This is a WebSite I found on Deir Yassin. You will find testimony by my aunt Um
Mahmoud and her husband Abu Mahmoud. Thought you may be interested in lieu
of the topic of the next Potluck Dinner.
The following survivor accounts of Deir Yassin appeared in the Dossier
179/110/17/GS and were labeled "Secret" and were the result of an investigation
about 4 days after the capture of the village. They were not made generally
available for 25 years so it is difficult to assume it was made for anti-Irgun
propaganda purposes at the time. If anything keeping it secret indicates
the British protecting the reputation of the Irgun.
Journalists Larry Collins (UPI/Newsweek) and Dominique Lapierre (Paris-Match)
[authors of the celebrated Is Paris Burning?] reviewed the contents of the
reports for their bestseller O Jerusalem! (1972). They noted that the dossier
"contain[ed] the interrogation reports of the massacre's survivors by a team
of British police officers together with corroborating physical evidence
obtained through medical examination of the survivors by a doctor and nurse
from Government Hospital in Jerusalem." (p. 276)
Direct statements of survivors will follow. In any event, CID Deputy
Inspector General Catling concluded: "The recording of statements is hampered
also by the hysterical state
of the women who often break down many times whilst the statement is being
recorded. There is, however, no doubt that many sexual atrocities were committed
by the attacking Jews. Many young schoolgirls were raped and later slaughtered.
Old women were also molested. One story is current concerning a case in which
a young girl was literally torn in two. Many infants were also butchered
and killed. I also saw one old woman . . . who had been severely beaten about
the head with rifle butts. Women had bracelets torn from their arms and rings
from their fingers and parts of some of the women's ears were severed in
order to remove earrings."
Survivor statements from the reports are below. Collins and Lapierre
refused to use later Arab sources of atrocities so as to avoid the risk of
"any Arab tendency to magnify the events in retrospect." (p. 276) In conducting
their own journalistic investigation, however, the authors met with survivors
and noted that "their accounts in 1969 amply confirmed the details of the
[secret] British report." (P. 584)
SURVIVOR RECOLLECTIONS FROM DEIR YASSIN
Mr. Fahimi Zeidan, 12: "The Jews ordered all our family to line up
against the wall and they started shooting us. I was hit in the side, but
most of us children were saved because we hid behind our parents. The bullets
hit my sister Kadri [four] in the head, my sister Sameh [eight] in the cheek,
my brother Mohammed [seven] in the chest. But all the others with us against
the wall were killed: my father, my mother, my grandfather and grandmother,
my uncles and aunts and some of their children."
Ms. Haleem Eid, 30: "A man [shot] a bullet into the neck of my sister
Salhiyeh who was nine months pregnant. Then he cut her stomach open with
a butcher's knife."
Ms. Naaneh Khalil, 16, saw a man: "take a kind of sword and slash my
neighbor Jamil Hish from head to toe then do the same thing on the steps
to my house to my cousin Fathi."
Ms. Safiyeh Attiyah, 41: "I screamed but around me other women were
being raped too. Some of the men were so anxious to get our earrings they
ripped our ears to pull them off faster."
Mr. Mohamed Jaber, student, "The Jews [broke] in, [drove] everybody
outside, put them against the wall and shot them. One of the women was carrying
a three month old baby."
Source: alnakba site. 3 eyewitness testimonies of the Deir Yassin massacre
as told to journalist Elias Zananiri, previously published in 9.4.1997 in
"Gulf News". On the eve of April 9th 1948, armed members of Jewish underground
groups attacked the village, a strategic site towering Jerusalem from the
West. After the fall of Al Qastal a few days earlier and the killing of Palestinian
guerrilla leader Abdul Qader Al Husseini, Deir Yassin became the most important
point on the road to Jerusalem.
TESTIMONY I: M.A.R. Al Y. (Abu Mahmud) 70, currently lives in the Old
City of Jerusalem, below are excerpts from his testimony: "I was in the village
when the Jews attacked. I and my colleagues were on the western side of the
village, opposite Al Qastal. We had our guns on us. All villagers, mainly
the youths, were ready for whatever may happen after the Qastal battle was
"By 1630 on Thursday 8 April 1948, Abdul Qader Husseini was killed
as we were watching the battle from a distance. After his death, we took
precautionary measures in case anything would happen: We guarded the village
until 0230 the next morning when the Jews started entering the village with
the use of spot and search lights looking for our fighters."
