Friday, October 7, 2011

Phenomenal 1918 Film Clip of Jerusalem

A screen capture from the 1918 film (YouTube)
In honor of Yom Kippur, we break away from our normal presentation of Library of Congress still photos.  Attached is a rare eight minute film found in the collection of an Amsterdam Jewish family and posted on YouTube by Ya'akov Gross of Israel.

The film, consisting of many clips, was taken after the British capture of Jerusalem in late 1917.  It shows the Jewish and Arab markets, the Dome of the Rock, worshippers at the Western Wall, Rachel's Tomb, Jews on their way to the Western Wall (covering their faces lest they be filmed on Shabbat), and much more. 

Appears to be a British
soldier. Screen capture
from the YouTube clip
The YouTube contributor, Ya'akov Gross, points out in his comment on YouTube that the British soldier in the film -- note the soldier's leggings, cap and sidearm -- (at 0:50) indicates that the photo was after 1917.  Mr. Gross adds that the film shows the Ottoman clock tower at Jaffa Gate that was taken down by the British in 1920.
Here is Mr. Gross' comment in Hebrew: 

כיצד תיארכתי את 1918? בארכיון זה רשום: ?- 191 ויש שסוברים כי הסרט צולם בתקופת התורכים. מגדל השעון המופיע בסרט הוסר ב1920 - כלומר זה לא צולם אחרי. בסרט חולפים חיילים בודדים במדים בריטים בדקה 0:50 ליד שער שכם וכ"כ ליד הכותל. לעומתם יש גם שוטר במדי המשטרה העות'מנית בדקה 4:08 (בתחילת השלטון הצבאי ב1918 עוד הסתובבו במדי התורכים). יש גם הרבה תיירים בבגדים אירופאים, שבאו לבקר אחרי הכיבוש. בשווקים יש גם מזון וסחורה . מצרכים היו חסרים מאוד בימי התורכים. הסרט צולם כנראה לעידוד תיירות יהודית לא"י.


  1. Odd for two reasons that its dated 1918.

    Not one British soldier or policeman is shown.

    And the city seems relatively normal in trade and commerce. Peaceful and placid.

    This was not the case in 1918. People were starving. Jewish girls turned to whoring for the British. The city was damged by war.

    I would like to see proof of 1918.

    1. A British soldier is seen in the beginning of the film walking in front of Damascus Gate from left to right. The film also shows the Turkish-built clock tower at Jaffa Gate that the Brits took down in 1921.
      The city of Jerusalem was undamaged in the fighting because the German commander ordered the withdrawal of troops so that the holy sites would not be harmed.