In Memoriam: Full List of the Victims the 1929 Hebron Massacre

NEWLY EXPANDED: Full list with biographical details of all victims of the 1929 Hebron massacre.

21.8.16, 19:36
Note: These biographies have been expanded and updated as of 2021 to reflect new translations from the original Hebrew. The original biographies were from Hebron: Rebirth From Ruins edited by Michal Rachel Suissa. The new translations are from TARPAT - Hebron Massacre edited by Rehavam Zeevi and garnered from eyewitness testimonies, newspaper articles and other sources including Book of Remembrance of the Martyrs of the Hebron Yeshiva (Sefer zikaron li-kedoshe Yeshivat Hevron “Keneset Yiśraʼel”) and The Martyrs of Hebron by Leo Gottesman.
Abu-Hannah, Yitzhak; 70: Born in Morocco in 1859, Rabbi Abu-Hannah came to the Land of Israel in 1900. He was a soft-spoken man of little means who spent the better part of his life in the synagogue in Hebron, often fasting. There he studied and taught from early in the morning until late at night. His sons, who lived in Jerusalem and abroad, supported him. He was alone in his home when the murderers came. They hanged the 70-year old and abused him until he died.
Abushadid, Eliyahu; 55: Born in Hebron in 1874, the son of Rabbi Haim Abushadid, he studied at a Talmud Torah school until his bar mitzvah. For the next five years he studied Torah with the famous Rabbi Eliyahu Mani, chief rabbi of Hebron. He then began working to help support his parents. He married and worked during the day and studied Torah at night in the synagogue. He was respected as a faithful, honest and God-fearing man. On the morning of the riots, a British officer came to his house and ordered him not to leave. The warning was obeyed, but the rioters broke into the house through three doors: the front, the back and the roof. The people of the house begged the rioters to take pity on their lives and to take their property instead. The rioters attacked the residents with various tools and weapons. Eliyahu defended himself and fought with the murderers and even cut off the fingers of one of them. His wife Venesya begged an Arab policeman outside their home for help but he answered that if he were to go inside, it would be only to kill. Before being murdered, Eliyahu called out to his sons and told them that if they survived they should avenge the blood that was shed. Eliyahu was strangled. Along with him, his son Yitzhak was murdered as well as Yaakov Gozlan and his son Moshe. The rest of the wounded occupants of the house survived due to his bravery. 

A fraction of the hundreds of rioters were identified and identified and arrested. Of these, most had their sentences reduced or were acquitted by the British courts. Three were tried and executed, including Mohammed Jamjum (alternative spelling: Muhammad Jamjoum) a driver from Hebron who was convicted of the murders at the Abushadid home. He confessed to having killed five Jews in Hebron. The Arab Executive called for a general strike in response and the anniversary of their execution was marked as a day of mourning for the "heroic martyrs" of the "al-Buraq uprising" for years to come. 
Abushadid, Yitzhak; 22: Born in Hebron in 1907, he studied at the Mizrahi school until the age of 13. He went on to study to be a silversmith and goldsmith at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. After two years he was hired by Bezalel. He later worked as a tailor with his brother. He married in 1928. The rioters attacked the Abushdid home at 8:00am. They were unable to break through the doors. An Arab neighbor opened a door on the roof and from there the rioters entered. The residents of the house defended themselves and fled outside, to the government health ministry, which was nearby, hoping to find shelter. However, on the street they met a huge mob and retreated back to the house. They called for the police at a nearby police station, and then turned to people in the street for help, but no one assisted them. The rioters, who had meanwhile filled the house, attacked Yitzhak and killed him with knives. His father Eliyahu Abushadid was murdered as well. 
Ben Gershon (Volensky), Yisrael Shlomo Zalman; 27: He was born in Kozova, Poland in 1902. World War I interrupted his studies and he was forced to go to a nearby forest to gather wood and collect mushrooms to survive. In the evenings when he returned home he diligently studied. He was an especially gifted youth who completed his studies in half the required time. He studied Torah, German, Russian and mathematics.
Zalman, as he was known, worked in the lumber business and excelled at his job. He divided his day between work and Torah study. After the war he studied at the Mir Yeshiva in what is today Belarus for three years. When he returned home he joined the Hechalutz movement which trained youth to immigrate to the Land of Israel.
Zalman was appointed director of the Land of Israel department of the Tzeirei Yisrael group. He was known for his poem "David and Michal" and his drama "Yitzhak’s Victim." In 1922 he immigrated to the Land of Israel with his family.
A year later he married the daughter of Rabbi Zerach Epstein, head of the Torat Chaim yeshiva in Jerusalem where he studied. He was invited to be the chief secretary of the Slobodka - Knesset Yisrael yeshiva in Hebron. Zalman devoted himself to the development of the yeshiva and cared for the welfare of the students and their needs. Zalman was active in public life in Hebron and helped strengthen and enlarge the city. He arranged entry permits for new immigrants.
On the morning of the riots, he and Eliezer Dan Slonim went early to the British police chief in an attempt to quell the growing tension. Zalman brought his wife to the house of Eliezer Dan. They thought because of his prominence with both Arab and Jewish residents, they would find refuge there from the rioters. But the masses broke into the house and stabbed him to death in front of his wife.
Berman, William Ze'ev (Wolf); 23: Born in the United States in 1906, the son of a simple clothing salesman. Billy, as he was known in his youth, attended Mishkan Yisroel in Philadelphia and excelled in baseball, basketball, and swimming. He attended a high school associated with the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) where his public speaking skills made him a folk hero after he led the debate team in a close victory over a rival school. He later enrolled in the RIETS yeshiva where he earned rabbinic ordination. He was offered a position at a synagogue in Teaneck, New Jersey, but turned it down to move to Hebron.
Bernard Revel, president of RIETS, and later first president of Yeshiva University remembered Berman as such: “A proud American and an understanding son of his people, with a deep knowledge of the Torah, a charming personality, and an eloquent speaker. In his short life he made many sacrifices for the Torah, and it was given to him to make the supreme sacrifice al Kiddush Hashem."
In Hebron, he earned the esteem of his colleagues. Heads of the yeshiva considered him a role model commenting, “we need more students like him from America.”
Leo Gottesman, author of the 1930 book The Martyrs of Hebron called him "a jolly fellow… a natural leader in all the student activities… He had no difficulty in obtaining a rabbinic position—what with his thorough training, his fine wit, and talented oratory. Thus well situated and launched upon a fine career, he might have been contented. Yet when I met him one day, he announced to me that he was going to Eretz Yisrael to study in the yeshiva at Hebron. Why was he giving up his splendid position? He explained to me that he desired to perfect himself. He was not content with that learning he had already acquired. He wished to devote a few years, while he was still young, to learning Torah for the sake of learning… Very soon after his arrival in Hebron he had won the friendship and esteem of all his associates. He was liked and admired because of his character. He was so well liked that he won the friendship in Hebron of the European young men. This was no easy thing for an American. The student from Europe and the student from America were unequal elements; they were as wide apart in most things as might be people from different planets. Yet William Berman overcame this terrific distance, so hard for other to span, and associated with the European students as one of them, as a pal. When William had settled himself comfortably in Hebron and found that he liked it vastly, he wrote to his parents in Philadelphia. The result was that his younger brother was sent to Hebron to join him. And while William fell a victim to the unloosed passions of the mob on the stormy Sabbath of the 24th August, his parents may console themselves that the younger brother escaped when the murderers took him for dead."
Berman was murdered in the home of Eliezer Dan Slonim along with many others who has sought refuge there.
Bernstein, Shmuel Isaac; 26: Born in Minsk in 1903, at the age of 11, he was enrolled in the yeshiva headed by his father, Rabbi Chaim Eliezer Bernstein for three years. During World War I, he studied with prominent rabbis who had come to Minsk. In 1919 the Torah institutions in Minsk were destroyed due to the Polish–Soviet war. After this, Shmuel Isaac enrolled in the Slobodka yeshiva, then in Lithuania, which he arrived to on foot. When the yeshiva relocated to Hebron in 1924, Shmuel Isaac joined them. On Thursday, two days before the massacre he completed a work regarding interpretations of the Talmud tractate of Berachot. On Saturday he and many other yeshiva students sought refuge in the home of Eliezer Dan Slonim, a prominent community leader with warm ties to the Arab community. He was murdered there along with several dozen others.
Broida, Simcha-Yitzhak; 28: Born in Vilkomyr, Lithuania in 1901, Simcha-Yitzhak studied at the famous Telz yeshiva and many other prestigious yeshivas. He was considered an excellent student and when he returned home to visit his parents, the rabbi of the community, Rabbi Yehuda Shapira, would arrange for him to be a guest lecturer for local pupils.
In 1920 he began his studies at the Slobodka – Knesset Yisrael yeshiva in Lithuania. He wrote many papers on innovative Torah ideas. He came to Hebron in 1926. Much of his time was spent on answering religious questions. He was highly respected and was called “the great and genius rabbi." He corresponded with the learned scholars of Lithuania on halachic issues. On the morning of the riots, he was in his room at the Segal guest house studying. The mob invaded his room and stoned him to death. His many books and writings were burned by his killers.
Capilouto, Eliyahu; 37: Born in Hebron in 1893 to Rabbi Nissim and Esther Capilouto, the family was among the first five families to build their homes outside the Jewish Quarter in 1871, together with the Slonim, Rivlin, Levy and Castel families. The house was on the main street at the junction leading to Beersheba, across from the home of Rabbi Slonim. It had a large cellar where during the summer water, olives and wheat were stored. In the courtyard were fruit trees. Eliyahu earned a living from carpentry and construction.
Rioters attacked the Capilouto home and Eliyahu Capilouto was seriously wounded. According to the testimony of his grandson Avraham Kiryati, when the rioters arrived at his home, Eliyahu blocked the front entrance with his body and told his wife and son Moshe (Musa), and grandson Avraham who was staying with them that Shabbat, that they should flee through the back door into the backyard garden. There they hid in the chicken coup, and escaped.
Five people were murdred in the home: Avraham Shapira, Shmuel Isaac Bernstein, Eliyahu Yissachar Senderov, Moshe Aharon Ripes, and Zvi Hirsch Heller. The three daughters had gone away just days before the riot to visit Jaffa and thus were not home. Eliyahu himself acted with valor and blocked the door. When his strength ran out, the mob broke in, hit him with a club and stabbed him in the back. After he fell, thinking he was dead, they looted the home.
Having been seriously wounded in his back, he lay in Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem for six months. After that, he was forced to go back to work to support his family. He was an expert carpenter, worked as a builder in Hebron, and participated in erecting the grave markers over the graves of the massacre victims in the ancient Hebron cemetery. The injuries and his hard work took their toll. About a year and half after the riots he passed away in Hebron, on the 27th Kislev 5691 (December 17, 1930). He was buried near the memorial that he had erected. Because he died over a year later, he is often not listed among the victims.
Castel, Rabbi Meir Shmuel; 69: He was born in Hebron in 1860 to the well-known Castel (also spelled Kastel) family of Castilla, Spain who fled the Spanish Inquisition. The family moved to Gaza and lived there for several generations. After Napoleon arrived in 1799, they moved to Hebron where they became an influential family for generations.
Meir Shmuel studied Talmud in the Sephardic yeshivot in Hebron and became famous as a scholar and posek (legal decisor). He married the sister of Rabbi Yaakov Meir, the first Sephardic Chief Rabbi of the Land of Israel. His name rose to fame as one of the greatest Torah scholars in Hebron and as an influential speaker.
In 1884 he was sent as an emissary for the community institutions to Persia, India and other Jewish communities abroad. He invested much energy into studying Torah as well as managing businesses. In 1910 Rabbi Castel was appointed judge on Hebron’s Beit Din (Jewish legal court) and in 1921, he was chosen as leader of Hebron's Sephardic Jewish community.
He was active in public affairs, contributed to the Zionist institutions and encouraged others to participate as well. He was known for his even temper and honesty.
On Friday, the day before the riots, a mob smashed all the windows in Rabbi Castel's house. The rabbi turned to his business partner, a member of the Arab community, for protection. His Arab partner suggested that all the valuables be stored with him, so that they would be saved from looters. The partner stayed overnight at Rabbi Castel's house to protect the rabbi and his wife.
