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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 Ù¡Ù§ 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, 

Where Did the German Army March in Jerusalem on Good Friday, 1917? Help Find these Locations


    Good Friday, April 6, 1917 was also Passover Eve.

The Jews of Jerusalem were destitute.  Money from foreign Jewish communities had been cut off because of the war.  Breadwinners were absent, many forcibly conscripted into the Turkish army or hiding from the army.  But Jewish families did their best to prepare for the Passover holiday.

A parade of soldiers and a military band from the German army marching down the middle of Jerusalem broke the routine and brought Jerusalemites into the street, especially the young boys.  These soldiers were on their way to church services in the Old City on their holy day before Easter.

German fife, drum and horns lead the soldiers to Good Friday prayers. Note the onlookers.
Where was the picture taken in Jerusalem? (UK Imperial War Museum)
The Germans were allies of the Turkish rulers of the land. They served as advisors, commanders, and pilots in the war against the British and their allies.

These photos were taken by an "official German photographer" and were found in the archives of the British Imperial War Museum.
Where was the picture taken in Jerusalem?  Note the onlookers and the children, probably Jewish because of their caps.
(UK Imperial War Museum)
We invite our readers to study the photographs recently digitized by the Ottoman Imperial Archives.  Exactly where did they take place?  Photograph the modern-day location and send it to israel.dailypix@gmail.com. 

WW100: When Jerusalem Met Gallipoli 100 Years Ago; When Turks Met Jews on the Battlefield

World War I began in Europe in the summer of 1914 with major battles between the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary versus the Triple Alliance of the United Kingdom, France and Russia.  The Ottoman Empire (Turkey) joined with the Central Powers and attacked the British at the Suez Canal in January 1915.

In an attempt to put pressure on Germany and Turkey, Britain sent warships to the Dardanelle Straits in April 1915, planning sail up the narrow, 60-mile-long waterway to shell Constantinople and break through to the Black Sea to relieve German pressure on Russia.  Many of the ships were sunk or badly damaged up by Turkish shore artillery and naval mines and the rest were forced to retreat. A subsequent amphibious landing of British, French, Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli met with stiff resistance. A long eight month slug-fest ensued with an estimated 250,000 wounded and dead on both sides.


Ottoman soldiers departing Jerusalem through the Old City's Lions Gate in 1915. Destination: Gallipoli
(Ottoman Empire Archives)
We discovered the picture above in the newly digitized Ottoman Empire Archives with a caption explaining the Turkish troops were heading off to fight on Gallipoli.  The photo could explain the next two 1915 photos we found that were missing captions.


Was this picture of soldiers taken at the same time
 in front of the Al Aqsa Mosque?  The Lion's Gate is
very close to this location. (Ottoman Empire Archives)
This group of soldiers, also in front of the al-Aqsa
Mosque, is identified as having come from Medina
in the Arabian Peninsula. Was it taken before they
went to Gallipoli?  (Ottoman Empire Archives)













The Zion Mule Corps and Gallipoli

In The Zion Muleteers of Gallipoli, the author Martin Sugarman, wrote, "In March 1915 the Zion Mule Corps became the first regular Jewish fighting force to take active part in a war since the defeat of the Bar Kochba Revolt 2000 years ago. Some of its men later formed the core of what was to become the modern Israeli army."

The Jewish corps was formed in British-held Egypt and consisted of local Egyptian Jews, Jewish exiles from Turkish-ruled Palestine, and British officers.  Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Patterson commanded the unit; officers included Zev Jabotinsky and Yosef Trumpledor who were expelled from Palestine.  View more on the Jewish unit here.



A British soldier leading his pack mule with supplies for the front on Gallipoli (Imperial War Museum)









John Henry Patterson
The new Corps, Sugarman related, "was officially designated a Colonial Corps of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force and was to include a maximum of 737 men.... They were allocated 20 horses for officers and NCOs and 750 pack mules."

The Corps' mission was to take supplies, such as water and ammunition, to the fighting forces at the Gallipoli front. Often they were under heavy Turkish fire and bombardment.

Sugarman revealed, "Their courage even reached the ears of the Turkish Commander in Palestine, Djemal Pasha, who was indignant that a unit of Palestinian Jews were fighting against the Turks in Gallipoli.  To placate the Turkish authorities" Sugarman continued, "the Jewish Community in Palestine proclaimed it wrong to fight for the British, and even organized a protest against them in Jerusalem."

The Gallipoli War was an utter failure for the British.  All British and ANZAC troops were withdrawn in December 1915. The disaster at Gallipoli stained the reputation of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, who resigned from government.


But the Corps excited the Jewish world, and while the Zion Mule Corps was but a colonial, auxiliary, supposedly non-combat unit, it served as the inspiration and training ground for the Jewish Legion, Haganah, and the Israel Defense Forces.

Click on pictures to enlarge.  Click on captions to view the original pictures.

WW100 - The Ottoman-German Attack on the Suez Canal -- 1915

Mystery about this Picture Deepens. Ottoman Imperial Archives Is also Mistaken

Two years ago we published this Library of Congress photo and the caption identifying it as a "Turkish procession," taken sometime between 1898 and 1918.

Caption 1. "Turkish procession," dated between 1898 and 1918 (Library of Congress)
Caption 2. "Ottoman Palestine in World War I (1914-1917)" (Facebook, Ottoman Imperial Archives)
Caption 3."Ottoman Palestine, Ottoman Soldiers" (Flickr, Ottoman Imperial Archives)


With the recent Online posting of pictures from the Ottoman Imperial Archives -- including this photograph -- we hoped that we could get some answers to the "who, what, where" questions. 

The mystery only got deeper.  

The procession is not Turkish and these are not Ottoman soldiers.

The people in the procession are most definitely Jews -- Sephardic, Haredim, and modern.  

The procession is not in Ottoman Palestine or dated between 1914-1917 or 1918.

The presence of at least one British soldier means that the photograph was taken after 1918 -- after the British captured Jerusalem in December 1917.  

The day was not a major Jewish holiday or Shabbat -- 


Some people were riding on horses or wagons, nor were the men wearing their Shabbat finery.


Perhaps they were going to or coming from a funeral -- 


There are very few women in the picture, in keeping with a Jerusalem custom at the time of women not attending funerals.


The picture contains 2 signs, including a sign post that could suggest where it was taken, but our graphics programs could not decipher the signs.



View some of the enlargements made from the photograph:








Jews in the procession





















A British soldier 









          Signs















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