Friday, March 28, 2014

"Austrian" or "Australian," What's the Difference?
Plenty If You Were a Soldier Fighting in Palestine in WWI

Jewish soldiers in the Australian (sic) Battalion standing next to the Western Wall, 1916. (Harvard  
Library/Central Zionist Archives)  The soldiers were actually from Austria.
The photographer, Ya'akov Ben-Dov, moved to Palestine  in 1907 from Kiev. He was
drafted
 into the Ottoman army during World War I and served as a photographer in Jerusalem
World War I was not only waged in Europe, but across the Middle East as well. The armies of Turkey, Germany and Austria fought the British Empire's armies from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and India.  The Austrian soldiers in the picture above marched into Jerusalem in 1916.

[Another copy of this Kotel photo -- damaged -- appears elsewhere in the Harvard Library collection with the correct caption of "Austrian" soldiers.]

Update, April 2: We received the following note from a librarian in Harvard Library's Judaica Division:
We are  in the process of updating the caption to read "Austrian soldiers" instead of "Australian soldiers".  The caption should be updated within one or two days.  Thank you very much for alerting us to this error.

The Australians arrived in Palestine with General Allenby's troops in 1917, and were famous for their daring cavalry charge that captured Be'er Sheva before German and Turkish troops could blow up the wells of the oasis.

Austrians marching into Jerusalem, 1916 (Library of Congress, American Colony Collection)

Australian Light Horsemen in Jerusalem (1918) in a badly damaged Library of Congress photo

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