Built during the Ottoman Turkish period on Crusader remains, the Acco fortress served as a military barracks and jail. It remained in use during the British Mandate between 1917 and 1948 housing both criminal and political prisoners, Jews and Arabs.

At the end of WWII, when the British refused to allow the immigration to Palestine of the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, the members of the Haganah, Etzel (the Irgun) and Lechi waged a war against the British to force them to change this policy. Hundreds of members of these illegal organisations were imprisoned in the Acco jail together with those who had succeeded in entering Palestine without British issued certificates.

In April 1947 four members of Etzel and Lechi were hung without an opportunity to appeal their sentences. In May, using explosives which had been smuggled in food packages, the wall of the Acco prison was breached. In the confusion hundreds of Arab prisoners also succeeded in escaping together with the Jews. Three members of Etzel who had taken part in the jail break were caught and hung in July 1947.

The regular cells, those used for solitary confinement and the gallows are all part of the museum.

Text content copyrights: Bein Harim Ltd., Beryl Ratzer (www.ratzer.com)

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