On Saturday morning the mob tried to break down the door of the house without success. Rabbi Castel's Arab business partner walked toward the door to open it for the mob. Mrs. Castel, the rabbi's wife, begged him not to open it, but the partner replied that it was none of her business, and opened the door. Rabbi Castel and his wife fled to the other room. The rioters attacked them and stabbed them. The rabbi was killed. His wife was wounded and survived.
The JTA in an article on the trials from October 25, 1929 identified Rabbi Castel's business partner as Abdul ab Sheich who gave testimony to the court.
A December 24th article in the JTA reported that a gold watch and other articles belonging to the murdered Rabbi Castel were found in the house of Abdel Hadi, an Arab chauffeur of Hebron. Hadi, who had previously been acquitted of participating in the murder of Rabbi Castel, was rearrested.
A fraction of the hundreds of rioters were identified and identified and arrested. Of these, most had their sentences reduced or were acquitted by the British courts. Three were tried and executed, including including Atta Ahmed el Zeer (alternative spellings: Atta al-Zir, Atta Zeer, Ahmed Elzeer, Atta Ahmed el Zeer) , a porter of Hebron who was convicted of the murder of Rabbi Castel. He confessed to killing "three foreign Jews" before his hanging. The Arab Executive called for a general strike in response and the anniversary of their execution was marked as a day of mourning for the "heroic martyrs" of the "al-Buraq uprising" for years to come.
Rabbi Castel's son Yaakov Castel became an ardent supporter of the renewed community and fought a lengthy and unsuccessful legal battle to see his family's property returned. The Castel family descendants regularly organize group trips to Hebron.
For the story of surviving relatives click here: Massacre Survivor Miriam Sasson (Castel) Stood Up for Hometown
For video interview with son Yaakov Castel, click here. 
For video of great-grandsons visiting grave click here.
For video of great-grandsons in Hebrew click here.
For article on trial of murderer click here.
Cohen, Shimon; 27: He was born in 1902 in Yazd, Persia. At the age of 13 his father died and Shimon, as the eldest son, left school to support his family. He studied and worked in the field of literature. In 1922, Shimon traveled by foot across what is today Iraq and from there journeyed by wagon to Jerusalem. There he learned the art of stonemasonry. Stone cutting and chiseling took a toll on his health and doctors recommended he change careers.
Shimon moved to Hebron and returned to his previous profession in literature. Shimon helped many immigrants, especially his fellow Persian Jews, to find a livelihood in the Land of Israel. His shop had a sign written in Hebrew and he often arranged tours of Hebron’s many historic sites.
At the beginning of 1929, he managed to save enough money to bring his mother and two brothers to the Land of Israel.
On Saturday when the riots began, Shimon sought shelter in the home of the prominent community leader Eliezer Dan Slonim. In a small room at the Slonim home, the rioters hit him in the back of his neck with an axe. His body wasn’t found until Monday, therefore he was buried apart from the mass grave in the Hebron Jewish cemetery.
Dobnikov, Haim-Eliezer; 46: (also spelled Dubnikov) Born in Russia in 1883, he studied science and psychology at university and became a therapist. He married Peninna and they had six children. He was headmaster at a Jewish school where only Hebrew was used. He wrote several books and fought for the use of Hebrew instead of Yiddish in the schools of Warsaw.
During the wars he was exiled and forced to move from place to place, separated from his family. Even then he continued to engage in education and taught Hebrew in the cities to which he fled. These included Kremenchug, Moscow, Kiev and other places.
Haim-Eliezer advocated for the use of the Hebrew language, wrote textbooks and gave lectures to teachers on educational issues. He was one of the main figures in the Hebrew monthly publication Tarbut.
By 1925, the family had reunited and immigrated to the Land of Israel following their son Aharon, who immigrated a year earlier. The family lived in Tel Aviv where Haim-Eliezer had been appointed principal of the school in the newly established Tel Nordau neighborhood.
Every year, the Dobnikov family went on a summer vacation in Hebron. On the morning of the riots, the Dobnikov couple and two of their children sought shelter in the home of the respected community leader Eliezer Dan Slonim. The rioters broke into the house, and tied a rope around the neck of Haim-Eliezer, who was strangled to death. His wife Peninna was struck by axes. The two children were hidden in a laundry closet and survived. They saw the murders of their parents from their hiding place.
Dobnikov, Peninna; 45: (also spelled Dubnikov) Born 1884 in Russia, she was the wife of Haim-Eliezer Dobnikov a teacher and advocate of Hebrew language study. Both were described as honest and kind-hearted.
During the wars, Haim-Eliezer was exiled and forced to move from place to place. Peninna fled with her six children to Ukraine. Under appalling conditions, in a run-down shack with no windows, she managed to keep herself and her children alive for a year and a half. They fled from place to place and by the end of the war, they were reunited and living in Poland.
By 1925, the Dobnikov family immigrated to the Land of Israel and settled in Tel Aviv. Haim-Eliezer and was principal of a school in the newly built Tel Nordau neighborhood. Every summer, the Dubnikov family came to vacation in Hebron. Their trip in the summer of 1929 was almost canceled because their daughter felt unwell, but she did not want the vacation to be canceled because of her and encouraged her parents to travel.
On the morning of the riots, the Dobnikov family were hiding in the Slonim house, where they sought refuge from the mob. Peninna and her husband were attacked and killed. Their son Benyamin and daughter Rivka were hidden in a laundry closet and saw the murders from their hiding places.
Dribkin, Zvi; 64: Rabbi Dribkin was born in 1865 in Shklow, in what was then Russia. He studied at the Volozhin yeshiva headed by Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin and Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik.
In 1886 he married the daughter of Rabbi Nathan Rubin of Bobruisk. In 1925, after the death of his father-in-law, he agreed to serve as a rabbi in Boboroisk where he was known for his sermons. A year later, his sons immigrated to the Land of Israel to study at the Slabodka yeshiva in Hebron. Rabbi Dribkin wrote to them requesting they arrange documents for him to arrive and join them.
In 1929 he immigrated to the Land of Israel and settled in Hebron. He was received with great respect by the heads of the yeshiva and the rabbis. Rabbi Dribkin liked the Jewish community of Hebron and became known for his charity and sermons. He frequently said in his speeches that living abroad for many years did not make him wise, but it was the atmosphere of Israel.
He was murdered by the rioters in a brutal torture. His abdomen was gashed open and his inner organs torn out. He had escaped the East European pogroms and came to the Land of Israel to find peace for his soul. Instead, he became a victim of a massacre.
Epstein, Aharon David; 16: Born in 1913 in Chicago, His father, Rabbi Ephraim Epstein was a prominent community leader and headed Congregation Anshei Kneseth for almost 50 years. Aaron David's older brother was tragically killed in a fire. He graduated from Hebrew Theological College and attended the University of Chicago. But his heart was set on studying in the Land of Israel.
He went to Hebron where his uncle, Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein, was the dean of the Slobodka – Knesset Yisrael yeshiva, where his father had also studied in Lithuania.
Aaron David sent many letters to his parents expressing his enthusiasm for his education. One read: “I’m already here in Hebron for a while, and all this time seems like a brief moment. When one learns, the entire world appears good and beautiful. Slowly, the fear of God is entering my heart. It is so good to wake up every morning and know that it will be an interesting day, because it will bring a person closer to God.”
In a letter dated the 7th of Iyar he wrote, “The new (summer) zeman began, and I enjoy every day more and more. I feel that even the walls of the yeshiva store spiritual treasures. Many times I think how lucky I am for meriting to be in this holy place. Several times I dreamed that I returned home to America and I cried that I wasn’t able to stay longer in Hebron, and when I awoke I was very happy to realize that the yeshiva had a tremendous impact on me.”
He concluded with, “Your son, who is awakening from the dream state he was in all the days of his life.”
He wrote to his father a month later: “While I was in Chicago, I did not understand how wrong it was to harm someone in thought and speech. But when I’m here, I feel how careful one must be about his fellow’s dignity. I’m learning that one must carefully weigh and measure every word that comes out of his mouth. There are those who are careful about what they say only occasionally and only then they will talk nicely about his friend. But I strive and work on myself to watch everything I say and to make sure that I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings. I see the Chofetz Chaim, the great tzaddik of the generation as my ideal role model…”
After Passover, Aaron David received a letter from his parents asking him to come visit them in the summer. He answered that he preferred to stay in Hebron so he could dedicate as much time as possible to study.
He was murdered in the Slonim family home.
His father's eulogy was recorded in the book The Martyrs of Hebron by Leo Gottesman in 1930: “The Rabbi did not weep. There was no despair in his voice. He delivered no eulogy over the dead. He spoke of the living. He spoke hopefully, prophetically. Though we cannot help mourning for the dead, he said, it is of living Jewry we must think. We have not suffered a defeat. This is only another repercussion in the explosive history of our people. We must go on and on. It is the law and the nature of our people. And he called upon the rabbis assembled there, and upon all Jewry, not to be discouraged, not to be downhearted, but to plan for a greater future, whatever sacrifices may be necessary.”
Rabbi Epstein later helped rescue many Jews from the Holocaust during World War II. He served as an officer for the Central Relief Committee of America, Relief Committee of Jewish War sufferers, and other groups.
Rabbi Epstein's son, Harry Epstein (1903-2003), was rabbi of Congregation Ahavath Achim in Atlanta, Georgia for over 50 years.
Froman, Zvi (Harry);  21: (alternatively spelled Frohman.) Born in 1908 in Hamilton, Canada, his family moved to Chicago when he was two and a half years old. At age 13 he was enrolled in a yeshiva in Chicago. By age 15, he had articles published in local newspapers regarding the method of study in high schools. He studied both at university and rabbinical school, and was an outstanding student. His dream of studying at the famous Slabodka yeshiva in Hebron became a reality. 
He was murdered in the home of Rabbi Betzalel Samarik where he lived. He left behind many articles in both English and Hebrew. They contain Torah clarifications and ideas, as well as comments concerning the word of God.
Greenberg, Ze'ev (Wolf); 19: He was born in 1910 in Kamianets-Podilskyi, in what is today Ukraine. When he was eight, his family moved to New York. Ze'ev attended public school, but after his bar mitzvah at age 13, he longed to connect to his Jewish roots on a deeper level. With much effort, he enrolled in a Jewish school called Torah VeDaat.
As he filled in the gaps of his Jewish education, he went on to study at a yeshiva in New Haven, Connecticut. His ambition was to immigrate to the Land of Israel and study at the prestigious Slabodka - Knesset Yisrael yeshiva in Hebron, but he did not have the necessary funds.
In early 1929, a benefactor offered him a grant and Ze'ev moved to Hebron. In the spring Ze'ev arrived in Hebron and took to his studies with great diligence. He lived with the Kieselstein family.
During the riots, the mob tried to force their way into the Kieselstein home. He defended himself with a cane. They forced him out into the street where he was murdered. His body was left lying there until Sunday. The mob then assaulted the rest of the family who tried to hide in the kitchen.
Three of the family members, Yeshayahu, 17, Haya, 18, and Zvi Yosef, 47, along with a student, were later hospitalized with serious injuries. The home was looted and then destroyed. Haya's daughter Ruth Peleg attended the 90th anniversary of the massacre in Hebron in 2019. She noted her family members were saved by a sympathetic Arab family who hid them in the corner and covered them.
Gershon, Ben Zion; 73: Born in 1856 in Turkey, he studied medicine at a university there and upon completion, immigrated to the Land of Israel. He lived in Hebron for 52 years.
He practiced medicine and after a few years opened a pharmacy. He continued to practice medicine for those unable to afford medical care. Ben Zion Gershon is credited with saving hundreds of people from blindness, disease and death. During World War I, he established a military hospital in Hebron with 200 beds. Through his efforts, a road was paved from Hebron to Solomon's Pools at the entrance to Bethlehem. 
He was known to be diligent in keeping the commandments of the Torah. He was careful not to be photographed lest he break the commandment of "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness." In 1922, he fell on his way to treat a patient and was severely injured in his leg which had to be amputated. He worked as a pharmacist in the Beit Hadassah clinic in Hebron where free medical care was offered to both Jews and Arabs.
On the morning of the riots, the mob tried to break into his house without success. They brought a pregnant Arab woman to his door who begged for help. Ben Zion's wife Zehava warned that I could be a trick, but Ben Zion felt obligated to help every person. The mob entered the home and attacked Ben Zion. They cut off his hands and gouged out his eyes. He was stabbed with knives and swords. His daughter Esther tried to protect her parents. She was raped and murdered. His wife Zehava also tried to defend her family. She was beaten to death. Three other children survived by hiding in another room. They were injured by the rioters.
