Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Flood that Almost Destroyed Tiberias,
A Scottish Medical Museum Gives Up Its Photo Secrets

A main street in Tiberius. The worst flood struck in 1934. This photo is dated
1938. (All pictures are from the University of Dundee's Unlocking the Medicine
Chest, Torrance collection)
The Galilee town of Tiberius has suffered hard times over its two millennia -- invading armies, plagues, and earthquakes.  Yet, it almost always remained a Jewish center for religious study where the Mishnah and the Jerusalem Talmud were compiled.

But in recent history, probably nothing has devastated Tiberius as much as flash floods, particularly a freak storm and flood that struck the town in May 1934, ostensibly after the Holy Land's rainy season.

Vehicles stuck in Tiberias flood (1938)
Five thousand residents were made homeless by the two days of flooding which led to mud and rock slides that cascaded down on the city, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency report at the time.  More than 30 people died.

Clean-up from 1926 flood
Also view the newsreel film of the flood below, from the Spielberg Archives at the Hebrew University. It was the first Hebrew language news film.

Click on pictures to enlarge and on captions to view the original photo.

The doctors of the Scots Mission Hospital documented the damage of several of the floods, and their photographs can be found in the University of Dundee medical archives.

Original caption: "Such a mess!"

The aftermath of a flood

Boy rescued from the mud at the Scots Mission Hospital

Not so lucky. Body of child pulled from
the mud. (Torrence collection, but the
photo was taken by G. Eric Matson of
the American Colony Photographic

"The Tiberias Catastrophe" (Spielberg Jewish Film Archives)

1 comment:

  1. The tree and brush plantings by the British and the State of Israel in what is now called the "Swiss Forest" has helped alleviate some of the flood and especially the mud slides into Tiberias.