Museum of Underground Prisoners

Museum of Underground Prisoners 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.History of the buildingThe 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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