Gershon, Zehava; 40: She was born in 1889 in Sofia, Bulgaria. As a child, the family immigrated to the Land of Israel. She married Ben Zion Gershon who was a pharmacist in Hebron. Zehava was a hardworking and educated woman and invested her energies in educating her children. When her husband was injured and his leg amputated, Zehava opened a laundry to support the family.
She would devote her time to caring for patients, Jews and Arabs alike, who were being treated at the Beit Hadassah clinic. She would help the nurses in their work, bandaging the patients' wounds and encouraging their spirits.
When her children heard of the impending riot, they bolted the door of their home to prevent the rioters from breaking in. After the rioters failed to break into the house, they brought a pregnant Arab woman who cried and begged the pharmacist for help. When they opened the door, the rioters barged in and attacked the pharmacist and murdered him. Zehava tried to hide the children in the kitchen. The rioters stabbed her with swords and knives. Zehava was taken to a hospital in Jerusalem and died of her wounds two weeks later. Her daughter Esther was raped and murdered. Her three injured children were wounded and survived.
Gershon, Esther; 22: Born in Hebron to the pharmacist Ben Zion Gershon and his wife Zehava, she studied at a local school and was an outstanding student. She learned the craft of sewing and was able to support herself and help assist her parents financially. Esther was known for her kindness and often sewed clothes for free for the poor and orphans. Three months before the riots, Esther became engaged and was preparing for her wedding. She began preparing the clothes and other items for the wedding that was to take place during the Succot holiday.
On the morning of the massacre, the rioters gained access to her home by bringing an Arab woman who cried and begged for help. When the family opened the door for the woman, the mob burst in. She was raped and stabbed repeatedly. Her parents were murdered as well. Three other children survived.
Goldshmid, Moshe; 31: Born in 1898 in Yekaterinoslav, Russia, he was raised in the Chabad-Lubavitch community and became a rabbi. In 1918, he married and began a career. In 1925 he moved to the Land of Israel in order to seek a better life for his family. He arrived alone, his wife and three children joining him a few months later. The family settled in Hebron where Moshe became a kosher butcher. Every Saturday night, Moshe would study Hasidic teachings.
In 1926 he became a member of the local community council. His great-granddaughter Mina Richler tells of his stature in the community and how Jews and Arabs alike would turn to him to arbitrate their disputes. He corresponded with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, writing to him about local affairs and how the community was fairing.
In a letter dated 1926, he described to the Rebbe the state of the Chabad synagogue and the conditions of the Jewish community. In the summer of 1929, the Lubavitcher Rebbe visited Hebron. Moshe served as his tour guide and showed him around Hebron and other cities in the Land of Israel.
He was murdered in the riots by his Arab neighbors. The mob came in and tore his eyes out before forcing his head into the fire of the kitchen stove. His young son and daughter witnessed the event. His seriously wounded wife tried to stop the attackers, but was stabbed several times. Shortly afterwards, Arab women looted their house.
His son, Sholom Ber Goldshmid, who was four years old at the time, described the attack at a memorial for the 70th anniversary of the riots.
"I know there were children who had to be warned not to cry, so as not to give away their hiding places. But I didn't have to be warned — we were too afraid to cry out. I lived in a two-story house—we lived upstairs and an Arab family lived downstairs. That morning some of our Jewish neighbors came to be with us, in our house. I remember a gang of Arabs trying to break down our door. When they didn't succeed, they started using knives to cut out panels of the door to get in. My father tried to prevent them from breaking in, and the knives cut his hands. But that didn't deter him. While he was at the door the others in the house jumped downstairs from the back porch. The Arab neighbor didn't want to let them in, but there was a pregnant woman in the group, and his wife had mercy on her and let them in. She gave birth in that house, and they all survived. When the mob finally broke into our house they grabbed my father. My mother tried to fight them off, but she was not strong enough and they stabbed her. She fell to the floor. They took my father into another room. My older sister, six years old, also tried to fight the men who were killing my father, and they axed her in the head. My mother yelled out to me and my younger sister, then a year and a half old, to hide, so we hid under a bed in another room. When there was quiet in the house, my mother tried to crawl to the room where they had taken my father. Just then a man came in and stabbed her again. They killed my father. I remember seeing him stretched out, dead. I also remember seeing my mother and sister wounded. They were hurt badly but lived. My younger sister and I were not injured. When I was older I would come to Hebron. I would participate every year in the memorial service at the cemetery for my father. After the 1967 war I even went back to visit the house where we had lived. I remember exactly where it is. Today it’s not accessible again because it’s in the area controlled by the Arabs. I would always walk the streets of Hebron, never afraid. We must never let anyone think that we are afraid. This is our city. It is good that Jews again live in Hebron."
Sholom Dovber Goldshmid moved to the United States where he owned a kosher butcher shop like his father. He and his family continued in the Chabad tradition and regularly visit Hebron.
For full article including video interview with son click here: Sholom Ber Goldshmid: Child Survivor Continued Family Legacy
Gozlan, Yaakov; 45: Rabbi Gozlan was born in Hebron in 1884 to a family that had lived in Hebron for 150 years. The family came from a French colony in Africa. His father was Rabbi Rafael Gozlan. He studied in the Sephardic yeshiva and by age 18, worked a half-day as a goldsmith and studied a half-day in the yeshiva.
In 1901 he married Sultana, the daughter of Rabbi Yitzhak Badab from Jerusalem. Yaakov was a jeweler working in silver and gold. His integrity was exemplary. The many Arab residents who would come to do business with him would often tell stories about his loyalty and honesty. His son Moshe heard that Arab community was planning to slaughter the Jews, and was advised to find shelter in the vineyards. But Yaakov rejected his son's words because he believed in the friendship between him and the Arab community and stayed at home. The Arab landlord promised to protect them.
On the morning of the massacre, a mob stormed the house, but were unable to open the gate. The Arab owner of the house opened the door on the roof for the rioters. Hundreds broke into the house and attacked the family with knives and sticks. Among the murderers were those whom he had done business with for years. He defended himself, but was overwhelmed him and stabbed and beaten to death. His son Moshe was also murdered. The mob thought that his wife Sultana and daughter were also among the dead, but they were unconscious and wounded and survived.
Gozlan, Moshe; 19: He was born in Hebron where he attended elementary school and graduated from high school in Jerusalem. On the Wednesday before the riots, Moshe was offered a job in an office in Jerusalem. He returned to Hebron and on Thursday his relative Leah Gozlan told him that she heard Sheikh Taleb Marka talking to two other Arab dignitaries in Hebron about an impending slaughter of the Jews in the city. Moshe relayed the information to his father and suggested that they hide in the vineyards. His father Yaakov had warm relations with the Arab community and did not believe anything bad would happen to them.
On the morning of the riots, the Gozlan family sealed their doors and the mob was unable to break in. The Arab landlord, who promised to protect the family, opened a door on the roof to the rioters. Hundreds of rioters stormed the house. The mob tortured him and stabbed him in the face before killing him. His father Yaakov was also killed. His mother Sultana and sister were injured and rendered unconscious. The mob assumed they were dead and left the house, thus enabling them to survive.
For article on the trial of Shiekh Taleb Marka as instigator of the massacre click here.
Grodzensky, Moshe; 54: Born in 1875 in Warsaw, Poland, his father was amongst the foremost rabbis in the city and one of the founders of the great Talmud Torah yeshiva. Moshe studied at the prestigious Lomza yeshiva and later at the Radin yeshiva, founded by the famous Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, known popularly as the Chofetz Chaim. Moshe had a special connection with the Chafetz Chaim and would study with him at the yeshiva.
At the age of 19, he married the daughter of Rabbi Meir Tikochinsky. Rabbi Moshe continued his studies and worked to support himself. He was appointed a supervisor at the Toras Chaim yeshiva in Warsaw. For many years he earned a meager living but secretly gave a fixed allowance to needy students who excelled in their studies.
In 1925 he immigrated to the Land of Israel settling in Hebron. There he opened a hostel for yeshiva students. In Hebron he continued to discreetly give charity and perform acts of kindness.
During the riots, the mob found him alone and tortured him to death. They tore out his left eye and cut out his brain. His blood was found splattered all over the ceiling and walls. His son Yaakov and daughter-in-law Leah were killed in the Slonim home. Another son, Y. L. Grodzinsky survived and his testimony was published in Davar newspaper September 4, 1929.
Leo Gottesman in his 1930 book The Martyrs of Hebron said this about him:
"Six years ago, already nearly sixty years old, Reb Moshe Grodzinsky came to Palestine; he settled in Hebron on account of the Yeshivah and maintained a boarding house for the students. I had my meals at his establishment a few weeks during this time, and afterwards, I learned to know him well, to admire and respect him highly. He lived the life of a holy man. The wise maxims of the Talmud were to him no merely admirable phrases to quote for the sake of commanding respect. To him they were living thoughts to be applied practically, in every-day life. To be friendly, to hasten to greet everyone, was to him no mere matter of surface polish. To him this was a distinctive Jewish trait. Hence it is safe to say that, in emulation of a great Talmudic teacher, no one ever preceded him in offering greetings. Whether he chanced to meet a venerable rabbi, a young student, an Arab sheikh or an Arab waterboy, he was quick to sing out his pleasant greeting.
He walked always in meditation, with his eyes upon the ground—lifting them only when some person crossed his path. I can give no picture of the man that will satisfy me that I have done him justice. But I can give, as an illustration of his noble character, a hint of his conduct with the Yeshivah students who boarded at his establishment. Aside from the excellent care he took of them —giving more than was reasonably enough— giving them attention which comes not from a desire to profit financially but from a feeling of affection towards Jewish youths engaged in the study of the Torah—a feeling which only true lovers of Torah can enjoy—he never shunned any of the boys.
It was not just a matter of someone falling behind in his fees. Under the conditions prevailing among many of the poorer students in Hebron, backwardness in paying bills was a very common thing. Promptness in this respect would have been the wonder. Reb Moshe never came to any of his boarders to ask payment of a bill much overdue. He took it for granted that if a student failed to pay him it must be for great want of funds; and that he would be paid as soon as conditions bettered. Even when he was paid he never insisted on a complete settlement. He took whatever the students gave him—unlike others who insisted on taking all they could. Even in the ennobling atmosphere of Hebron, such fine souls are rare gems.
Three weeks before the tragedy, I received an invitation to attend the wedding of his son Pinchas. It was only a formal kindness—for they knew I could not be in Palestine to take part in the celebration. But I was overjoyed to receive news of the happiness of Reb Moshe and of his son—as fine a young Palestinian Jew as one may find. The wedding took place a week before the fateful event."
Grodzensky, Leah; 28: Leah was born in 1902 in Hungary. Her father gave her a traditional education and she was also taught by private tutors. She joined the pioneering youth of the Hechalutz movement and moved to the Land of Israel in 1924. In Israel, she struggled to make a living and found income by doing cleaning work in private homes.
In the spring of 1929, she married Yaakov Grodzinsky from Hebron and the young couple opened a restaurant catering to yeshiva students. She and Yaakov sought protection in the home of Eliezer Dan Slonim, a community leader with warm relations with the Arab community.
Her husband was murdered with an axe by the rioters. Her father-in-law Rabbi Moshe Grodzinsky was tortured and killed. She was mortally wounded and lay for three days at Bikur Holim hospital in Jerusalem before she died. The testimony of her brother-in-law Y. L. Grodzinsky was published in Davar newspaper September 4, 1929 and describes the mob violence.
Grodzensky, Yaakov; 22: (Alternative spellings: Grodzinski, Grodzensky.) Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1907, he studied at several prestigious yeshivas in Poland including Novardok yeshiva and Lomza. In 1925, the Grodzinsky family immigrated to the Land of Israel where Yaakov attended a yeshiva in Haifa. Later he continued his studies in Hebron. Yaakov had extensive knowledge of Torah and was known for many charitable deeds.
In 1929 he married Leah and the young couple opened a restaurant for yeshiva students. Yaakov continued to study Torah in addition to his career. Shortly before the riots. he travelled to Jerusalem to apply for jobs there. He returned to Hebron on the Thursday before the massacre.
