Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Deaths of Meir Feinstein and Moshe Barzani

Continued from previous posts:

The Russian Compound, Jerusalem

Prisoners sentenced to death waited to ascend the scaffold in the cells in this room.

The beds and scarlet jumpers of those sentenced to death.

Moshe Barazani, a Lehi fighter, was accused of attempting to harm a British Army Officer and was sentenced to death.

An on-site memorial to Meir Feinstein, Etzel fighter, and Moshe Barzani, Lechi fighter.

Meir Fineshtein, an Etzel (Irgun) fighter, was caught following the sabotage in the Jerusalem railway station. During the action, Meir was injured in a British ambush and lost his arm. The soldiers found him bleeding in hiding in the nearby Makor Haim neighborhood. He was sentenced to death.

The Gallows in the British prison. Behind the noose is the national anthem, sung by many prisoners before execution.

The British, who had not dared to sentence Jerusalem Jews to death until then, decided this time to execute the death sentence here in the prison.

The solitary confinement cell.

The two, who shared one cell, determined to emulate the hero Samson, and to take with them the group of officers who were supposed to observe the hanging. At their request, two improvised grenades made by their fellow prisoners and concealed in an orange peel were transferred to their cell.

A mock-up of the hand grenade

On the evening before their hanging, Rabbi Goldman came to visit them. He sat and spoke with them for a long time. The Rabbi promised to return in the morning to be with them in their last hour, at the time of the execution of their sentence. The two understood that they could not carry out their plans and harm the group of officers while there was a Rabbi among them. They therefore decided to emulate King Saul and take their own lives, so long as the hand of British rule did not touch them.

Prisoners have related that, after the rabbi left the death cell, the loud clear singing of "Shema Yisrael" was heard coming from it and, upon the last words of the song - "..and I shall deposit not only my spirit, but also my body, the Lord is with me and I am not afraid" - the sound of an explosion was heard.

Their comrades understood that the hand of the British could no longer touch these two.

The two are buried outside the compound.

Throughout the thirty years of the prison, one Rabbi would serve the hundreds of inmates who passed through the prison's iron gates.

Coming up next, the story of Rabbi Aryeh Levin...

No comments: