Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the Chabad House in Mumbai to mark the first anniversary of the attack


Rabbi Berel Gansbourg, left, a close friend of fallen Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg;
 Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Rabbi Chaim Mendelsohn, director of Chabad of Centrepointe in Ottawa; and Rabbi Yosef Kantor, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Thailand, walk towards the Chabad House in Mumbai, India, one year after terrorists stormed the center, murdering its directors and four of their guests.
(Photo: Jason Ransom/PMO/Canadian Federation of Chabad Lubavitch)

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid tribute to the victims of the Islamic terrorist attack on his visit to the Chabad's Nariman House in Mumbai India on Monday November 16th, to mark the first anniversary of the event.

Six Jews, including Chabad Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were murdered in the attack, but their two year old son Moshe was saved by their Indian nanny.


Rabbi Yosef Kantor led the tour, taking Prime Minister Stephen Harper
 and his wife Laureen to all of the damaged center’s rooms.

Harper was taken around the building by Rabbi Yosef Kantor, Director of Chabad Lubavitch in Thailand, who showed the rooms and floors on which the attacks took place. The building has not been restored. Sheets of plastic cover several sections of wall that were blown completely open. Many floors are riddled with bullet holes show evidence of larger blasts.

Rabbi Yosef Kantor says it is still too painful to decide what to do with the property.


Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper described his tour of the damaged Chabad House in Mumbai
 as a show of solidarity. (Photo: Jason Ransom/PMO/Canadian Federation of Chabad Lubavitch)

He spent a few moments of silence in memory of those killed during the brutal attacks. Harper then lit a candle in the area where the guests of Chabad House used to pray, in front of the Holy Ark which used to contain the Torah scrolls before they were damaged by bullets which Kantor says rendered them invalid.

Later, he also interacted briefly with a few of the assembled Jews and condemned the attacks. The Chabad House is barely a kilometer away from Hotel Taj Mahal Palace & Tower in Colaba.


After the tour, the prime minister lit a candle in memory of fallen Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries 
Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg and their four Jewish guests.
(Photo: Jason Ransom/PMO/Canadian Federation of Chabad Lubavitch)

A reporter for the Indian DNA news wire who visited the Mumbai Chabad House Sunday said he saw a pair of small shoes in a fourth-floor apartment of the six-storey building. 

"The mattresses and pillows, used by the rabbi's family, were wrapped in transparent plastic sheets, which did not hide the blood stains on them," he wrote.

"A first-floor room, which used to be the dining room, still looked as if the mayhem had taken place just a day before. The walls were riddled with bullets; at places, there were blood stains. On the ceilings and the floors were deep dents made by grenades.

"On the fourth and the fifth floor, where the rabbi's family used to live, bore many more testimonies to the tragedy. There were crumpled belongings of Moshe and his parents scattered on the floor. In the kitchen were several half-burnt candles. Perhaps, they were used by the terrorists after power supply to Chabad’s Nariman House was cut off during the rescue operation.

"On the third floor was a prayer room. It used to have shelves full of religious books, which used to attract lots of visitors. Half of those have gone missing. The remaining has been sealed by security agencies.

"The first floor of the building, where the three American passport-holding Israelis were killed, was in complete mess. Hundreds of cans of packed food were strewn on the floor. Perhaps, the Holtzberg's had stored them as they used to serve food to many people everyday.

"The lift of the building had been badly damaged — its doors blown away. It will have to be replaced. Water and electricity connections, which were severed after the attack, will be restored."

Harper is an outspoken friend of Israel and is close with the Chabad Lubavitch movement in Canada. He attended the Chanukah Menorah lighting & latkes celebration at the home of Rabbi Menachem & Rochel Matusof in Calgary in 2005, the Chanukah Menorah lighting ceremony last year in Calgary city hall, marking the 20th anniversary of Chabad Lubavitch in Alberta and inaugurated the Chabad of Flamingo Shul in Thornhill Ontario last March


Rabbi Menachem Matusof presents a bountiful piece of artwork of the 20th Annual Community Menorah to
 Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his visit on parliament hill on Thursday, March 12, 2009