Deutsche in Palastina und ihr Anteil an der Mod-ernisierung des Landes. Edited by JAKOB EISLER. Abhandlungen des Deutschen Palastina-Vereins, vol. 36. Wiesbaden: HARRASSOWITZ VERLAG, 2008. Pp. xi + 207, plates. [euro]48
Even before the first aliyah (1882-1903), German Christians had begun to perform ministry and to settle in what would become the territory of the nation of Israel. In contrast to contemporary Anglican efforts to convert the Jews of Palestine to Christianity, idealistic Germans on the one hand established schools and hospitals for the natives and hostels for pilgrims, and on the other founded agricultural colonies whose operations would introduce modern methods and tools of husbandry to a backward Ottoman province. In these undertakings, men and women from pietistic circles in the Kingdom of Wurttemburg were particularly well represented.
The present volume presents fifteen contributions (two in English) to a conference commemorating these early European pioneers in Israel/Palestine, entitled "Wurttemberg in Palastina" and held in Stuttgart June 13-15, 2003. (For table of contents, see http://www.harrassowitz-verlag.de/dzOartike1/201//001/1876_201.pdf?t=1227015586.)
The coverage here is exhaustive. from surveys of missionary and humanitarian activity by Martin Luckhoff, Ruth Kark, and Dietrich Denecke, to special studies of the patronage of Jerusalem's Lutheran Erloserkirche (Jurgen Kruger) and Roman Catholic Marienlcirche (Oliver Kohler) by Kaiser Wilhelm IL the career of early-twentieth-century Holy Land photographer Paul Hommel (Jakob Eisler; several of Hommel's photos are among the plates), and the establishment and operation of the Syrisches Waisenhaus in Jerusalem by the Schneller family (Hermann Ehmer).
Most interesting to this reviewer, however, are the several essays on the Wurttetnberg Templers, who despite their name had nothing to do with the earlier Knights Templar. A pietistic sect founded in 1859 by Christoph Hoffmann. the Templers established their first settlement in Haifa in 1869. and by the outbreak of the First World War also had colonies in Sarona. Jaffa, and Jerusalem, as well as rural holdings named Wilhelma (near Jaffa), Bethlehem (in the Galilee), and Wilhelma (near Haifa), at which point they numbered around 2200 souls. Their contribution to the modernization of agriculture in Palestine was considerable (see essay of...