He was murdered in the home of Eliezer Dan Slonim by rioters who attacked him with an axe. His wife, Leah and father Rabbi Moshe Grodzinsky were murdered as well.
The testimony of his brother Y. L. Grodzinsky was printed in Davar newspaper, September 4, 1929 He stated,
"On Saturday morning at about 7:00 the gathered were about to pray and through the window I saw cars full of Arabs armed with sticks, swords, knives and daggers ... met with an Arab group that stood at the end of the street ... and the whole group approached our house. The people were standing in prayer then, I approached them and said to them aloud, wait, they are approaching us. Immediately they stopped praying and we all ran to strengthen the door… The screams of the women and the howls of the babies filled the house. Once again I approached the door with ten other people and we set up boxes and tables to strengthen it, but the assailants broke the door with axes and soon broke through… I was afraid the stones would hit my mother. I did not know how, but I grabbed my mother and shoved her behind a bookcase that stood at an angle by the window. I put one more girl, a 12-year-old boy and one of the yeshiva boys there and finally I went in there too. I barely got out of hiding ... my eyes darkened from the sight of the slain and wounded .... Almost everyone had holes in their heads from knives and axes ... In the other room I found my brother's wife, who was lying with almost no signs of life ... I knew my brother was among the wounded. His head was wounded with an axe and a knife. His forehead had been hit with a heavy stone. I threw water on him and he got to his feet, but after several hours he died of his wounds."
Gutlevsky, Aharon Leib; 73: Born in 1856 near Vilnius, Lithuania, he was a school teacher and a rabbi from a long line of scholars. He fulfilled his life-long dream to move to the Land of Israel in 1926 and settled in Herzliya.
About a year before the riots, his daughter and son-in-law Betzalel Lazarovsky moved to Hebron and ran a boarding house for yeshiva students. Rabbi Gutlevsky traveled to Hebron to spend a month with his family and attend classes at the yeshiva. On the morning of the riots, he and his family sought refuge in the home of Eliezer Dan Slonim, a prominent community leader with warm ties to the Arab community.
When the mob arrived at the Slonim home, Rabbi Gutlevsky told everyone to recite the prayer of confession. He was killed by an axe to the head. His son-in-law Betzalel Lazarovsky, brother Israel and four-year-old grandchild Deborah were also murdered.
Gutman, Asher Moshe; 55: Born in the Polish village of Jablonka in 1874 he studied at the influential Lomza yeshiva. He learned to be a tailor from his father, who died when he was still young. Asher Moshe then became financially responsible for the family and continued to support them after his marriage to his wife Hava. He studied Torah in the evening and contributed to the Zionist movement.
He sent his two eldest sons to the Land of Israel through the HeChalutz movement. In 1925 he immigrated to the Land of Israel with his wife and daughter. The family settled in Tel Aviv in the Neve Sha'anan neighborhood. There, Asher Moshe continued his work as a tailor and engaged in Torah study.
In the summer of 1929, when his health was deteriorating, he traveled with his wife to Hebron for vacation and recovery. They arrived at the guest house of Nachman Segal, a friend from abroad.
On the Thursday before the riots, he was seen sitting in the Hebron yeshiva studying and reciting Psalms. On Saturday, the mob attacked the guest house and he and his wife were tortured and murdered, as well as that of Segal's three-year-old son. When the three bodies were found, they were first listed as "unidentified." The policeman who opened Asher Moshe's coat they found Menachem Segal, the son of the hotel owner strangled to death. Some reports state he was beheaded. It is believed Asher Moshe attempted to protect the child by hiding him in his coat.
Gutman, Hava; 55: Born 1874 in Jablonka, Poland, she was married to Asher Moshe Gutman, a tailor and Torah scholar. They had two sons whom they encouraged to relocate to the Land of Israel. In 1925, Hava, her husband and their daughter moved to the Land of Israel and joined their two elder sons. They settled in the Neve Sha'anan neighborhood of Tel Aviv. In the summer of 1929, her husband was experiencing health issues and they traveled to Hebron for rest and recuperation.
On the Thursday before the riots, her daughter in Tel Aviv receieved a letter from Hebron stating "we’re staying at the Segal hotel. We have a nice room and have found Hebron to be a fantastic place for recreation.” Among the books Hava took with her to Hebron was a book of the Slichot prayers, traditionally read the month before Rosh Hashanna.
On Saturday, the mob attacked the hotel and Hava and her husband were tortured and murdered. Their bodies were found days later and when the policeman opened Asher Moshe's coat they found toddler Menachem Segal, the son of the hotel owner strangled to death. Some reports state he was beheaded. It is believed Asher Moshe attempted to protect the child by hiding him in his coat.
Hansson, Esther Frieda; 68: Born in Russia in 1861, she came to the Land of Israel at the age of seven with her parents and lived in Hebron. She studied sewing and married a kosher butcher. Esther Frieda was known throughout the community as "the butcher's wife" and was noted for her hospitality. Her home was always open to the numerous visitors who came to Hebron to visit the Tomb of Machpela, especially in the months of Elul and Tishrei.
When her husband died, her son-in-law Yaakov Ze'ev Reizmann took over the job of the community kosher butcher. She was at the Reizmann family home when the killers came. Esther knew the attackers by name and begged for her life. She reminded the murderers of all the help they had received from her. The rioters ignored her requests and stabbed her with swords and daggers. Esther Frieda was taken to the English Hospital in Jerusalem, where she died of her wounds six days later. Her two son-in-laws Yaakov Zeev Reizmann and Moshe Reizmann were murdered as well.
Hasson, Klara; 59: Born in Jerusalem in 1870, she was the daughter of Hebron's Sephardic Chief Rabbi Haim Rahamim Yosef Franco, an expert in theology and founder of the Beit Hadassah medical center. Her mother Esther Mazel-Tov Franco was the daughter of the revered scholar Yitzhak Yisrael. In 1884, Klara married Rabbi Hanoch Hasson, who later served as head of Hebron's rabbinical council. She was known for her charitable deeds amongst the poor and for her love and compassion.
In 1929, Klara attempted to convince her husband to move to Jerusalem where their sons lived, but Rabbi Hasson was dedicated to Hebron. The couple was murdered in a brutal fashion. 
Hasson, Hanoch; 62: Rabbi Hasson was born in 1867 in Hebron to Rabbi Mordechai, one of the most successful men in the city, and his mother, Rivka, of the famous Benveniste family. At a young age he became a member of the Sephardic Judicial Court in Hebron. In 1884 he married Klara, the daughter of Hebron's Sephardic Chief Rabbi Haim Rahamim Yosef Franco. For several years he taught in the local school for the Sephardic community.
In 1900 he was sent abroad as a shaliach (emissary) for fundraising. That year, his father-in-law, Rabbi Franco died. In his place, the famous Rabbi Chaim Hezekiah Medini, known as the Sdei Hemed, after his multi-volume Talmudic encyclopedia, was appointed chief rabbi of Hebron. When Rabbi Hasson returned from his journey, he was elected a member of the rabbinical council of Hebron and was the right-hand man of the Sdei Hemed. After the death of the Sdei Hemed, Rabbi Hasson was appointed Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Hebron.
Rabbi Hasson worked hard for the benefit of the Jewish community in Hebron and acted to strengthen funding for its institutions. He had a special fondness for Hebron and researched and collected documents from previous generations about its history. He had an extensive collection of books and documents. He rejected the request of his sons to move to Jerusalem and live near them in retirement.
Three days before he was murdered, he wrote to a friend: "He will return well to the Land of Israel, because there is no restraint for God." On the day of the riots, Rabbi Hasson and his wife Klara were brutally murdered. The rioters burned his books and documents.
Heichal, Eliyahu Dov; 16: Born in Skaudvilė, Lithuania in 1913 he studied at the Kelm yeshiva. In 1926 his mother and brothers immigrated to the Land of Israel while his father stayed in Lithuania to make final preparations to close his business. Eliyahu Dov enrolled in the Lomza yeshiva in Petah Tikva and after a year transferred to the Tiferet Bahurim yeshiva in Haifa.
In 1928, Eliyahu Dov succeeded in realizing his dream to study at the prestigious Slabodka yeshiva in Hebron, where his brother Israel-Arieh studied. Eliyahu Dov invested much effort to succeed in his studies. The Heichal family lived in a large house and rented rooms to yeshiva students. They planned to buy land in Ra'anana where they wanted to establish a farm.
On the morning of the riots, the family and students sealed themselves in the house. Suddenly a policeman and an officer on horseback appeared on the street. Eliyahu Dov and his older brother Israel-Arieh left the house to ask for help. He held onto the horse and begged for protection from the mob. While Eliyahu Dov was holding the horse, he was stabbed by one of the rioters who mocked him and exclaimed: “Does this hurt you Yahud (Jew)?" Eliyahu Dov and his brother Israel-Arieh were murdered in front of their mother who saw everything through the window. The yeshiva students who were at the house wanted to come to their aid, but the mother prevented them saying: Don’t go out. It is enough with the blood of my sons.
Heichal, Israel-Arieh; 20: Born in Skaudvilė, Lithuania in 1909, he was a dedicated student at the Kelm Yeshiva. At age 16, he joined the Tiferet Bachorim organization which helped Jewish immigrants come to the Land of Israel. During the day he learned a craft and in the evenings he studied Talmud. He joined the Mizrachi youth movement to further prepare for immigration. His family made arrangements to immigrate as well.
In 1926, Israel-Arieh immigrated with his mother and two brothers. His father remained in Lithuania to arrange the closure of his business. The family settled in Hebron and the brothers enrolled in yeshiva. They began the process of buying land in Ra'anana where they planned to move later and establish a farm.
On the morning of the riots, the mob tried to break into the Heichel's home. Through the window, Israel-Arieh saw a British police officer on horseback, accompanied by another policeman. Israel-Arieh and his younger brother Eliyahu Dov left the sealed house and ran towards the British officer to beg for help. The mob attacked them with daggers. Eliyahu Dov grabbed onto the police horse as the rioters continued to stab him. All this was seen by their mother through the window of the house. Eliyahu Dov and his brother Israel-Arieh were murdered in front of their mother who saw everything through the window. The yeshiva students who were at the house wanted to come to their aid, but the mother prevented them saying: Don’t go out. It is enough with the blood of my sons.
The rioters saw the officer's lack of reaction and began shouting threats at the British officer. Realizing that his life was in danger he fired several shots into the air and dispersed the rioters.
Heller, Zvi Hirsch;15: Born in 1914 in Minsk, then a part of Russia, to a well-known family of rabbis. The family came to the Land of Israel in 1921. Their first stop upon arriving was to pray at the Western Wall. Zvi studied at the Etz Chaim Yeshiva in Jerusalem and later in Petah Tikva. During his studies, he skipped over several class levels due to his enormous Biblical knowledge. In 1928 he enrolled in the Slabodka yeshiva in Hebron where he was known for his knowledge and enthusiasm. He was killed by blows to his head. He fought for his life, but succumbed to his wounds on August 30, 1929.
Hurwitz, Benjamin HaLevi; 20: (Alternative spelling: Horowitz.) Born in New York in 1909, his father, Rabbi Yekusiel Raphael Hurwitz learned in the famous Volozhin Yeshiva in Europe and was an ardent Zionist who spoke Hebrew and purchased an orange grove in Ra'anana. Bennie, as he was known, attended the Rabbi Jacob Joseph school which his grandfather Rabbi Moshe Eliezer Gavrin helped found. He attended Talmudical Academy, now affiliated with Yeshiva University in high school and was president of the student organization. He studied mathematics in college and completed with top marks.
In 1927, Benjamin traveled to the Land of Israel to study in yeshiva and his mother and two sisters went with him, planning to stay for two years before returning to New York. Benjamin moved to Hebron and enrolled in the Slabodka yeshiva while the rest of the family settled in Petah Tikva where his father hoped to join the family.
A letter Benjamin wrote to his father dated August 21, 1929, three days before the riots, read as follows:
“Terrible, terrible, terrible. How terrible are the happenings that occur daily in Jerusalem, our Holy City in our Holy Land… There are attacks on the Jews, the government ignores them, …and the world is quiet… We hoped to build our land and the land has become transformed into a country for the English. We hoped to set up a just country and it has become the opposite. There are three fronts in which the Jews are pitted against the English and the Arabs. In only one of these have the Jews been successful. This is in the area of autonomy. When the English attempted to wrest control of internal affairs, both the Jews and Arabs objected so strenuously that the English gave up on the idea…
For example, they appointed a brutal, Jew-hating officer to be in charge of the access for Jews to the Western Wall. On Yom Kippur, he restricted access. On Lag B’omer he beat a Jew. Thirty witnesses to the beating came to court and the presiding judge stated there was not sufficient proof to indict him. Can you imagine, 30 witnesses are not enough! Have you ever heard of such a thing, that 30 witnesses are not sufficient proof in a court of law?
The second front is the antagonism of the British government to the building of a national homeland. This was discussed at length at the Zionist Congress in Zurich. The government has not kept its promise as regards the land. They give land to the Arabs but the Jews are forced to purchase whatever land they need for educational and health purposes…
The third front is Arab vs. Jew. The main problem which disturbs the Jewish and Arab minds and which causes the arguments between them is the question of the Western Wall. On Yom Kippur of this year it all started. The English could not wait three hours until the sun to set and they had to desecrate our holy place on this holy day… But still, all was quiet until about two months ago. The Arabs began to realize that the Jews could manage without upsetting the status quo, but the Arabs started to build. They built a new gateway near the Western Wall, they opened a doorway so that they could disturb the Jews, and they declared that the status quo pertained only to the Jews and not to them. The Jews protested, but to no avail…
Last Thursday, youth from the Trumpeldor legion rallied against the government regarding access to the Western Wall. They marched to the Wall and decried the Zionist leaders for their weak stand. But they did not hit or even touch anyone. The next day the Arabs rallied too… They marched out of the New Gate and hit Jews in the midst of prayer, tore up prayer books, and removed the notes that had been placed in the crevices of the Wall. The British police did nothing, not only that but they did not even permit the Jews to approach the Wall to pray. And this is the status quo?! Then the British issued a statement that equated the two protests! On Shabbos there were many attacks on the Jews by Arabs. One young man was stabbed and died that night.
Then on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, there were more attacks on the Jews in various places and the British did nothing. The daily bulletins relate terrible occurrences. Jews are hit, they complain to the British police who ignore them, although at times they incarcerate the Jew who was hit and free the Arab who attacked him. This is the situation… The Jewish community in Eretz Yisrael is terribly agitated, and, especially in Jerusalem, the condition is bad. And who knows what today will breed?
Last night I returned to Chevron and today I went back to Jerusalem to pick up the passports, I have mine and I sent Mother hers… According to their plans, they will arrive in New York on October 17. They could not leave earlier because she has many things to arrange… I know you think they have left here already, but I am informing you that they will be here another three weeks. Man makes his plans, but if God decrees otherwise, there is no response.
Your son who cries over the destruction of our Holy Temple,
- Benjamin
On August 24, 1929, he was murdered along with Rabbi Betzalel Samarik, with whom he was staying. His family established the Benjamin Hurwitz Award for Excellence in Talmud at Yeshiva University which still exists to this day. They also donated funds to publish a Hebrew scholarly journal called Horeb.
Leo Gottesman who in 1930 published The Martyrs of Hebron remembered him as follows:
"Bennie was an only son, and he had two sisters. I was surprised to hear the two girls speak Hebrew well. I was delighted to note their happy participation in the joyful ceremonies of the Friday night seudah. I remember well the kiddush, and the charming, gay conversation, and the singing of zmiros by the whole family. It is all unforgettable. Most of the conversation centered around Palestine. Everyone was filled with a desire to hear about it, to hear how they lived there, what it was like. And if ever the talk wandered awhile from that subject, Bennie was sure to bring us back to it before long. I saw then that he was fascinated by the thought of Eretz Israel. We spoke a great deal about the Hebron Yeshivah.
Bennie told me in his confident way that he hoped sometime he would have an opportunity to go there to study. He was planning to be a rabbi. His father told me that he hoped Bennie would not only be a good American Rabbi but that he would also be able to understand between the lines.
Mr. Horowitz, himself a Talmid-chochom, a former student of the Yeshivah of Volozhin, might well entertain this worthy ambition for his only son. Often I wonder whether it is not my fault that he went there. I had spoken so enthusiastically about the Yeshivah in Hebron, and Bennie had been so profoundly impressed. ... Yet others were there who escaped—my own brother among them. This is not a matter that can be explained by simple causes. Why some went and others not; why some died and others survived—these are matters not easily to be explained.
I can add only that Bennie Horowitz and the other American boys who were with him in the Yeshivah at Hebron during the outbreaks behaved courageously. They had confidence that things would turn out right. They did not die easily. They withstood their attackers with chairs and other such weapons as came to hand. Of course they were ineffective with such poor defenses against superior numbers armed with weapons of sharpened steel. They were a noble group of promising youths. One cannot help feeling that American Jewry will miss them in its ranks, each one of them separately, and all of them together."
Imerman, Noah; 33: (Alternative spelling: Immerman) Born in Slutsk, Russia in 1896. From an early age, he felt a strong sense of desire to adhere to the Torah. As a teenager he studied at the Szczuczyn yeshiva. He was meticulous in the ways of morality and honesty, thought and deed.
During World War I, Noah was conscripted into the Russian army in 1914 for three years until the end of the war. In 1919 he married and returned to Slutsk, where he worked at night in his father's bakery. He continued to study Torah and Mussar books and taught classes at the yeshiva. He later studied and taught in other yeshivas until he immigrated to the Land of Israel with his family in 1925.
He settled in Hebron and opened a modern bakery, desiring to be of service to the community. Among his workers were Arab residents. His residence near the Slobodka - Knesset Yisrael yeshiva enabled him to study Torah in the evenings. Noah was killed under gruesome conditions. He was burned alive by his co-worker Issa. His wife Royza (Risa), 27, and daughter Tama, 9, were badly hurt before their home was plundered and destroyed.
In testimony given to the police, Risa Imerman stated: "The landlord advised us to pay money to an Arab to guard the house on Friday night, but as far as I know there was no guard on that night even though they paid him the money he demanded. There were three neighbors plus my husband and four children, one of whom was Betzalel Samarik, a man and a woman, and another neighbor, Shlomo Unger and his wife and two children. Samarik had four yeshiva students.
On Friday night all the neighbors gathered in the Samarik's apartment and we prayed together. After supper I and my family went down to Unger's house because it was more convenient for the children. That night we all slept on the floor to guard ourselves from bullets. Behind the door slept an Arab while Unger walked by and guarded the door. This Arab promised that on Saturday morning more Arabs would come to protect us.
On the Sabbath at about 8:30 in the morning, after we heard the cries of the savage rioters, they attacked our house. My husband, Mr. Unger and his wife stood by the door and held off the pillagers. But they finally succeeded and burst in... I only saw how they killed Ungar and his wife with large clubs, and my eyes were injured. My daughter Tama was wounded with a knife in her head. The rest of my children remained uninjured. Then they began to rob the house and left. Some time later important landlords came and promised to bring police to protect us, but they did not return. ...I found my husband wallowing in his blood by a kerosene burner (paraffin stove) half burnt. After I had left the room where my husband was lying, the murderers attacked me and clubbed my head. I knew the workers of the baker Salman Farji.
Then they transferred me to the Health Ministry. One sheikh who lived by our house took my child to his house, but the same sheikh robbed our house down to the last object."
Seven-year-old Miriam succeeded in escaping with her baby sister Shoshana. She hid, together with her siblings and other Jewish residents in the house of a sympathetic Arab neighbor.
For more information click here.
Kaplan, Yisrael Mordechai; 22:  Born in 1907 in Vilkomir, Lithuania, his father died while he was still a child. He and his mother were deported to Astrakhan during the war. Though only a child, he worked delivering sacks of salt and lived in deep poverty. They were allowed to return home after the war.
He studied at various yeshivot and left for the Land of Israel in 1925 having been accepted to the prestigious Slabodka yeshiva in Hebron. There he invested all his energy in studying. He was known as moderate in his demeanor, but when there was a debate with his friends he was filled with enthusiasm.
On the morning of the riots, Yisrael Mordechai helped barricade the door at the Slonim house and tried to stop the mob. Despite being shot in the stomach, he held the door closed as best he could. Friends heard him say, "you must be strong, for I am lost” and whispered the prayer of confession. The mob broke down the doors and continued the massacre. He was struck in the head with a sword and his body fell upon one of his friends Arieh Dov Lipkin. Yisrael Mordechai thus saved his friend's life as he lay dying over his friend's body.
Kaplinsky, Yisrael Hillel; 22: He was born in the village of Knyshin near Bialystok. He began his studies at the famous Kelm Talmud Torah and then at Telz. He was admitted to the Slabodka yeshiva at the age of 16. He was regarded as an exceptionally gifted child. His genius led him to being called “the great one” and the rabbis called him a "living Torah scroll." His friends called him "Rosh Barzel" because his mind was clear and profound.
He was especially close to the Alter of Slabodka, Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, the yeshiva's elderly scholar who instituted the move from Lithuania to Hebron.
On the morning of the riots, Yisrael Hillel sat in his room with his friends and assured the Arab landlord that he would not let the rioters enter his yard. His body was found with multiple knife and dagger wounds. His last words were: “The murderers still attack me even though I’m dying.”
Krasner, Haim Zeleg; 16: He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1913 and his family moved to the Land of Israel in 1922. He studied at the Slabodka - Knesset Yisrael yeshiva in Hebron.
On the Thursday before the riots his sister in Tel Aviv received a letter from him which read in part: "I am completely devoted to the Talmud. Time is very precious to me. The day my father sent me to the Hebron yeshiva was the greatest event of my life, so I could not appreciate it. Now I have no words to express my gratitude to my father. For me, the way of Torah and morality will be the purpose of my life... "
Haim was murdered in the home of Nachman Segal. The rioters broke his arms and legs and stabbed him to death.
Lazarovsky, Betzalel; 38: Born in 1891 in Maltesch, Grodno County, Russia, he studied with famous rabbis such as the Chofetz Chaim. In 1914, he was conscripted into the Russian army. In 1920, he married the daughter of Rabbi Aharon Leib Gutlevsky.
He came to the Land of Israel in 1926 as a member of the HeHalutz HaMizrahi movement and settled in Herzliya where in addition to studying Torah, he worked as a diligent laborer. He founded a synagogue in Apollonia, an area in Herzliya with many archeological remains.
In 1928, he helped his parent immigrate from Russia and moved to Hebron. There he opened a boarding house for yeshiva students. He was preparing to buy land in Herzliya to become a farmer.
On the morning of the riots, his family joined other neighbors who had sought shelter in the home of Eliezer Dan Slonim, the prominent community leader. He was stabbed to death by the rioters, along with his 17-year-old son Israel, four-year-old daughter Deborah and father-in-law Rabbi Aharon Leib Gutlevsky.
His wife and son Yosef survived. Yosef Lazarovsky went on to help Holocaust survivors as a member of the Palmach, and later supported the renewed Jewish community of Hebron.
For full article & video testomony with his son click here: Massacre Survivor Yosef Lazarovsky Fought for Recognition, Justice
Lazarovsky, Deborah; 4½: She was born in 1925 in Vilnius (Vilna). As a toddler, her family immigrated to the Land of Israel and lived in Herzliya before relocating to Hebron. In 1929, her grandparents immigrated to the Land of Israel as well. Her father Betzalel opened a boarding house for yeshiva students.
Before the riots began, the family sought shelter in the home of Eliezer Dan Slonim, a prominent community leader with good relations with the Arab residents. The rioters murdered her father, Betzalel and her brother Israel. Her 73-year-old grandfather Aharon Leib Gutlevsky held Yosef, her five-year-old brother and recited the Shema Yisrael prayer before he was murdered. A yeshiva student next to them was murdered as well and his body fell on top of Yosef. Beaten and covered with blood, the rioters thought the boy was dead, and so he survived.
Deborah was severely injured and died a few days later. She was buried in the martyrs' plot on the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem in one grave together with five-year-old Aharon Slonim, who was also killed in the riots.
Deborah's mother was beaten and stabbed. She was brought together with the wounded to Jerusalem, and believed to be dead. She was transferred to the Mission hospital on Nevi’im Street, and placed in a room with the dead. Her sister, a nurse at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, went to the morgue and realized that she still had a pulse, but an Arab doctor in charge refused to allow her to approach. She went to the Machaneh Yehuda market and hired four Arab porters. They secretly removed her and brought her to Hadassah hospital. Deborah's mother remained there for a year and a half until she recovered.
