Evidence of the grave responsibility resting on the Palestine authorities for their failure to prevent and at least to check the anti-Jewish attacks and massacres in Palestine is accumulating as the eye witnesses of the Hebron massacre on Saturday, August 24th, are recovering sufficiently to describe what occurred and how it happened.
RABBI SLONIM, HEBRON CHIEF RABBI WHO SURVIVED, DESCRIBES MASSACRE
Rabbi Jacob Joseph Slonim, chief of the Ashkenazic rabbis of Hebron, whose son, A. D. Slonim, manager of the Anglo-Palestine Bank branch, and his family were slaughtered together with others in his home, described the event to the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency as follows:
“On Friday morning I learned from Arab friends in Hebron that the Moslems had received instruction from the Mufti of Jerusalem to come with arms to Jerusalem and that the ‘government will not prevent.’ I also learned that local hooligans intend to attack the talmudical academy at Hebron. I immediately went to the District Officer, an Arab named Abdullah Kardus, to ask for preventative measures. I was not, however, admitted to his presence. At three o’clock Friday afternoon hooliganism and looting were already raging in Hebron. I attempted to speak to some of the disorderly groups, but because of that I was severely beaten. An American woman, Mrs. Bernstein-Sokolover, went to the Hebron chief of police, Mr. Cafferata, an Englishman, urging him to take measures to stop the hooliganism and the looting. She told him that the Chief Rabbi and the Jews of Hebron are protesting against the reign of terror. He refused to take any measures, telling her: ‘The Jews deserve it. You are the cause of all troubles.’
“Since I accompanied Mrs. Bernstein-I was forcibly taken home by several policemen. Simultaneously I observed that numerous busses filled with armed Arabs left for Jerusalem. Several hours later the same Arabs returned from Jerusalem. The police saw them but did not disarm them. It was they who participated in the slaughter the next day, Saturday.
“Friday night passed quietly. The police, armed, were patrolling the city.
“However, on Saturady morning, when a hundred Arabs, armed, began their slaughter of Jews, the police were unarmed.
HEBRON MASSACRE LASTED HOUR AND A HALF
“The massacre lasted an hour and a half. The hooliganism, incited by speeches to which they listened before, started a raid on Jewish houses with the cries, ‘Kill all the Jews.’ They broke into homes, breaking open the doors and in some cases through the roofs, murdering and pillaging and violating. They also broke into the synagogues and tore up the Scrolls of the Law.
POLICE FIRE WHEN ALL IS OVER
“When all was over, the police, again in possession of arms, fired a few shots in the air. The hooligans immediately dispersed.
“Forty Jews who were gathered in my house where they sought shelter and myself were miraculously saved by the grace of the friendship of the houseowner, an Arab shiek, who assured the assailants that ‘in the house were only the tenants, old Jewish friends.’
PLEAS TO PREVENT MASSACRE MEET DEAF EARS
“Two hours before the massacre occurred, I with Rabbi Franko, Sephardic rabbi, proceeded to the District Officer urging him again to take preventative measures, but he told us that there is ‘no ground for fear. A great number of police is available. Go and reassure the Jewish population.’
MISTREATED IN POLICE COURT YARD, REFUSED TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION WITH JERUSALEM
“After the slaughter, all Hebron Jews were taken to the police court yard. Our treatment there was extremely unfriendly. No food, no water, was given to us. Three hundred persons were huddled together in two or three rooms. We heard repeatedly hostile cries and complaints. All my demands for permission to telephone to Jerusalem were rejected. Only when Major Partridge from Gaza arrived, our treatment was improved.
“My demands to the Chief of Police to give us an escort to gather the torn
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