1898 German emperor visits Jerusalem.
(photo credit: American Colony-Jerusalem-Photo Dep)
The Library of Congress has recently digitalized a collection of over 10,000
photographs, taken by the "American Colony" in Jerusalem, a group of Christian
utopians who lived in Jerusalem between 1881 and the 1940s. The photographers
returned to the US, and bequeathed their massive collection to the Library of
Congress in 1978. The collection includes Winston Churchill's visit to
Jerusalem, Jewish expulsions from the Old City during Arab riots, and the
building of Tel Aviv.
The German Emperor's visit to Jerusalem on October 29, 1898 was a major historic
event, reflecting the geopolitical competition between the German Empire,
Russia, France and the British Empire. Emperor Wilhelm II and his wife were
received with open arms by the Ottomans collapsing under the weight of centuries
of corruption and still reeling from the aftermath of the costly Crimean War of
Preparations were undertaken
throughout Turkish-controlled Palestine: roads were paved, waterworks installed,
electrical and telegraph lines laid, and sanitation measures -- seen today as
basic -- were implemented. The Turks even breached the Old City walls near Jaffa
Gate to construct a road for the Emperor's carriages.
Jews of Jerusalem were caught up in the excitement. Some of the Jews with ties
to Europe were actually under the Emperor's protection. Others expected to
benefit from the Emperor's largess. And still others wanted the opportunity to
recite a rarely said blessing upon seeing a king, according to David Yellin, a
Jerusalem intellectual who described the visit in his diary.
The Jewish community constructed a large and
richly adorned welcome arch to receive the Emperor. The arch was located on
Jaffa Road (near today's Clal Building) and bore the Hebrew and German title,
"Welcome in the name of the Lord."
More photos can be viewed at www.israeldailypicture.com