Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center marks its 75th anniversary on Sunday.
addition to serving the varied local population, the hospital was needed in 1938
to serve the British Navy in the eastern Mediterranean and – with its rail
connection to Egypt and Damascus – bring wounded to the Haifa hospital’s
The opening was marked by a page-one article in The Palestine
Post, The Jerusalem Post’s predecessor.
On December 22, 1938, Sir Harold
MacMichael, the high commissioner for Palestine, dedicated “the finest medical
institution in the Middle East,” what is today the Rambam Health Care
According to accounts, published to mark the 70th anniversary
five years ago, after Hitler’s rise to power the threat of war hovered over
Europe and England began to prepare for it – The British mandatory government in
Palestine decided to construct a large and modern hospital in Haifa.
contract for the hospital’s planning was awarded to a wellknown Jewish architect
from Berlin, Erich Mendelsohn, who had studied and absorbed the Bauhaus school
of architectural design and had already planned some of the most impressive
buildings in Palestine.
The cost of construction totaled 120,000
Palestine pounds, and it took some three years to complete.
strove to plan buildings in his new homeland that would integrate the local
scenery, climate and culture and thereby symbolize its creation. Mendelsohn’s
buildings visibly expressed his principles of light and air, comfort and
functionality, causing the construction supervisor to claim that the structure
had too much space devoted to windows.
The hospital consisted of two
buildings – one with five floors housing 225 beds and nurses’ dormitories, and
the other three floors for operating theaters, day clinics and a lab.
contractors – an Arab and a Jew – were commissioned to do the
A covered walkway connected the main building to one-story
huts where the British patients were housed, so as not to be under the same roof
with the “natives.”
Today, Rambam is the largest and most advanced
medical center in the North, serving patients within Israel and from outside its