Heara 4 - Big Comment

Dec 26 2002

Old Central Prison of Jerusalem - Underground Prisoners Museum

Old Central Prison of Jerusaem - Underground Prisoners Museum

December 05 2002

The building was originally built in the years 1856 - 1864, as a hospice for lady pilgrims, as part of the Russian Compound. The Russian government bought this plot to build on a compound of hostels for pilgrims that came in thousands in the end of the last century. In the middle of this compound you could see the beautiful trinity church. After the conquest of Jerusalem in 1917, the British located in this compound some of their headquarters. The hostels became then the police quarter, intelligent office (C.I.D.), courthouse and the immigration department. This building was turned into the central prison. The inmates of this jail had been criminals of all kinds: murderers, robbers, rapists and thieves. But among the inmates you could fine also illegal immigrants, political prisoners they were the greater part, most of them undergrounds' prisoners of the Hagana, the I.z.l. ("Irgun"), and Lehi (stern group). In the twenty's of the last century the prison include about 250 prisoners, towards the end of the British period, 550 and even more. After the foundation of the state of Israel' this building served as storages for the Jewish agency, a book publishing and the Zionist archive. In the end of 1991 the building became a museum of undergrounds prisoners.The building was renovated and restored as a British prison - cells, workshops, kitchens, infirmary solitary confinements, gallows, the warden office etc.