Thursday, April 23, 2015

Life and Death of a Jewish Courtyard in Jerusalem's Old City

A scene in a Jerusalem courtyard in the Jewish Quarter, April 1917 (Imperial War Museum Q 86316)

The picture of this Jerusalem courtyard in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City was taken by a German army photographer during World War I and was found in the British Imperial War Museum.  Jerusalem at the time was ruled by the Ottomans. 

The distinctive arches on the building on the right identify it as the Rothschild Building, part of the Batei Machaseh compound built for Jewish residents of the Jewish Quarter.  It was donated by Baron Wilhelm Karl de Rothschild of Frankfurt.  The building still bears the Rothschild family's coat of arms. The compound was built between 1860 and 1890 to provide housing for Jerusalem's poor.



The Rothschild Building appears in a series of dramatic Life Magazine photographs taken by John Phillips during the Jordanian capture of the Old City during the 1948 war. The arches can be seen on the left side of these pictures; the picture above was a reverse view of the ones below.  The first was taken in the midst of the fighting in June 1948, and the Jews are seen gathering their belongings for their evacuation.  The second picture, taken in July 1948, shows the looting that took place.  The pictures appear in the DaledAmos blog.


Jewish Quarter courtyard prior to evacuation (Life Magazine, John Phillips)


Jewish Quarter after the evacuation and looting (Life Magazine, John Phillips)


Phillips' last picture shows the Jews' evacuation from the Old City under the guard of Jordanian Legionnaires.  The Rothschild Building serves as the backdrop to the tragic picture.



Jewish refugees heading to the Zion Gate near the Rothschild Building

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating post and great photos. Thank you so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete