These photographs are from the Library of Congress collection. The first photograph — our title page — is a view of Jerusalem and was taken between 1860 and 1880 by Frank M. Good, according to the Library. But we can narrow down the dates a little further. The photo shows the Churva Synagogue dome on the left horizon between the two mosques’ domes. The Churva was finished in 1864.

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Jerusalem
Most of the Library of Congress pictures are from photographers from the “American Colony” in Jerusalem, a group of Christian utopians — often eccentric — who lived in Jerusalem between 1881 and the 1940s. They returned to the U.S. and bequeathed their massive collection to the Library of Congress in 1978. The photos were digitalized in recent years.

A history of the American Colony Photography Department can be found in Jerusalem’s American Colony and Its Photographic Legacy by Tom Powers and in an Institute for Palestine Studies article, Western Consumption and “Insider” Commercial Photography. Unfortunately, the latter article pays little attention to the photographs of Jews and Jewish sites.

 

The rest of this article is devoted to photographs from the Library of Congress collection on the massacre of Hebron.

On the eve of the anniversary of the Hebron massacre on August 24, Israel Daily Picture is re-posting these photographs which we uncovered in the American Colony collection in the Library of Congress archives.

Today’s leaders of the Hebron Jewish community told us last year that they had never seen the photos before.

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The destruction of the Avraham Avinu Synagogue in Hebron in 1929
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Synagogue desecrated by Arab rioters. Hebron. Large Torah Scroll in a jumbled heap on the floor
 

Background to the Hebron massacre. After the British army captured Palestine from the Turks in late 1917, the relationship between the British and the local Arab population was characterized by tension that sporadically erupted into insurrection over the next 30 years. A destroyed synagogue. Torah scrolls strewn on the ground

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Enlargement of scroll showing Deuteronomy 1:17
 

The Arabs of Palestine were led by the powerful Husseini clan who controlled the offices of the Mufti (religious leader) as well as the Mayor of Jerusalem. For decades the clan had opposed European colonialism, the growing power of foreign consulates in Jerusalem, Christian and Jewish immigration and land purchases. After the 1917 Balfour Declaration expressed support for “a national home for the Jewish people,” Husseini added “Zionists” to his enemies list. The clan leveraged its power and threats of violence to win over Turkish and British overlords, to challenge the Hashemite King Abdullah, and to hold off competing clans such as the Nashashibi, Abu Ghosh, and Khalidi clans.

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Jewish home plundered by Arab rioters in Hebron. Blood-stained floor covered with wreckage.
[Haj Amin el Husseini fled Palestine in 1937 to escape British jail and eventually found his way to Berlin where he assisted the Nazi war effort. He died of natural causes in Beirut in 1974.]

On Yom Kippur 1928, Jews brought chairs and screens to prayers at the Western Wall. This purported change of the status quo was exploited by the Mufti, Haj Amin el Husseini, to launch a jihad against the Jews. Husseini’s campaign continued and escalated after a Jewish demonstration at the Kotel on Tisha B’Av in August 1929. Rumors spread that Jews had attacked Jerusalem mosques and massacred Muslims. The fuse was lit for a major explosion.

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Synagogue desecrated by Arab rioters. Sacred books torn and scattered on the floor.
 

Starting on Friday, August 23, 1929 and lasting for a week, attacks by enraged Arab mobs were launched against Jews in the Old City in Jerusalem, in Jerusalem suburbs Sanhedria, Motza, Bayit Vegan, Ramat Rachel, in outlying Jewish communities, and in the Galilee town of Tzfat. Small Jewish communities in Gaza, Ramla, Jenin, and Nablus had to be abandoned.

The attack in Hebron became a frenzied pogrom with the Arab mob stabbing, axing, decapitating and disemboweling 67 men, women and children. At least 133 Jews were killed across Palestine. In 1931, there was a short-lived attempt to reestablish the Jewish community in Hebron, but within a few years it was abandoned until the Israel Defense Forces recaptured Hebron in 1967.

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August 23-31, 1929 riots. Jewish home plundered by Arab rioters in Hebron. Floor covered with wreckage.
The British indulged the Arabs and responded by limiting Jewish immigration and land purchases.