Yosef Lazarovsky grew up to serve in the Palyam, the naval detachment of the Palmach, the pre-state paramilitary group. He participated in the daring rescue of Holocaust survivors as part of the Af Al Pi or "In Spite of Everything" movement, also known as Aliyah Bet. He served for many years in the security services. Over the years, Yosef supported the renewed Jewish community of Hebron and was a keynote speaker at the 80th memorial ceremony for the massacre. He unsuccessfully fought to be recognized as an orphaned victim of enemy hostilities. In 2009, Haaretz newspaper reported that the National Insurance Institute retroactively issued his late father an official Israeli ID number.
Lazarovsky, Israel; 17: Born in 1912 in Maltesch, Grodno County, Russia, the family moved to Minsk for better schools for their children. At the age of 11, he began his studies at 3 o’clock in the morning and studied in secret at a yeshiva, which was a forbidden and punishable offense in Russia. In 1926, his greatest dream was fulfilled when he was accepted to the Slabodka - Knesset Yisrael yeshiva in Hebron. After two years, he was one of the yeshiva’s best students. He was known for his quick perception, kindness and gentle and pleasant demeanor.
On the morning of the riots, his family was with other neighbors who had sought shelter in the home of Eliezer Dan Slonim, the prominent community leader. He was stabbed to death by the rioters, along with his father Betzalel, four-year-old daughter Deborah and grandfather Rabbi Aharon Leib Gutlevsky. His mother and little brother Yosef survived. Yosef Lazarovsky went on to help Holocaust survivors as a member of the Palmach, and later supported the renewed Jewish community of Hebron.
To read about his nephew Yosef Lazarovsky who survived the massacre click here.
Lichtenstein, Zeev Elimelech; 58: Born in 1871 in Radzin, Poland. When he was fifteen he went to study at the Slabodka yeshiva. At the age of 18 he married and began to engage in commerce, but devoted most of his time to studying Torah. Rabbi Ze'ev Elimelech finally fulfilled his dream of living in the Land of Israel in his 50s. He traveled alone at first and studied to become a tailor before returning to bring his wife and four children. The family settled in Jerusalem.
When the Slabodka yeshiva moved to Hebron, he and his family followed. Ze'ev Elimelech was older than the average student. He was one of the first to arrive in the morning for the class and one of the last to leave. He became a permanent member of the study hall.
On Sunday August 18, 1929, he traveled to Jerusalem. His son-in-law, who had been threatened in the Hebron market, decided to stay in Jerusalem due to the rampant incitement. On Tuesday, however, Rabbi Ze'ev Elimelech changed his mind and returned to Hebron stating "my heart wants to go to Hebron.”
On Friday, he was miraculously spared when a mob suddenly came into the yeshiva and murdered Shmuel Rosenholtz. The next day, on Shabbat, Rabbi Ze'ev Elimelech recited the Prayer of Thanksgiving, Hagomel, said when one survives a life-threatening situation. Soon after the prayer service, the riots began. He was stabbed to death outside the home of Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein.
His son Yehoshua Lichtenstein, together with his wife Hannah Arkin, one of the founders of Mazkeret Batya, became a prominent family in Jerusalem. The Lichtenstein couple had seven children: Zalman, Shmuel, Yocheved, Moshe, Yaakov, Elimelech, and Avner.
During the War of Independence, Moshe Lichtenstein served as commander of the police station near the Dead Sea and was captured by the Jordanians when he went out with four of his friends to connect a drinking water pipe that provided water to the workers of the Sodom Dead Sea potash factory. During his captivity, his brothers Yaakov, Eli and Avner fought in battles for Jerusalem. Yaakov fell in battle fighting for Jerusalem.
Avner participated in the failed attempt to liberate Jerusalem's Old City. He was killed during a mission to secure the strategic Armon Hanatziv ridge. After his death, the family added Avner as part of their last name.
Elimelech (Eli) Avner-Lichtenstein fought in the Six Day War of 1967. As an IDF operations officer, he was part of the battalion that entered Hebron. Over 38 years after his grandfather was murdered there, Eli helped liberate the city and became one of the first Jewish people to freely enter the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in modern times. He was tragically killed in a car crash during reserve duty in 1968. He was survived by a wife and two young daughters.
The three Lichtenstein brothers are buried next to each other at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem. Members of the Lichtenstein family today live in the Jewish community in Hebron.
Lipin, Dov; 26: Born in Vitebsk, Russia in 1904, he studied at the Kelm yeshiva and later the Chofetz Chaim yeshiva. For five years he studied at the Slabodka yeshiva where he labored over his Talmud and Torah learning. In 1926 he moved to Hebron where he continued his studies where he was known as a modest student. When the rioters stormed the home of Eliezer Dan Slonim, where many of the yeshiva students were sheltered, he was among those who attempted to keep the door closed. He managed to call out “run and hide yourselves!” before he was attacked by the mob wielding axes next to the door.
Mitavsky, Meshulam Shraga; 26: He was born in 1903 in the town of Labdova in the Vilna region. When Meshulam Shraga was two years old, his father was murdered by robbers while serving as rabbi of the community.
During World War I, the Slabodka yeshiva was forced to leave Lithuania and move to Kremenchug in today's Ukraine. Meshulam Shraga studied there for nine years. In 1926, Meshulam Shraga immigrated to Hebron. He was one of the last of the yeshiva students to leave Europe, as he served as a guide and assistant to younger students.
During the riots, the mob came to the home of Rabbi Moshe Grodzensky where he lived. He was injured by daggers and died five days later at the Bikur Holim hospital in Jerusalem. In a letter to the head of the yeshiva in Hebron his mother wrote: "Two sacred members of my family, my husband and my son -- who should have become a great, learned man in Israel, were executed. Where can I find comfort now that my beloved Meshulam Shraga has been murdered... rivers of tears will flow from my eyes all my days, and that is my comfort...”
Palatzi, Alter; 29: (alternative spellings: Palachi, Pelazzi.) Alter was born in Hebron in 1900. His family came to the Land of Israel from Russia, his father having moved to Hebron in 1850. He was taught by the scholars of Hebron, including Rabbi Nissim Franco and became an expert in Kabbalah which he studied his whole life. He worked as the custodian of the yeshiva and supported his wife, six children and widowed mother. In the evenings, he taught and lectured.
On the morning of the riots, the mob knocked on his door and promised that they would only loot the home. Instigated by an Arab policeman nearby, he was killed by repeated stabbings.
His seven-year-old daughter Rachel testified at the trial stating, "I remember the day of the riots. We were all at home, I, father, mother, grandmother and some neighbors. Moslems suddenly began knocking at the doors, broke one down and beat at another with iron bars. The room suddenly was filled with Moslems, but I recognized only Ismael. He had a knife in his hand. With this he stabbed my father. I saw it. I know Ismael from before." Source: Jewish Telegraphic Agency October 4, 1929. Ismael Hussein was charged with premeditated murder and later acquitted by the British courts.
For video interview with daughter click here.
For article on daughter's testimony at trial click here.
For article on outcome of trial click here: Arab is Acquitted on Charge of Murdering Jew
Reizmann, Moshe; 17: Born in 1912 in Jerusalem, he was the son of Rabbi Yeshaya Reizmann. His father was drafted into the Turkish army where he suffered greatly and died in 1917. At the age of five, Moshe was sent to the Diskin Orphanage in Jerusalem. He was giving Torah lectures by the age of nine and finished high school at age 13. He came to the Slabodka - Knesset Yisrael yeshiva in Hebron and was noted as an exceptional student. His brother Yaakov Ze'ev Reizmann was married to the daughter of Rabbi Zalman Hansson of Hebron. The rioters broke into Yaakov Ze'ev's house and murdered him, Moshe and his mother-in-law, Esther Frieda Hansson who died of her wounds a few days later.
Orlansky, Avraham Yaakov; 50: Born in 1879 in Bialystok, Poland, he was the son of Rabbi Aharon HaCohen, who later became chief rabbi of Petah Tikva. In 1883 he immigrated to the Land of Israel with his family and they settled in Jerusalem. Avraham Yaakov studied at a Talmud Torah school and later the Torat Chaim yeshiva in Jerusalem. He also studied and became fluent in the Arabic language. In 1917, he was invited to serve as the rabbi of Zikhron Ya'akov. He was remembered for his gentleness, kindness, moderation, modesty and simplicity. He was often called to settle disputes and act as a mediator. The rabbi headed charitable institutions and taught classes. He was also an expert on medieval literature and had a large book collection. Many of the books were very rare and he read much literature in the original languages. After the wedding of his daughter Rachel Brosh in Tel Aviv, the family went to Hebron to celebrate with his daughter Hannah and son-in-law Eliezer Dan Slonim. He was murdered during prayer still wearing his tallit. His head was crushed and his brains spilled onto the floor. His wife Yente, daughter Hannah, son-in-law Eliezer Dan Slonim and grandchild were murdered with him.
Orlansky, Yente; 47: Born in 1883. She was the daughter of the famous Rabbi Zvi Pesach Frank who served as chief rabbi of Jerusalem for decades and wife of Rabbi Avraham Yaakov Orlansky who served as chief rabbi of Zikhron Ya'akov where they lived in a house full of Torah and grace. She was noted for being generous of heart and performing many acts of charity and kindness. On Wednesday, Tu B'Av 1929, Rebbetzin Orlansky, as she was known, and her family attended the wedding of their daughter Rachel in Tel Aviv. The next day she and her husband travelled to Hebron where they waited for the newlyweds to celebrate Shabbat at the home of their son-in-law, Eliezer Dan Slonim. On Friday afternoon she received a telegram from her daughter and son-in-law stating they were postponing their trip because there was no transportation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem from which they were to have continued on to Hebron. On Saturday, Rebbetzin Orlansky was murdered along with her husband, daughter and granddaughter and many others who came to find shelter in the house of Eliezer Dan Slonim.
Reizmann, Yaakov Ze'ev; 35: He was born in Jerusalem in 1894. The family came to Jerusalem in 1839 from Warsaw and was amongst the first Jewish families to settle outside Jerusalem’s Old City. Yaakov Ze'ev studied at the Chayei Olam yeshiva in Jerusalem. He married the daughter of Rabbi Zalman Hansson of Hebron and relocated there.
At the outbreak of World War I, he was conscripted into the Turkish army and stationed with other Jews in Beersheba. In 1917, when the British took over, the Jews left Beersheba. A British pilot, thinking they were Turks, opened fire and killed nearly all of them. Reizmann buried his comrades in Beersheba. They were some of the first Jews to be buried there in modern times.
After six years of war, he returned to Hebron and took over his father-in-law’s job as a shochet (kosher butcher).
On the day of the riots, at nine in the morning, the mob pounded on the door. As he tried to escape, he was struck by a sword. Injured, he ran out into the street where he was caught by some rioters. They took his valuables before gouging out his eyes, slitting his throat and throwing him down on the street. His body wasn’t found until Sunday. Also killed in the house was his brother Moshe Reizmann and mother-in-law Esther Frieda Hansson.
Ripes, Moshe Aharon; 25: Born in Minsk, Russia in 1904. He studied with well-known rabbis. After only two years, he graduated high school with honors. For five years he led the Tiferet Bachorim group where he taught Talmud classes and encouraged immigration to the Land of Israel before coming to Hebron in 1925. This is how he and his fellow group members escaped the pogroms of Russia. In all, he helped 32 Jews move to the Land of Israel. In the summer of 1929, he had saved enough money to bring his parents to the Land of Israel. He studied at the Tiferet Yisrael yeshiva in Hebron. His killers didn’t let him finish the Prayer of Forgiveness before stabbing him repeatedly in the heart. His family only learned of his murder after they docked in the Land of Israel.
Rosenholtz, Shmuel HaLevi; 24: Born in 1905 in Vawkavysk, in what is today Belarus, near Lithuania. He studied at various yeshivas in Europe and Hebron. Known at the Matmid (the scholar) he was by far the most diligent student and a genius with an amazing memory. He was also a sensitive soul and the quintessential symbol of goodness. He was the first victim of the Hebron pogrom.
On Friday August 23, 1929, Shmuel sat alone in his Sabbath attire in the yeshiva reading the Gemara. At 4:30 pm, attackers came to the yeshiva. They were disappointed to find only one victim. A large rock crushed his skull, blood splattering everywhere and covering the Gemara. The mob attacked again and pierced his body with daggers. He died with the word of God in his hands. The book became drenched in Shmuel’s blood, the very blood which had spent a life-time studying the word of God.
Samarik, Betzalel; 75: He was born in 1854 in the village of Zhetel in the Grodno region of what was then Russia. He studied at famous yeshivot in Slonim, Bialstock and Bauska. After his marriage he studied at the Avrechim Kollel in Kaunas, Lithuania. In 1879, he moved to Riga, Latvia where he served as rabbi and was appointed a judge on the Jewish religious council. Rabbi Samarik worked hard to strengthen Torah institutions. He organized study groups for workers and students. In 1924, when he was 70 years old, he immigrated to the Land of Israel and settled in Hebron. There, Rabbi Samarik continued teaching and organized study groups for students.
On the morning of the riots he and a group of yeshiva students sat in his home studying. The mob broke in and attacked them with knives, axes and heavy tools. In addition to killing Rabbi Samarik, they also killed three American yeshiva students: Benjamin Hurwitz, Harry Zvi Froman, and Aharon David Shainberg.
Senderov, Eliyahu Yissachar; 17: The youngest child of a rabbi, he was born in Jerusalem in 1912. When he was two years old, the family moved to Petah Tikva. His older brother and sister were killed in an aerial bombardment. His parents consoled themselves with their youngest son.
Eliyahu Yissachar studied at the "Little Yeshiva" next to the Lomza yeshiva, where he studied for three years and became a noted student.
At the age of 14 he completed the study of the Talmud tractate Bava Matzia multiple times.
In 1928, Eliyahu Yissachar was accepted to yeshiva in Hebron and his joy in learning was enormous. His days began at 2 in the morning and he studied until late in the evening.
On the eve of the riots, his mother came to Hebron and asked him to return to Petah Tikva until the situation calmed down. Eliyahu Yissachar reassured her that the incitement would pass and it was not worth postponing his studies. His mother returned home alone.
He was murdered near the Capilouto home when the rioters beat him with iron bars in his face and head and suffered greatly before dying.
Segal, Menachem; 3: He was born in 1926 in Hebron. His parents Nachman and Mina Segal ran a guest house and restaurant for yeshiva students.

On Saturday morning, the mob stormed the house despite assurances from Arab neighbors the night before that they would be spared. Mina Segal held her son Menachem and begged them not to kill him. The rioters then killed her husband and child. Menachem was stabbed in the head. His mother's fingers were cut off.

Asher Moshe Gutman and his wife Hava who were staying at the Segal guest house were tortured and murdered. When the three bodies were found, they were first listed as "unidentified." The policeman who opened Asher Moshe's coat they found Menachem strangled to death. Some reports state he was beheaded. It is believed Asher Moshe attempted to protect the child by hiding him in his coat.
Segal, Nachman; 30: He was born in the village of Sokoly in Lomza, Poland in 1899 and orphaned as a child. He grew up in the home of the local rabbi and studied in yeshiva. He joined the Zionist movement in 1918 and held a number of positions.
He married Mina in 1925 and the couple immigrated to the Land of Israel, settling in Afula. In 1926 they moved to Hebron where the couple opened a guesthouse and restaurant catering to yeshiva students. Nachman developed a reputation as a man with a generous heart who helped the needy.
On Friday evening, the day before the massacre, Arab neighbors, including the landlord visited the Segal family, ate and drank at the family table and reassured them that despite the incitement, nothing bad would happen to them, and in the event of a riot, they would be protected. On Saturday morning, the mob stormed the house. Leading the rioters was the Arab landlord who opened the locked gate. Mina Segal held her son Menachem and begged them not to kill him. The rioters told her they would keep her alive and kill her husband and son in front of her. Nachman was stabbed to death. The toddler Menachem was stabbed in the head. His mother's fingers were cut off.
Asher Moshe Gutman and his wife Hava who were staying at the Segal guest house were tortured and murdered. When the three bodies were found, they were first listed as "unidentified." The policeman who opened Asher Moshe's coat they found Menachem Segal strangled to death. Some reports state he was beheaded. It is believed Asher Moshe attempted to protect the child by hiding him in his coat. Two yeshiva students, Haim Zelig Krasner and Simcha Yitzhak Broida, were also murdered at the Segal guesthouse.
Shapira, Avraham; 18: Born in 1911 in Jerusalem, his mother passed away when he was about seven years old and he was sent to live in the Diskin orphanage. There he was known for his love of truth, and his friends would call him: "Avraham the true." He studied for ten years at the Diskin orphanage and in 1928 was accepted to yeshiva in Hebron.
About a week before the riots, he discussed with his friends the threats of attacks upon the Jewish community heard on the street. He was attacked at the Capilouto - Borland (Burland) home where he lived. Avraham fought the mob for some time, but numerous knife punctures to the lungs ended the life of this amicable young man.
Shainberg, Aharon David; 22: (alternative spellings: Shunberg, Sheinberg) Born in 1907 in Memphis, Tennessee, Aharon David grew up in a secular home and attended college. Aharon David approached a rabbi to learn more about his Jewish heritage and for two years he enthusiastically studied the basics of Judaism. He influenced his parents to close their business on Shabbat and keep kosher.
Aharon David immigrated to the Land of Israel and enrolled in yeshiva in Hebron. His studies were often long and in depth. In his letters to his family and friends in America, he admiringly described the methods of study in the yeshiva and the emphasis on Mussar, or morality and ethical living. He used to help needy fellow students by lending to them without necessitating the money be returned.
He boarded with Rabbi Betzalel Samarik and was murdered when the rioters broke into the house.
An obituary from his family in Memphis reads as follows: "David Shainberg, was born in Memphis on May 9, 1906, the son of Sam and Ethel Lewis Shainberg. He received his early education in the Memphis schools and then graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, before going to the New York Yeshiva to study for the rabbinate. In August, young David, eager to obtain a thorough Jewish knowledge in the Talmud and the Hebrew language, went to Palestine, to continue his studies in the Hebron Yeshiva… David was one of the first to fall fighting to defend the Hebron school. The early death of a fine and promising young man cast a shadow over the Jewish community of Memphis, even as it caused infinite sadness to his parents and sisters and brothers. – A Martyr to his religion, he died in the flower of his youth, at the hands of Arab assassins, but he will always live in the hearts of the ones who loved him." Source: Jewish Historical Society of Memphis and the Mid-South.
In 2019, his hand-written letters to his parents were collected and printed in When a Memphian Thrived in Hebron: The Letters of Aharon Dovid Shainberg by Akiva Males. In the letters, he speaks enthusiastically about the humble, scholarly atmosphere.
In a letter dated October 5, 1928 he writes, "the Yeshiva in Hebron also exceeds my expectations. The building is nice and the location is an ideal one! Hebron is situated on a high plateau between two mountains. The scenery is inspiring – the weather always pleasant & cool on account of the elevation… we have a front room in full view of the magnificent panorama of rolling hills & mountains. We pay for room and three meals a day 8 pounds a month ($40) – we could have rented a cheaper place, but I thought it inadvisable to do so. This is one of the only possessing the luxury of running water (and even then only one faucet!)"
In a letter dated October 10, 1928, he writes, "it is now ten days that I entered upon a new life – the life of a Hebron Yeshiva student…The Yeshiva here in Hebron offers wonderful opportunities for anyone possessing such an ambition. The faculty and student body both are full with professed scholars of Talmud and colossal minds in general. Boys of sixteen or less here could vie with the most learned professors in mental capacity… I think I wrote regarding the costs of my room & board before – £8 ($40) a month for a beautiful room – and three good meals a day… Dad, I would be a rich man in spending money… a New York pauper is a Hebron millionaire… The Yeshiva itself is a revelation to me. The boys surely fall far short of the popular conception of what a “Yeshiva Bacher” is. They, for the most part, are neatly and modernly dressed – although a bit shabby, of course. In manners and deportment they are perfect – the Yeshiva is insistent upon a high standard of etiquette within the Yeshiva and outside as well. The character of each of the 200 students is of the highest imaginable. Even I was surprised at what I have found. The student body is composed of the purest type of idealists."
In a letter to his mother dated December 19, 1928, he writes of relations between Arabs and Jews in Hebron. "Four years ago when the Yeshiva moved from Slabodka to Hebron, there occurred not a little trouble from the Arabs here. Stones were thrown into the institution buildings; students were attacked on the streets, etc. The present state of affairs speaks much for the excellent character of the Yeshiva student body. By the sheer force of refinement of action and nobility of heart the Yeshiva Bacherim have won over the Arabs as their staunch friends from former enemies. In every step, in every word – in speech & action the student is a gentleman. Even Arabs were conquered by these weapons… this event occurred some three years ago – ever since then – there has been no trouble whatsoever – & to the contrary now the Arabs treat the Yeshiva students with utmost respect and courtesy. 'A soft answer turneth away wrath' said Solomon in Proverbs & here we see the truth . . . of his wisdom... Love, Dave"
Sher, Haim Shalom Alter; 24: Born in 1905 in Rozalia (Rozalimas), Lithuania. Starting at age of 14, he studied at the Vilkomir yeshiva and later in 1922 at Slabodka where he acquired great proficiency in Judaic teachings. When the Slabodka yeshiva moved to Hebron in 1924, Alter Sher was one of the first students to arrive in the Land of Israel.
He invested his energy diligently in the study of the Torah, but also dealt with public affairs and headed the "Gemilut Hasadim Bnei Torah" charity organization located near the Hebron bank. He was a member of the Kupat Malveh loan fund located near the yeshiva. All his activities and studies were done with devotion and perseverance. Alter Sher lived in a boarding house at the home of Rabbi Yaakov and Leah Shapira.
When the riots began, Alter Sher went to the nearby home of Eliezer Dan Slonim, the prominent community leader who had good relations with the Arab residents. He guarded the entrance to the house. The mob attacked him and stabbed him repeatedly.
Slonim, Eliezer Dan; 29: He was born in Hebron in 1900 to the respected Slonim family who helped revive the city in the mid 1800s. His family were descendants of the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, founder of the Chabad Hasidic movement, whose granddaughter Menucha Rochel Slonim, moved to Hebron in 1845. His father Rabbi Jacob Joseph Slonim was a rabbi and community leader in Hebron.
Eliezer Dan studied at yeshivot in Hebron and Jerusalem and continued his studies at the Mizrahi Teachers' Seminary in Jerusalem. He served as a teacher in Haifa and Petah Tikva for two years and then returned to Hebron. He and his wife Hannah had two children, Aharon and Shlomo. He worked as the agency director of the Anglo-Palestine Bank in Hebron.
In the mid-1920s, Eliezer Dan was appointed a member of the Hebron City Council, the only Jewish member, and in this position he had a great influence in the Jewish community. Fluent in Arabic, he also facilitated relations between Jewish and Arab residents. His great vision was to revive the southern regions of the country, with Hebron serving as a central axis. He promoted his plans to the authorities he knew. He wrote many articles in the Haaretz newspaper. He helped the Slabodka yeshiva move from Lithuania to Hebron in 1924.
On the day before the riots, residents came to the Slonim home for protection. Agitators were openly calling for and preparing to commit a massacre of the Jewish community on Saturday. Eliezer Dan went from house to house to encourage Jewish residents to seek shelter in his home. Over 40 people stayed overnight in the Slonim house that Friday night. In the early hours of Saturday morning, Eliezer Dan again managed to visit Jewish neighbors to deliver encouraging messages and offer support. Those in the Slonim house organized an impromptu morning prayer service.
Leo Gottesman, author of the 1930 book The Martyrs of Hebron wrote of him: "Friendly, good-natured Eliezer Dan Slonim did much for the Arabs in general and for their leaders and politicians in particular. Many and many were the favors he did for them, the loans he obtained for them. He had very much faith in the Arabs—far more than later events justified." Gottesman related the eyewitness testimony of Eliezer Dan's refusal to betray his fellow Jews. He wrote the mob "came knocking at his door. Give out the strangers you are harboring there, they cried, and we will spare you, and your kinsfolk. His answer, a culminating step in his martyrdom, was characteristic of the man: "I have no strangers here,—only my brethren!"
Gershon Agron, writing for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency also reported that the mob’s demand that Slonim should surrender the 'foreigners,' meaning the yeshiva students sheltered in his house if his and his family’s lives were to be spared and the martyr’s historic answer was "We Jews are one."
