Head towards the northern part of old Akko, and you can’t miss the imposing Ottoman-era fortress which stands atop the ruins of a former Crusader fortress. Known by many as the Citadel, this building originally served as a government building for Akko’s rulers. It is now an impressive museum dedicated to the hundreds of members of Jewish underground organizations like the Haganah, Irgun, Etzel, and Lehi who were imprisoned here during British rule, which lasted roughly 30 years until 1948.
The museum presents the story of the prisoners’ struggle to defend the Jewish settlement and their right to establish a national home in the Land of Israel. Visitors will learn about the first prisoner, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and the defenders of Jerusalem imprisoned with him in 1920. The prison unfolds the story of the Oley Hagardom — nine prisoners sentenced to death who were hanged in the Akko prison (1938-1947). It tells of the famous story of the bold prison break in May 1947, as well as the story of the central groups of prisoners, prison routine, and more.
What’s on display
Operated by the Israel Ministry of Defense, the museum features an interactive display with original and reconstructed exhibits, a tour of the prison cells, and an account of the prison’s rich history.
What visitors will see
Visitors will experience the stories of the underground groups and modern Israel’s early struggles, emphasizing the values of the underground fighters, such as: Zionism and love of the homeland, valor, and sacrifice. The tour lasts approximately 1.5 hours and must be arranged in advance.
More than a mere exhibit, Museum of Underground Prisoners highlights a vital part of Israel’s history and struggle towards statehood. It serves as an eternal memorial to the Jewish underground fighters who helped pave the way for the modern State.