In the Nineteenth chapter of the Victor Guérin‘s “Description of the Geography, History and Archeology of Palestine,” located in the second book of the seven book series. The Author, starts sets of on a journey to discover Palestine. He leaves Jerusalem at 4:20 in the afternoon on May 11th, on May 12th the Frenchman leaves Khirbet Bouktiari (خربة بكتياري) at 5:45 AM
By 1:30 PM that day, the traveler is shown a small village sitting atop a mountain. The village is called Er-Ras, which he translates to the summit. The year was 1868 and the population of the village would have been around 80 people and around 8 houses. Had Monsieur Guérin visited it like he visited the larger village of ,he would have probably met one of my ancestors
My Grandfather lived in Ras Abu ‘Ammar, that was his hometown. In 1948 it was “depopulated.” How sterile are the post-tragedian words we use. No, it wasn’t depopulated, they were kicked out, with threat of violence. The stories of Deir Yassin were fresh in their minds. Deir Yassin was a place familiar to my grandparents, it was on their way to Jerusalem. That short tread to the city which my grandfather took often to sell produce or find work.
The distance was a three hour walk according to my father. 12 Kilometers according to maps (as the crow flies) and 16 kilometers as a trek or hike.
The stories of mutilation and rape in Deir Yassin stuck to their imagination and forced them to live in fear until that doomed day on October 21st 1948, these guys showed up and kicked my family out of Ras Abu Ammar. Some of the Palmach members that de-populated the village were born in Germany, some in Poland, some in Jerusalem, but regardless of their place of birth, they believed that they needed a clear way forward from the western locations that they inhabited to Jerusalem.
This was ethnic cleansing, this was land theft and this was organised terrorism.
I am bothered by how little information about this village is moving from one generation to the next, especially those in the diaspora.
I tried to collect all the data about this village here in one place, perhaps that will help future generations stay in touch with it. Should I say her?
There were 8 Km2 of land. With a population 620 in 1945. This is Wikipedia data that is easily discernible from the 1945 Department of Statistics books. I tried collecting all the data that I could gather and I appreciate all the help I got from Wikipedia editors in finding references and from everyone who contributed