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The 1929 riots, August 23 to 31. Jewish graves of riot victims. Large common graves under olive trees, Hebron. Later the grave was destroyed
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Today in Hebron: A recent Jewish service in the rebuilt Avraham Avinu Synagogue (with permission of photographer)
 


According to the Library of Congress, “there are no known restrictions on publication” of their photographs.
This article is archived at the August 22, 2012 edition of Israel Daily Picture
http://www.israeldailypicture.com/2012/08/the-hebron-massacre-august-24-1929-re.html
IsraelDailyPicture.com is a wonderful site. Click here to see other photos from other times.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Your photographic display evidences the deadly, destructive fanatic violence wreaked upon JEWISH holy places and holy books in 1927- decades before the existence of a JEWISH STATE- mimicing THE BLODDY pogroms by CHRISTIAN MOBS AGAINST JEWISH SYNAGOGUES, SCHOOLS, HOMES, STUDY HALLS, AND CEMETERIES IN THE THE MIDDLE AGES EVEN THE JEWISH DEAD WERE NOT SAFE FROM ANTISEMITIC HORDES THEN AND EVEN IN THE 20TH CENTURY.
    WHY ARE CHRISTIAN AND MOSLEM RADICAL SO FEARFUL OF JEWS AND JEWISH VALUES? WHY DOES THE
    EXISTENCE OF A SINGLE JEW CONSTITUTE THE IMAGINED PRESENCE OF A CANCER CELL THAT NEEDS TO BE IMMEDITELY DESTROYED LEST IT INFECT THE CHRISTIAN AND MOSLEM COMMUNITIES?
    SIMPLE?
    THE FANATICS ARE RIGHT ! THE JEWISH PRINCIPLES OF DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM, DIGNITY OF THE
    COMMON MAN ARE INFECTIOIOUS !! ONCE THE COMMON CHRISTIAN OR MOSLEM MAN CURRENTLY UNDER THE OPPRESSIVE RULE OF MOSLE3M OLIGARCHS AND CHRISTIAN CLERICS THEY MIGHT GET UPPITY TO THE POINT OF WANTING TO OVERTHOW THEIR MOSLEM OR CHRISTIAN OVERLORDS!!

    MY, MY! SOMETHING LIKE THE PROTESTANT REVOLUTION AGAINST ROMAN ERELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL HEGEMONY OR SOMETHING LIIKE THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AGAINST OPPRESSIVE ENGLISH RULE
    IN THE COLONIES IN 1776 !1

    WOW ! IF THE ARAB MOSLEMS HAD INDEED BEEN ALLOWED TO LEARN, STUDY AND INTEGRATE THE
    FEARED JEWISH IDEAS OF INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM AND THE RIGHT TO PERSONAL RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
    AND HAD OVERTHROWN THEIR OLIGARCHICAL MOSLEM OVERLORDS PERHAPS THE ARAB WORLD TODAY
    WOULD BE UTTERLY DIFFERENT I.E. FILLED WITH COMMUNITIES SIMILAR TO BOSTON, SAN FRANCISCO,
    DENVER, ATLANTA, COPENHAGEN, ANTWERP, HELSINKI, PARIS, TOKYO, VENICE, ETC…FREE, OPEN, THRIVING!
    WHAT DO WE HAVE NOW? IN SAUDI ARABIA, OM\NE OF THE RICHEST COUNT4RIES IN THE WORLD, A CHRISTIAN WHO OPENLY PARAYS TO JESUS IS SUBJECDT TO IMPRISONMENT AND A WOMAN WHO DRIVES A CAR WITH OUT A GOVERNING MALE IN THE CAR MIGHT BE STONED IN 2019 !!!

    NO WONDER THE ARAB MOSLEM LEADERS AND THEIR BRAINWASHED FOLLOWERS ARE PREPARED TO DIE]
    IF ONLY THEY HAVE JEWISH BLOOD ONN THIER HANDS OR AXES AND TORN, DESECRATRD JEWISH HOLY
    BOOKS AT THEIR FEET.
    CAPICE! do you now UNDERSTAND THE REASON WHY THEIR HATRED IS SO BITTER And their destructive
    madness is so relentless ??
    rabbi simckes
    bet shemesh

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