Twenty-four people were murdered in the Slonim home, among them, Eliezer Dan and his wife Hannah, their five-year-old son Aharon, and his in-laws Rabbi Avraham Yaakov and Yente Orlansky. His younger son Shlomo survived. He was found underneath his mother and the other corpses which had hid him from the mob.
Shlomo Slonim went on to join the Irgun Tzvai Leumi, the Haganah, and the Israel Defense Forces. He worked for Bank Leumi for almost 50 years, was married for 50 years, and had four children. Every year he attended the annual memorial for the 1929 massacre and was an ardent supporter of the newly established community in Hebron.
For article on the Slonim family in Hebron click here: "Walk Between the Raindrops" - How Menucha Rochel Slonim United Hebron
For further biographical  info click here: Bloodstained Will of 1929 Massacre Victim Discovered
Slonim, Aharon; 5: He was born in 1924 in Hebron. His father, Eliezer Dan Slonim was a manager at the Anglo Palestine Bank and the only Jewish member of the Hebron city council. Fluent in Arabic, Eliezer Dan came from a long line of community leaders in the city starting with Menucha Rochel Slonim, daughter of the first Lubavitcher Rebbe. His mother Hannah was daughter of the chief rabbi of Zikhron Ya'akov, Rabbi Avraham Yaakov Orlansky.
Aaron, the eldest son, was a kind and beloved child in his family and community. On the morning of the riots, the mob stormed their home. Many people came to find shelter in the Slonim house thinking it was safer there.
Aharon was heard shouting from the window: "Father! 'Nasser Din' came to kill us! Your friends are killing us!"
In the Slonim home, 24 people were murdered, including his parents and grandparents. Aharon was seriously wounded and died at the Bikur Holim hospital in Jerusalem. His one-year-old younger brother Shlomo, was hit in the head with an ax after which the bodies of the dead fell on him and thus he was hidden from the rioters and saved.
As an adult, Shlomo Slonim frequently visited Hebron and supported the renewed community.
Slonim, Hannah; 27: She was born in 1902 in Petah Tikva to Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Orlansky and his wife Yente. After graduating from Netzach Yisrael school, she continued to study at home with private teachers.
In 1924 she married Eliezer Dan Slonim, who came from a well-established Hebron family. Hannah embodied the spirit of hospitality and engaged in many public activities in the city. Her home was open to all and Jews and Arabs alike would assist her. Her husband Eliezer Dan was a manager at the Anglo-Palestine Bank and a member of the Hebron city council. Hannah and Eliezer Dan had two children: Aharon and Shlomo.
In 1929 her sister Rachel Brosh (Orlansky) married Yaakov Bronstein Brosh in Tel Aviv. The post-wedding Sheva Brachot celebration was supposed to take place in Hebron, so the parents, Rabbi and Mrs. Orlansky arrived in Hebron on Thursday with their youngest daughter, Mina. Due to the security situation, the bride and groom were unable to arrive in Hebron.
On the eve of the riots, many people gathered to find shelter at the home of Hannah and Eliezer Dan Slonim assuming it was safer there due to their status in the city. Two sympathetic Arab residents stayed the night in the Slonim home. The Arab landlord who lived on the ground floor promised that nothing would happen to them.
But on the morning of the riots he disappeared and the two Arab men opened the door to the Slonim home "to talk to the mob." The mob forced their way in despite the repeated attempts of the Jewish residents to stop them. Over twenty occupants were murdered. Hannah, who was holding her son Shlomo in her arms, tried to protect him and put her hand on his forehead. The rioters attacked the toddler's head with an ax, cutting off Hannah's fingers. Hannah fell on the child. Hannah and her husband, her parents and her older son were killed. The younger son Shlomo survived. He was found underneath his mother and the other corpses which had hid him from the mob.
Shlomo Slonim went on to support the renewed Jewish community of Hebron after the Six Day War of 1967 and visited regularly.
For video of Shlomo Slonim as the memorial for his parents click here.
For video interview with Shlomo Slonim (Hebrew) click here.
Unger, Nechama; 22: Nechama Unger was born in 1907 in Vilnius (Vilna). Her father Rabbi Israelov (Serlov) was one of the rabbis of Vilna, a lover of Zion and an educator in the spirit of tradition. Nechama studied at the Hebrew Gymnasium in Vilna where she mastered Hebrew and read mainly Hebrew books. At the age of sixteen, she joined the Hechalutz movement where she received practical training for immigration to Israel. A year later she immigrated to the Land of Israel. Nechama worked in a kitchen in Jerusalem, but dreamed of leaving the city. She joined the Hapoel Mizrahi group and worked in an agricultural community. She spent several years of laborious agricultural work and was compelled for health reasons to return to city life. In 1927 she married Shlomo Unger and a year later they moved together to Hebron. On the day of the riots, Nechama and her husband Shlomo, with the help of Nechama's sister Tzipora Israelov (Sheinin) managed to hide their children, seven-week-old baby Shoshana in a laundry basket and the one-and-a-half-year-old Baruch in a kitchen cupboard. The rioters broke into the house and murdered Shlomo. Nechama came out of hiding to help her husband, and was stabbed to death. She died three days later at the hospital of Dr. Moshe Wallach in Jerusalem. Her two young children were raised by their aunt Tzipora Sheinin.
Unger, Shlomo; 22: He was born in 1907 in Zagorz, Sanok County in Galicia, Poland. His father owned a factory for small frames and machines. At the age of fourteen Shlomo entered a technical school to specialize in his father's profession. After graduating, his father wanted to expand the factory and provide a livelihood for his son as well. However, Shlomo decided to leave his parents' house and immigrate to the Land of Israel in order to fulfill his childhood dream and to dedicate his energies and knowledge to building the land. In 1923 Shlomo immigrated to the Land of Israel and worked as a mechanic in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. At the end of 1928, Shlomo moved with his family to Hebron and got a permanent job working a gravel machine. Shlomo was successful in his work and hoped to create a thriving business in Hebron. On Saturday the rioters broke into the Unger house. They saw the handsome, sturdy Shlomo with his European features and asked him if he was a Christian. Shlomo stood proudly and replied: "I am a Jew." The Arabs attacked him and murdered him, shouting: "Kill the Jews." The rioters also murdered his wife Nehama who attempted to help. They managed to hide their children, seven-week-old baby Shoshana in a laundry basket and the one-and-a-half-year-old Baruch in a kitchen cupboard. The children survived and were raised by their aunt.
Vitchak, Reuven (alternative spelling Woichek); Born in Lithuania, Reuven moved to the Land of Israel with the Slobodka - Knesset Yisrael yeshiva. He was amongst the first and foremost of the students who learned in the new Hebron location. The Knesset Yisrael financial ledgers list him as one of the students receiving a stipend. In the 1929 riots, Reuven was wounded, and he was hospitalized in Jerusalem at Hadassah and Bikur Cholim. At first it looked like his condition was not serious, and he returned to the yeshiva. Yet he continued to suffer from his wounds. The yeshiva continued to pay him his stipend and also covered part of his rent. Reuven's life never returned to normal. His suffering increased, and he was hospitalized once more. On 2 Kislev, 5693 (December 1, 1932), Reuven passed away following terrible suffering. Because he died almost three years later, he is generally not listed among the 67 victims.
Wexler, Jacob (Yaakov); 17 (Alternative spelling: Vecksler) Born in Chicago in 1912, where he was known as Jackie, he was a student at Hebrew Theological College. His father Richard (Yerachmiel) Wexler was a wealthy philanthropist in the Jewish community. Mr. Wexler was inspired to invest in the growing Jewish communities of the Land of Israel by a visit from Rabbi Yaakov Volk.
In 1928, the Wexler family traveled to the Land of Israel and made numerous investments, including the purchase of 300 dunam of land near Rishon LeZion. Upon visiting Hebron, Yaakov became enthralled with the high level of study and camaraderie at the Slabodka yeshiva. At the age of 16, he begged his parents to allow him to stay. After other American yeshiva students assured Mr. Wexler his son would be taken care of, he reluctantly agreed.
Yaakov lived at the home of Rabbi Ephraim Sokolover (1901-1968) who later served as the first Chief Rabbi of Ra'anana. In the letter to his parents he praised the yeshiva and life in the Land of Israel. "I've never experienced happiness my whole life as in Simchat Torah in Hebron," he wrote. He also enthusiastically described such events as the engagement and marriage of the daughter of Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein, head of the yeshiva, to the young Rabbi Aharon Cohen. He encouraged his parents to relocate to Israel and join him.
In a reply to a letter from his aunt inquiring about how life was in Hebron, he said, "your question depends on how you define life. If a life of pleasure and luxury is what constitutes life, then I am missing out on this here. However, according to my definition of life, my life here is happy and content."
Yaakov once stated he regretted not being born into poverty because he felt his well-to-do upbringing was not conducive to developing an appreciation for spirituality. At yeshiva, he was known for his charity, humility, modesty and kindness. He used his financial resources to help out some of the poorer yeshiva students.
On the morning of the riots, the mob broke into Rabbi Sokolover's home. Yaakov embraced the rabbi and told him he was happy that he was to die as a Jew having connected with his fellow Torah students and thanked the rabbi for all his help and teachings. The mob killed him by hitting him in the head with an axe.
Rabbi Volk felt responsible for bringing the Wexlers to visit Hebron in the first place. During an encounter in New York, he tearfully apologized to Mr. Wexler. The father replied, “you are wrong for feeling guilty. Just the opposite. I owe you much thanks. There was a heavenly decree that my son live to the age of 17. He could have died in New York in a car accident or in Chicago from illness. As a result of your efforts, he came to the Land of Israel and died learning Torah in Hebron. He died because he was a Jew and there can be no nobler death than that.”
– Source: A Bond Sealed in Blood by Dovi Safier, Mishpacha magazine September 23, 2000. Based on eyewitness accounts and letters.
Yagel, Shlomo; 24: Born in 1905 in the Polish town of Slonim, he was the son of the town's rabbi. He studied with numerous famous rabbis and possessed an enormous knowledge of the Torah. For many years he would split wood and carry water for a poor widow who lived nearby on a daily basis. After his bar mitzvah, Shlomo traveled to Lithuania to study at the Slabodka yeshiva. He stayed there for five years until he immigrated to the Land of Israel in 1927 and continued his studies in Hebron.
In a letter to his parents, Shlomo praised Hebron and the yeshiva: "I am happy that I came here. It seems to me that my diligence in the words of Torah has increased here" He wrote many letters to friends encouraging them to come. He poetically described the Land of Israel, Hebron, the natural beauty and everything around him as a paradise.
He was murdered in the Slonim house.
His mother wrote brokenheartedly to her relatives in the Land of Israel: “Shlomo, my beloved, went to Heaven too young in years, but old in knowledge and deeds. He went to Heaven, and in his hands he held a great and holy Torah scroll. My beloved Shlomo was complete in his deeds -- both to people and to God. Who can console me in the loss of such a son? I find only one comfort: our holy son was murdered for the holy Israel, just as were the ten holy martyrs in their time [the Roman era]. The blood of our holy son who gave his life for holy Israel, and the blood of all the other holy and pure who were murdered, will not stand still -- it will be as the blood of the prophet Zechariah.”
Yenni, Avraham; 59: Born in Turkey in 1870 he came to the Land of Israel with his wife Vida in 1911. They settled in Hebron where he spent much of his time on Torah studies. He was known as being exceedingly reverent and caring.
He and his wife helped many of the poor discreetly so as not to publically embarrass them. He was described as a sturdy and impressive man. He was found on the stairs of his home with a dagger in his stomach and his head drenched in blood.
Yenni, Vida; 44: Born in Turkey in 1885, she and her husband Avraham moved to Hebron in 1911. Together they dedicated their lives to the poor. She and her husband discreetly aided people financially. Vida was found murdered in a small storage room by the house where she hid. The mob had cut her throat and stabbed her. Her husband Avraham was murdered as well.
* Hebron: Rebirth from Ruins by Dr. Michal Rachel Suissa, 2009
* Hebron Pogrom: TARPAT by Rehavam Ze'evi, 1994
* Hebron Jews: Memory and Conflict in the Land of Israel by Prof. Jerold S. Auerbach, 2009
* Sefer Hevron by Oded Avisar, 1970
* The Martyrs of Hebron by Leo Gottesman, 1930
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