U.S. Archives Jews' Expulsion

A massive photographic treasure documenting the Jewish presence in the Old City of Jerusalem long before 1948 was unearthed last month in the U.S.

Chana Ya'ar, | updated: 18:21

Jerusalem expulsion of Jews 1929
Jerusalem expulsion of Jews 1929
Israel news photo: US Library of Congress

Every now and then, a treasure is unearthed not by archaeologists digging in the ground, but by historians and others seeking information among the stacks of books in a library.

Writer and analyst Lenny Ben David was doing exactly that when he came across a massive Library of Congress photo archive of life in Palestine, circa early 1900s. Prior to its rebirth as a commonwealth, the lands of the State of Israel were all referred to as Palestine by the British.

Ben David, a former diplomat and lobbyist, writes on his blog, “As I skimmed through the pictures, one theme caught my eye – the expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem. Time and again.” 

Expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem, 1936  (Israel news photo: courtesy of Library of Congress)

Works of art that depict the Roman destruction of the Holy Temple and the Jewish people being led from Jerusalem into captivity in 70 CE are not uncommon. 

But Ben David saw that the Library of Congress had carefully archived photos of Jews being evacuated during Arab pogroms in 1929 – the same year the Jews of Hevron were massacred – and in 1936.

The archive also contains photos by Life Magazine photographer John Phillips, who in 1948 managed to catch on film the horror and tragedy of Jews once more being captured or expelled from their homes in the Old Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter by Jordanian soldiers.

“Too many times,” writes Ben David. “It led me to post a photo essay: The Jewish People Will Not Be Expelled from Jerusalem Again.”

In the essay, he made sure to include shots of the Jews' expulsion from Jerusalem in 1929, 1936 and 1948 – to remind, and to ensure that it can never happen again.


 




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