Museum of the Underground Prisoners, Jerusalem

4.1
#26 of 60 in Museums in Jerusalem
Museum of Underground Prisoners is a museum in Jerusalem, Israel, commemorating the activity of the Jewish underground—Haganah, Irgun and Lehi—during the period leading up the establishment of the State of Israel.
The museum is located on Mish'ol HaGvura Street in a building in the Russian Compound that served as the central prison of the British Mandatory authorities. The building was erected as a hostel for Christian pilgrims towards the end of the Ottoman period, when the European powers sought to strengthen their hold on Palestine. The Russian Compound, built outside the Old City, included a church, a hospital, and pilgrim hostels for men and women. The inscription "Marianskya women's hostel" can be seen in Russian above the entrance.
In 1917, the British conquered Palestine from the Ottoman Turks. The Russian compound became a British security and administrative center known as "Bevingrad." The women's hostel was transformed into the central British prison. With long hallways leading to separate rooms, it was an ideal layout for a prison. Over the course of the British occupation, hundreds of prisoners passed through its gates. Jews and Arabs were incarcerated together. While the facility housed many death-row inmates, members of the Jewish underground sentenced to death were executed in Acre. The British, fearful of the Jewish reaction to executions in the holy city, never used the gallows for Jews. In each cell, one prisoner was appointed supervisor and given a bed. Prisoners from the Jewish underground were put to work making coffins and gravestones for British policemen and soldiers who had been killed in attacks by Jewish underground groups. As the guards used to tell them, "What you start on the outside, you finish on the inside." The wire fence, bars and inscription "Central Prison Jerusalem" on the door are from the British Mandatory period (1917–1948).
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Museum of the Underground Prisoners Reviews
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Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • We were just walking around in Jerusalem from Ben Yahuda Street and stumbled across this museum. It is not the greatest museum ever and staff are not overly friendly, but that is common in Israel so n...  more »
  • Shame that so poorly maintained. Exhibits (electronic) not functioning, brochures explaining photos out of stock . Wasted so much time trying to get things to work, then, we're told museum is closing ...  more »
Google
  • One of my favorite places to show people around. This is all about pre- state Israel. You really get the feel of the prison as you walk around. There are 2 movies, 1 to give you the background and context of the prison and time period and another emotional movie that depicts what life was like for the imprisoned ladies in other places. There is good English literature and explanations as you walk around. The last part of the prison can be very emotional if you comprehend what transpired there.
  • A very emotional place to visit where many young men paid the price for establishing the state of Israel at the gallows. Photos and exhibits of real heroic people who laid down their lives to secure a future for generations to follow. Located right behind Jerusalem City Hall / Municipality.
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