Jewish Death Toll Now at 25 in Palestine; Arabs Slay Catholic
Menu JTA Search

Jewish Death Toll Now at 25 in Palestine; Arabs Slay Catholic

Download PDF for this date

Mistaking him for a Jew, Arabs early this morning shot and killed an Austrian Catholic during a foray into the Jewish quarter’s Street of the Prophets. The Arabs escaped.

The victim, Karl Breitinger, 45, had been in Palestine eighteen months.

Tanks and armored cars patrolled various districts in northern and southern Palestine today following a week-end of terror which saw three more Jews slain in cold blood by Arabs, bringing the Jewish death toll since April 19 to twenty-five. (Official estimates of the Jewish dead put the number at twenty-three.)

Renewed panic spread through the Jewish quarter of Rehavia here when Arabs fired from a speeding automobile into a Jewish barber shop in the vicinity of the headquarters of the Jewish Agency for Palestine. Windows of the shop were broken, but no casualties were reported. The Arabs escaped.

Using bloodhounds, police arrested an Arab on suspicion of having killed Breitinger. The bloodhounds led them to the home of Ismail Nashashibi, near the Nablus gate of Jerusalem.

The Arab who, with an automatic revolver killed three Jews and wounded two others as they were leaving the Edison cinema house, is still at large, it was established today. The only person thus far arrested in connection with the slayings is the Arab driver of the car in which the murderer is alleged to have made his escape.


Jerusalem resembled a besieged city last night as a city-wide curfew was proclaimed after slaying of the three Jews.

The streets were devoid of civilians and the population was behind locked doors. Large forces of seed-helmeted soldiers patrolled the streets. The general silence was broken by occasional shots of unknown origin fired in many parts of the city.

Barbed-wire barriers were erected around every police station as protection against possible surprise attacks. Exemptions from the rigid curfew order were given to privileged newspapermen who carried special permits.

The dead are Alexander Polonski, Isaac Yalowski and Dr. Zvi Shabchovsky, all Polish citizens. Dr. Plosser and Israel Ashkenazi were wounded. Dr. Shabchovsky was from Grodno and had been in Palestine only three months.

The Polish consul general invited the American, Czechoslovakian and other foreign envoys to form a delegation to interview High Commissioner Sir Arthur Grenfell Wauchope on security for foreign nationals. A number of foreign consuls visited their nationals in various quarters of the city.

High Commissioner Wauchope summoned an urgent conference of high Government officials, even calling Eric Mills, head of the Immigration Department, from his sickbed. The Executive of the Jewish Agency for Palestine held an all-night session.


The Arab Supreme Council decided yesterday to continue the general strike against Jews, now entering its second month.

An Arab during the day fired at but failed to hit an aged Jewish woman passing in the Sharrei Zedek quarter of Jerusalem. He escaped. The Jaffa prison was bombed and its doors and windows damaged. Several armed Arabs were caught after a fire had been set in wheat fields at the Jewish Agricultural school in Mikveh Israel.

Failure of the Government to issue a reward for the Jerusalem murderer aroused indignation among Jews today. The Jewish National Council posted placards urging a two-hour stoppage from work and trade in protest and in mourning for the victims.

Hebrew newspapers and Jewish leaders blamed the Government and High Commissioner Wauchope for laxity which they said resulted in bloodshed.


“The Government is responsible for the bloodshed; we must take care of ourselves,” declared Isaac Ben Zvi, president of the Jewish National Council, addressing thousands of Jews at the funeral of the three victims of the Arab attack.

A communique issued by the council said the High Commissioner had refused Ben Zvi’s offer of mobilization of Jewish youth under Government supervision.

Newspapers condemned the Government for failing to arrest Arab terrorists while arresting five Jewish youths on charges of carrying arms and searching several Jewish houses.

Fishel Washitz, a leader of the right-wing Zionist Revisionists, declared at the funeral: “The victims are the last we will give to the Arabs and to the Government. We will no longer permit them to kill us.”

The speeches were made at the Hadassah Hospital gates, which were draped in black and surmounted by a black-bordered Zionist flag. Three buses heavily guarded by steel-helmeted British police carried the bodies to the Mount of Olives for burial where other speeches were made by Rabbi Moshe Blau of the Agudath Israel, extreme orthodox organization; Rabbi Meier Berlin, head of the Mizrachi orthodox Zionist body and Berl Katznelson, son of the Jewish National Council. The speakers laid responsibility for the deaths on the High Commissioner.

The procession was led by a guard from the Histadruth, Palestine labor federation. All Jewish stores were closed during the funeral. The Hebrew University was also closed because Polonski, one of the dead, was a student there.

The funeral in Jaffa of an Arab killed by police on Friday passed without incident.

Numerous incidents reported overnight include the bombing of British barracks in Beisan, Jaffa and Acre; uprooting of trees in the American Jewish colony of Raanana, north of Tel Aviv, and in the colonies of Karkour and Tel Mond; and the stoning of Jewish buses and killing of cattle in other Jewish colonies.

A rebellion by 400 Arab prisoners at Nursham last night was crushed by guards who killed one of the prisoners and wounded many others.

Evening trains between Lydda and Haifa were ordered discontinued, the official reason being given as lack of passengers.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund