Israeli history photo of the week: The Arab revolt of 1936

JPost special feature: A Library of Congress collection of photographs that document Israel before the creation of the state.

September 15, 2011 14:33
1 minute read.

derailed train 1936 _311. (photo credit: Courtesy American Colony-Jerusalem-Photo Dept.)


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The Library of Congress has 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.

In 1936, organized Arab para-military groups attacked Jewish and British targets in mandatory Palestine. The ensuing revolt lasted three years and claimed the lives of over 5,000 Arabs, 400 Jews and 200 British soldiers.

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The Arab attacks against the Jews and British in Palestine were frequently directed against motor vehicles and railroads. These pictures from the Library of Congress-American Colony collection show the extensive damage to the trains and the special measures taken by the British, including armed escorts.

The British government's annual reports on the Administration of Palestine and Transjordan list monthly attacks against the rail system. According to the 1936 report, for instance, "During June 1936 there were 12 acts of sabotage on the railway, and on two occasions trains were wrecked, one of the derailments near Lydda on the 26th June causing four deaths and considerable damage to the line and rolling stock. In consequence of this act of sabotage, which followed closely upon an organized attack on the Civil Airport at Lydda, a curfew was imposed on the town of Lydda."

More photos can be viewed at

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