"The Jews closed on the village amid exchanges of fire with us. Once
they entered the village, fighting became very heavy in the eastern side
and later it spread to other parts, to the quarry, to the village center
until it reached the western edge. The battle was on three fronts, east,
south and north. The Jews used all sorts of automatic weapons, tanks, missiles,
cannons. They used to enter houses and kill women and children indiscriminately.
The youths in the village fought bravely against them and the fighting continued
until it was around 1530 afternoon. We had no aid or support from any party."
"They took about 40 prisoners from the village. But after the battle
was over, they took them to the quarry where they shot them dead and threw
their bodies in the quarry. After they removed their dead and wounded, they
took the prisoners and killed them. They took the elderly prisoners, women
and men and took them out of the village, yet they killed the youths."
"They called on us to surrender, to throw our weapons and to save ourselves.
But we did not imagine them breaking into the village. We expected the fighting
to last one or two hours, after which they would retreat. But they continued
the fighting (...)."
"We had trenches. The Jews filled one of those trenches with sand and
rocks in order for their tanks to cross. When we hit the tank, it started
firing from its machine-guns at our positions in the western edge of the
"I remember, from what my uncle's wife told me, that an uncle of mine
who was a schoolmaster, had killed the commander of the invading gangs on
the staircase of one of the houses and later he disappeared for three days.
Then, they found him with his mother, originally from Latakia in Syria, they
saw him with her, his name was Ribhi Atiyyeh. She disguised him in women's
clothes to make sure that she could get him out of the village. They identified
that he was a man; they opened fire and killed him. That is what I heard
from my uncle's wife, but I did not see it happening before my eyes.(...)"
"After the June 1967 war, I met a Jewish eyewitness, Ibrahim Najjar
(Israeli of Arab extraction), who lived in Givat Shaul and whom I had known
before 1948. He took me to visit the village, as we arrived, I stood by the
well and read some verses from the Koran. He told me not to do that. "There
isn't anybody here. Come with me and I will show you were they were all buried."
He took me to the quarry where he said: "Here is where you should read the
Koran." Two Jews held a body of an Arab dead and threw it down in the valley,
some 20 meters in depth. That is were they threw bodies of the 14 martyrs
who were killed there."
TESTIMONY II: Um Mahmud, wife of Abu Mahmud, was 15 years old at the
time. "We were inside the house. We heard shooting outside. My mother woke
us up. We knew the Jews had attacked us. My cousin and his sister came running
and said the Jews were already in our garden. In the meantime, fighting became
heavier and we heard lots of gunshots outside. A bomb was thrown at us and
it exploded close to where we were in the yard. (...) My sister- in-law did
not want to leave. She was frightened. The girl was two months old and the
boy about three. I took the two and my mother said we should go to my uncle's
house. I saw how Hilweh Zeidan was killed, along with her husband, her son,
her brother and Khumayyes. Hilweh Zeidan went out to collect the body of
her husband. They shot her and she fell over his body (...). I also saw Hayat
Bilbeissi, a nurse from Jerusalem serving in the village, as she was shot
before the house door of Musa Hassan. The daughter of Abu El Abed was shot
dead as she held her niece, a baby. The baby was shot too (...).
Whoever tried to run away was shot dead."
TESTIMONY III: A.Y.J., Abu Yousef, also 70 years old. He lives in Am'ari
refugee camp near Ramallah. "(...) After the battle, the Jews took elderly
men and women and youths, including 4 of my cousins and a nephew. They took
them all. Women, who had on them gold and money, were stripped of their gold.
After the Jews removed their dead and wounded, they took the men to the quarry
and sprayed them all with bullets. (...) One woman had her son taken some
40 to 60 meters away from where she and the rest of the women stood by, and
shot him dead. Then they brought Jewish kids to throw stones at his body.
They later poured kerosene on his body and set it ablaze while the women
watched from a distance. We later collected ourselves, & checked who
was missing. At Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem, we were gathered by the Arab Supreme
Committee. Each of us was looking for a son, a daughter, a sister or a mother.
All men were busy fighting. Eyewitnesses were only women. The elderly men
were told to remove the dead, both Arabs and Jews. They took the bodies of the
Jews and left the Arab bodies until they later were thrown in a well in the