Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Egyptian Mobs Pierce Eyes of Jews; Kill Rabbis Savagely; Jewish Situation Alarming

August 5, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The situation of the Jews in Egypt was termed today as "highly alarming" by a Frenchman who returned from Cairo and gave the first detailed and uncensored report of the pogroms, mob violence, mass looting and terrorism which is now taking place throughout Egypt against the Jewish population.

Egyptian mobs, he revealed, killed three rabbis by splitting their throats, after dragging them into a Cairo slaughter house. He estimated that at least 150 Jews had either been killed or had "disappeared" in Cairo incidents during the last four weeks. A substantial number of Jews had been wounded, he said. The pogroms and anti-Jewish terrorism are tacitly encouraged by the passive attitude of the Egyptian Government, he charged.

The gravest single incident, he reported, occurred on July 20 at one of Cairo’s chief street car junctions, in Malika Farida Placo. An organized group of Egyptians ejected all the European passengers from several trolleys. All passengers suspected of being Jews were savagely killed on the spot, and many had their eyes pierced or were knifed, while non-Jews and Europeans were robbed of all cash and belongings. The police made no effort to intervene, the French visitor emphasized.

Of the large number of Jews in Cairo who have been wounded, he continued, 120 are now undergoing treatment in the Jewish hospital there and an unannounced number are in government or private institutions. Scattered incidents of knifing of Jews are repeatedly reported in various parts of the Egyptian capital, he said. The killing of three rabbis in the slaughter house took place on July 21, he reported.

Both Jews and Europeans were attacked earlier in July when they left large motion-picture theaters, the French traveler stated. The most violent of these attacks, he declared, occurred near the Odeon and Rivoli Theatres, in the center of Cairo, on July 17. The fury of the Arab mob sent 20 persons to hospitals. It was in that assault that one Henri Gaillard, a French national and an Olympics trainer, was fatally wounded by seven knife stabs. Gaillard fought back and succeeded in killing four of his assailants before he collapsed and died, the informant said.


On July 26, the Frenchman asserted, Jews living in Cairo in the neighborhood of the Royal Palace or in government-owned houses were ordered to move out within 48 hours. That order, he said, provoked a considerable number of "panic-stricken removals" in the course of which an Arab mob stole or destroyed the belongings of those evicted.

Since July 28, the informant reported, there has been some tightening up of security measures, apparently after strong representations were made to the Egyptian Government by Jefferson Patterson, the United States charge d’affaires, following the writer of Stephen Haas, a Philadelphia Jew. The informant revealed that Haas body was found knifed to death, castrated, with the nose and ears severed, at a point near the Citadel, although initial reports from Cairo stated that the Philadelphian had been stoned to death by an Arab mob.

Emphasizing that, in general, the position of Jews and Europeans in Egypt continues to be highly alarming, the Frenchman asserted that only those Jews who are now in Egyptian concentration camps feel comparatively safe. It was his impression that the Egyptian and other Arab military failures in Palestine had resulted in bitterness not against the Egyptian Governments and its leaders who were responsible for the Arab military fiascoes, but against the Jews who are their hostages.

Mass detention of Jews is continuing, he said, under the pretext that one or another Jew had insulted King Farouk or even because they had been found in possession of some Hebrew literature. There was widespread speculation among Europeans in Cairo over whether the continuing bombing of Jewish enterprises was committed by the Moslem Brotherhood or other non-official groups or by Egyptian Government agents, he declared.

Recommended from JTA