Aharon Hershler, a chareidi Jew, was the first victim of Arab terror in the contemporary era, and 150 years after his death, a memorial service will be held at the famed Yemin Moshe windmill.
Around the same time as Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, Hershler immigrated to Palestine from Hungary and settled in the Mishkenot Shaananim area close to Jerusalem’s walls.
He was a Torah genius who studied at Kollel Shomrei Hachomos and served as one of the heads of Kollel Ungarin.
The courtyard water cisterns of Jerusalem were all filled in 1872 due to a deluge of rain. Because the Jews did not have to pay the Arabs in Silwan, a nearby neighborhood, hefty charges for water, they decided to steal and plunder the Jews instead.
Aharon, a 23-year-old guarding the windmill that functioned as the warehouse for flour, attempted to fend off the Arab robbers on the first of Teves 5633 (5th of January 1873), when they tried to plunder several Jewish enterprises.
Twelve bullets were fired at him by the Arabs, who were terrified of being recognized by Hershler.
He was then taken to the hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries a few days later and was buried in Har Hazeisim. His wife, young daughter, parents, and siblings all survived him.
The windmill has been restored as a tourist attraction, and JLM initiatives, which oversees the site’s activities, have chosen to pay a special tribute to Aharon Hershler and to move the windmill’s blades on Israel’s Remembrance Day to symbolize the mourning for Hershler and the 24,000 victims of Arab aggression.
The robbers broke into the home of an avreich who lived close to the Montefiore residence, according to the Jerusalem chevra kadisha, which recorded the incident.
He awoke abruptly, rushed after them, and when they realized they were in trouble, they “threw arrows at him,” causing him to fall to the ground and die on Teves 6th, shocking the entire city.
The 95-year-old Bilhah Shamir, who was not yet born when her father was killed, remembers hearing the tale of Hershler’s bravery from her grandmother.
The statement made by Shamir is that “everyone in Meah Shearim knows Hershler’s story and is proud of him to this day.”