A memorial ceremony was held on Thursday in Hevron for the 67 Jews murdered in an Arab pogrom in the city 81 years ago. Relatives of those slain in the pogrom were present for the event.
Also in attendance were public officials, Jews from Hevron, and representatives from the Hevron Yeshiva, which was relocated to Jerusalem following the massacre and has remained there since.
Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Ferbstein spoke about the meaning of the saying, “The land of Israel is acquired with suffering.” Rabbi Ferbstein is a descendant of Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein, who headed the Hevron Yeshiva during its time in the city of Hevron and afterward.
Noam Arnon, spokesman for the Hevron Jewish community, told those present that the victims of the massacre were an ethnically diverse group, united by the fact that they were all Jewish. He spoke of the need to rebuild Hevron for the sake of the entire Jewish people.
Shlomo Slonim, who survived the massacre, recited Kaddish, the traditional prayer of mourning. Slonim was one year old when he lived through the pogrom despite sustaining stab wounds; his father, mother, four-year-old brother and maternal grandparents were all slain.
The Hevron massacre took place on August 23 and 24 of 1929, and followed Arab incitement, including claims made by Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amin al-Husseini that Jews were planning to cause damage to Muslim holy places. It was accompanied by acts of torture and rape. A similar massacre took place in Tzfat, where 18 Jews were murdered.
Sixty-seven people were murdered in the Hevron pogrom, among them women and children. Several of the Jews who survived were saved by Arab neighbors who hid them during the killings.
Following the massacre Jews were expelled from Hevron, putting a temporary end to hundreds of years of Jewish life in Hevron. The expellees were forced to abandon their homes and other property. Some homes have been reclaimed by the renewed Jewish community of Hevron.