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A Prisoner’s Experience

A Prisoner’s Experience – April 16, 2015
Today, April 16, 2015, we visited the old city of Acco(Acre). One stop was the Acco Prison. This prison has a very interesting story, and was used by the Crusaders during the Crusades, and the British during the British Mandate. The British imprisoned Underground Jewish movements such as Etzel(Irgun Zva’i Leumi) and Hagana. Many were just kept as prisoners, but a few were hanged. Arab POWs were also held at the prison, along with Political prisoners. Among the well known prisoners are Ze’ev Jabotinsky, very important to the Jewish revolt against the British, and Baha’u’llah, very important to the Baha’i faith.

Inside the prison, artifacts from the prisoners are found. Additionally, there are bronze figures of guards, prisoners, visitors, to enhance the experience.

When first walking in, there is a bridge over what is now a dry moat. Greeted first by an armed soldier, you next approach the guard distributing uniforms, and depending on your specific conditions and sentence, you are handed a uniform. You also receive two winter outfits, two flannel shirts, two long woolen pants, one pair of sandals, an I.D. tag, a sleeping mat, a coconut sleeping mat, one summer blanket, three winter blankets, two woolen winter vests, two pairs of socks, and one head cover. You must weave your own mattress from rags.

Those sentenced to death were hanged; most sang Hatikvah during their last moments of life. The executions were carried out very early so as not to cause a fuss. Because of this, the victims sang loudly to wake the other prisoners, who would join in for support. The gallows and the pre-execution cells had a very eerie vibe. It was so different from what I expected; everyone was quiet. And then we sang Hatikvah- the echo, the atmosphere, the experience. It felt so real, as if we were all supporting a fellow fighter.

Everything about the prison made me realize how hard we really fought even just for recognition as a nation.

– Jazzy