. 
 
Today, the cemetery that houses the memorial to the massacre victims has been refurbished and a memorial is held every year. The event is referred to as TARPAT, an acronym for the Hebrew date.
 
SOURCE NOTES:
 

To visit the 1929 TARPAT memorial and other sites in Hebron:
 
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
 
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The 1929 Hebron massacre pictures by Gershon Gera | 115 Images