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The Great War in Visual Memory: Rare Jewish Photographs from World War I

This week a hundred years back, the first World War ended, in which 18 million people died, out of which 8 million were civilians.

Not only was is a devastating war on its own, it also left us with some of the horrible illnesses of the 20th century: Nazism, Fascism, Bolshevism, to name a few. Even some of the Middle East conflicts, and the everlasting instability of states such as Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, are rooted in that war and its ending terms.

World War I was one of the first wars in which Jews participated in masses as soldiers in the armies of both battling sides. In some countries, mainly Germany and Austria-Hungary, processes such as assimilation and equal civil rights for the Jews, increased their motivation to serve their countries. Many Zionist leaders had high hopes of a British victory in the Middle East, which were eventually actualized.

Numerous Jewish heroes were discovered during the war, which was the first one to be recorded on film. The photo collections of The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot included many photos recording the Jewish story in “The Great War” of 1914-1918.

 

 Jewish Soldiers in the Austro-Hungarian Army, Transylvania, World War I (1914-1918)

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Alisha Roten

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Alisha Roten

 

Jews from Lublin area fleeing from the front lines during World War I, Poland, 1916. Photo taken by the German Army during World War I

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Polska Akademia Nauk, Warsaw

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Polska Akademia Nauk, Warsaw

 

Dr. Benno Greenfelder, physician in the Austro-Hungarian Army, examining a soldier’s wounded leg, World War I (1914-1918). Dr. Benno Greenfelder was born in 1883. He specialized in pediatrics quit and joined the German Army during World War I. After the war he came to Eretz Israel and was nominated Director of the Children’s Ward at the Hadassa Hospital in Jerusalem. He was the first Professor of pediatrics in Eretz Israel

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Dr. Noach Ginot

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Dr. Noach Ginot

 

Jewish soldiers in the Russian army during World War I (1914-1917)

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Ruth Goldzweig ne'e Goldschmied

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Ruth Goldzweig ne’e Goldschmied

 

Jews praying with Jewish POW from Russia in World War I (1914-1918). Postcard

Beit Hatfutsot, The Gross Family Collection

Beit Hatfutsot, The Gross Family Collection

 

German Jewish soldiers visiting their family during World War I (1914-1918)

From Beit Hatfutsot Exhibition: "Danzig, Treasures of a Destroyed Community”, 1983

From Beit Hatfutsot Exhibition: “Danzig, Treasures of a Destroyed Community”, 1983

 

Rosa Karplus (ne’e Anker) (3rd left), nurse in the German Army in World War I, c1916. She was born in Danzig in 1887 and died in London in 1981

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of George Fogelman

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of George Fogelman

 

Jewish soldiers in the Austrian Army during in the southern front celebrating Hannukah, World War I (1914-1918). The ceremony was conducted by Rabbi Dr. Samuel Link of the Austrian Imperial Army. Photo taken by the German Army during World War I

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Polska Akademua Nauk, Warsaw

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Polska Akademua Nauk, Warsaw

 

Julie Meguedes (ne’e Temam), a volunteer in the military hospital of Tunis, in World War I, Tunis, Tunisia, 1914-1918

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Vita and Irene Hayoun

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Vita and Irene Hayoun

 

Jews imprisoned in a detention camp in the Isle of Man 
as citizens of enemy countries, England, World War I (1914-1918)

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, Manchester, Polytechnic Studies Unit

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, Manchester, Polytechnic Studies Unit

 

Chaio Albaz, son of Lea Albaz, born in Constantine, Algeria in 1892. He served in the French army as a translator, and was killed in WWI in the Dardanelles in 1916.

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Michael Allouche

Beit Hatfutsot, the Oster Visual Documentation Center, courtesy of Michael Allouche

 

Jewish soldiers in the British Army during World War I in their camp near Jerusalem, Eretz Israel, 1917-1918

Jewish soldiers in the British Army during World War I in their camp near Jerusalem, Eretz Israel, 1917-1918 The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, Rolf Kneller Collection

The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, Rolf Kneller Collection

 

Beit Hatfutsot