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Underground Prisoners Museum

The Underground Prisoners Museum in Akko tells the story of the prison from the perspective of the Haganah, the Irgun, and the Lehi prisoners.

It describing the cause of their imprisonment, their way of life in prison, the story of the Acre prison break and the story of 12 members of the pre-state Jewish underground who were hanged.

The museum is located in the Citadel of Acre which was built during the Ottoman Period over the ruins of a Crusader fortress, in Old Acre.

The fortress was first used as a government house and later, as a prison and barracks, as well as a weapons depot for the Ottoman garrison in Acre.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, some members of the Hashomer organization were imprisoned here by the Ottoman government.

During the British Mandate, it was called Mandatory Acre Prison, and served as the main prison in the north of the country.

Here, hundreds of members of the Haganah, the Irgun, and the Lehi were imprisoned, along with Arab and Jewish criminal prisoners.

They were imprisoned because of their struggle to defend the Yishuv and their fight against mandatory rule and their right to establish a national home in the Land of Israel

The first prisoner during British military rule was Zeev Jabotinsky, father of the Revisionist Zionism movement and later creator or the Irgun.

Then, that April Jabotinsky and nineteen other members of the city’s defense were imprisoned during the 1920 Palestine riots.

In the early 1930s, illegal immigrants were detained in the prison. 

Later, in 1937-1938, about 200 members of the Revisionist Zionists were arrested according to the Emergency Regulations of the Mandatory Government and held here.

The following year 43 members of the Haganah platoon course in Yavneel, 10 Haganah members from Kibbutz Ginosar and 38 Irgun commanders in the Jordan Guard were imprisoned here.

However, in May, 1947, Irgun forces broke into the prison and freed 41 prisoners, including 30 Irgun members and 11 Lehi members.

Unfortunately, 3 members of the rescue team and six prisoners were killed outside the prison walls by the British police and military.

Among the fallen was Operation Commander Gondar Dov Cohen.

In the end 27 prisoners managed to escape, however, 8 were recaptured along with 4 of their rescuers.

Three out of the five men captured were sentenced to death by a British military court.

In addition, 8 Irgun members and 1 Haganah member were hanged here:

Shlomo Ben-Yosef, Mordechai Schwarcz, Dov Gruner, Yechiel Dov Dresner, Eliezer Kashani, Mordechai Elkachi, Yaakov Weiss, Avshalom Haviv, and Meir Nakar.

The tour highlights the struggle of the underground fighters to establish a national home for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel and the main values ​​under which they operated – Zionism, love of the land, heroism, and sacrifice.

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Visit

The tour is by appointment only and lasts about 90 minutes. 

For ticket prices, visiting hours, and contact information, see the Underground Prisoners Museum website.

The website is in Hebrew, but all the relevant information is in the footer at the bottom of the page.

You should also visit the Museum of the Underground Prisoner in Jerusalem which is located in the Jerusalem British prison.

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