Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Some Great Answers to the Mystery Jerusalem Pictures taken on Passover Eve in 1917

Within minutes we started receiving answers from readers as far away as New Zealand suggesting the locations of these pictures of German soldiers marching down Jerusalem's streets during World War I.  Below are some of the answers, but we await pictures of how the streets look today today.

Marching on Good Friday/Passover Eve 1917
Marching on Good Friday/Passover Eve 1917

A reader named Simon sent this answer: 

The first picture is lower down Jaffa Road nearly at the Jaffa Gate: the building at the top left is the old Hotel Fast where the Jerusalem Pearl is today (with "Fast" just visible at the edge of the photo). Many of the same buildings are visible at http://cdn.loc.gov/service/pnp/matpc/20400/20457v.jpg  

The second picture is outside Jaffa 17 (note the number ١٧ in Arabic numerals near the top left), along what is now the light-rail line outside the Municipality complex at Kikar Safra. The same shop fronts, arched doorways and balconies are still visible in Google Street View, not much changed.  -- Simon 

Compare the features on these buildings in this picture from February 1941. (Library of Congress)
We actually planned to present this 1941 picture, similar to the one Simon mentioned, to show the buildings 24 years later.  It shows Australian soldiers greeting the Australian Prime Robert Menzies and the commander of the Australian troops in Australia, Lt. Gen. Thomas Blamey.

The "Matson Photo Service," shown in this picture, was a breakoff from the American Colony Photo Department, the creator of hundreds of pictures featured in this site. Some 20,000 of Eric Matson's photographs were donated to the Library of Congress where we discovered them.

* From Jane: Greetings from NZ, The first picture looks like Jaffa Road and the building on the horizon looks like it is on the intersection with King George V Street. So the children in the foreground would be passing where Ben Yehuda street starts. But as I don't have any photos in front of me, I couldn't be sure. I have forwarded these pictures to my Israeli friends to see if they can assist. Kind regards,  Jane, Manakau

* From Gil: The bottom photo is shot on the south side of Jaffa Road in front of the Armenian Block opposite the British-built city hall.  Chag sameach  -- Gil, Nachalat Shiva, Jerusalem 

* From Gideon:  I still have to figure out the location of the German procession, but you may notice at the bottom right of the second photo two boys in uniform, one of whom is dressed very similarly if not identically to the "British soldiers" that you pointed out in the recent "mystery photo." This reinforces my opinion that the uniform in question is not a military one at all, but one of many that were used in schools and colleges. The other boy is wearing another variety. Thanks again for the pictures which are an unending source of interest and pleasure. Hag Sameah, 

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