Conference & Memorial for 1929 Hebron Massacre

Lectures explained the life and tragic end to the once thriving community.

22.8.16, 14:02
The 87th memorial for the 1929 Hebron massacre, known by its Hebrew acronym TARPAT took place August 10, 2016 at the Midreshet Hebron college.
The first to speak was Prof. Gershon Bar Kochba of Midreshet Hebron. With copious photos, maps and old documents, he explained the life of the Jewish community in the 1920s.  Hebron was the only city in the Land of Israel to have what was called a ghetto.
Next to speak was Dr. Yuval Arnon-Ohana of Ariel University. In contrast to the previous speaker, Dr. Arnon-Ohana spoke without any notes. The crowd was in rapt attention as he described the history of Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem who instigated the massacre with false rumors of a Jewish attack on the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Dr. Arnon-Ohana argued that el-Husseini was loosing power in the Arabic community to his rivals. He sought to consolidate his power and eliminate the competition by creating a common enemy in the Jews. El-Husseini claimed that the "Zionists" were taking over and bringing in more and more immigrants. But Dr. Arnon-Ohana said that by 1929 immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel was at its lowest point in recent history. He also dispelled other myths of the era used as excuses by El-Husseini.

(Photo: "Amin al Husseini and Adolf Hitler, Germany, November 28, 1941." Credit: Heinrich Hoffmann / Wiki Commons)
The third speaker was Uri Arnon of Bar-Ilan University who spoke about the British perspective. Arnon displayed many documents from both British and Israeli archives to prove that the British mandatory authorities were complicit in allowing the massacre to happen. One document alluded to British police officers changing their stories to match a pre-concocted alibi as to how they failed to protect the Jewish community. Arnon also detailed the mistreatment of the survivors following the massacre who were forcibly deported to Jerusalem and denied access to return.
Old newspaper articles painted a different story of the British "heroism." An article from the Daily Mail dated November 23, 1929 read "One Man Against 20,000 Arabs. Heroic English Police Officer. Ghetto Cleared in Hebron."
He singled out Raymond Cafferata, the officer in charge as culpable. He went on to praise Hanoch Brozinsky, a Jewish police officer who was able to arrive at the scene a day after the massacre and rescue Torah scrolls and other artifacts.
After the lectures, a tour took place of the Jewish community including the Avraham Avinu synagogue which was ransacked during the riots but now is a fully functioning synagogue with daily services. Dr. Yoram Almachias of Midreshet Hebron displayed the antique Torah scrolls which were rescued and finally reinstated following the rebuilding of the synagogue in the 1970s. He said some of the Torah scroll date back almost 50 years and may have been rescued from the Spanish Inquisition by the exiles who fled Spain and Portugal to Hebron.
(Photo: "Palestine events. The 1929 riots, August 23 to 31. Synagogue desecrated by Arab rioters. Hebron. Furniture broken, floor littered with torn sacred books." Credit: US Library of Congress / Wiki Commons.)
The day ended with a memorial service at the ancient Jewish cemetery in Hebron. Kaddish and El Malei Rachamim were recited at the graves of the victims, as Israeli flags waved overhead.
To visit the 1929 TARPAT memorial and other sites in Hebron:
United States contact info:
1760 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230

In Israel contact the offices of the Jewish Community of Hebron at:
Remembering the 1929 Hebron massacre - Jerusalem Post coverage of event

Conference in Memory of 1929 Hebron Massacre | 16 Images
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