Antonella Di Domenico*
The analysis of the holdings of the Italian consulate in Jerusalem collected in the Historical Archives of the Foreign Ministry in Rome is among the work pursued by Open Jerusalem in order to narrate an entangled history of citadinité – including the history of institutions, actors and practice, with a special attention devoted to unlocking archives – of a global city like Jerusalem from 1840 to 1940.
These records haven’t been inventoried yet and they are currently not available to researchers. The holding consists of 200 files divided into 4 deposits: 1936 (concerning records from 1863 to 1925); 1974 (concerning records from 1878 to 1951); 1976 (this memorandum of deposit has been recently discovered); 1995 (concerning records from 1936 to 1977).
The holding is located in the Foreign Ministry Archives, ‘Archivio storico consolati’ section (F1, F2), covering 22 linear meters.
The history documented by these records begins in 1872, the year of the establishment of the Royal Italian Consulate in Jerusalem. This holding contributes important information not only about the activities and the institutional life of the Consulate itself but also of the complex dynamics between the Consulate and the city of Jerusalem, its inhabitants and structures.
In order to retrace the history of these archives and how they are now organized in the Archives, you cannot skip the figure of Count Quinto Mazzolini, emblematic politician of the Fascist period. Brother of the more well-known Diplomat Serafino, Quinto Mazzolini was Consul General of Jerusalem from 16 September 1936 to 20 June 1940. He was the first person to deposit the records of the Italian consulate in the Foreign Ministry Archives.
During his stay in Jerusalem, especially in the troubled years of the outbreak of the Second World War, Mazzolini actively worked to organise the papers of his office. He deposited the first part of the records in 1936, when he identified the records of what he called ‘the old archive’, depositing these records at the Foreign Ministry in Rome where they constituted the first part of the archives of the Italian consulate in Jerusalem. In 1940, after leaving Palestine, Mazzolini deposited other papers to the Foreign Ministry. Being forced to leave the Consulate for security reasons, he tried to keep at least a part of the records safe.
As attested by a cable dated 8 February 1951 with the object ‘L’archivio del Consolato in Gerusalemme trasferito a Roma‘ (The Consulate archive moved to Rome) the history of the records further became more complicated during the war. A part of the records were burnt, while another part was delivered to the Italian consulate of Spain that had assumed the protection of Italian interests in Palestine. Other records were moved to Rome. In 1945, Mazzolini probably sent the missing part of the records of the ‘Ufficio stralcio’ (the Removal Office, responsible for closing the work of a suppressed institution) to the Foreign Ministry Archives.
The records from 1872 to 1977 cover a wide spectrum of topics: educational institutions, cultural institutes, commercial, financial and political relations, issues of privileges and protectorates, protection of religious orders, conflicts among different rites. The subjects and the history of these records are of large interest for the scope of Open Jerusalem.
This new fond is rich of important sources for reconstructing the relations between Jerusalem’s inhabitants and the institutions at that time.
In order to inventory the records and make them accessible to scholars, Open Jerusalem and the Historical Archives of the Foreign Ministry (particularly thanks to Stefania Ruggeri) have established a partnership that has already led to some archival interventions: overview of the files; preliminary analysis of the holding; first arrangement and reallocation of the files, the reconstruction of a filing plan and the drafting of a list of deposits which is becoming more and more analytical as the archival work proceeds. These interventions will conclude with the publication of the inventory of the fond of the Italian consulate in Jerusalem in 2017 that will be published by Open Jerusalem and the Italian Foreign Ministry Historical Archives.
* An extended version of this article was presented by Stéphane Ancel, Antonella Di Domenico, Roberto Mazza and Maria Chiara Rioli at the French School in Rome in the workshop about “The Italian Consular services and the long Risorgimento” (September 29-30).
Lucia Rostagno, La diplomazia italiana e il nazionalismo palestinese (1861-1939), Roma: Bardi, 1996
Nir Arielli, Fascist Italy and the Middle East, 1933–40, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010
Gianni Scipione Rossi, Serafino Mazzolini – Mussolini e il diplomatico. La vita e i diari di Serafino Mazzolini, un monarchico a Salò, Catanzaro: Rubbettino, 2005
Ambasciate, legazioni e consolati italiani all’estero del Ministero degli affari esteri, Rome: Tipografia riservata del Ministero degli affari esteri, 1950-1957
Antonella Di Domenico, Il fondo del Consolato generale di Gerusalemme nell’Archivio storico del Ministero degli affari esteri. Strutture originarie e versamenti, BA dissertation, University of Rome – La Sapienza, 2015
Antonella Di Domenico, Elenco del I versamento del fondo del Consolato Generale di Gerusalemme (1843 – 1925)
Stéphane Ancel, Antonella Di Domenico, Roberto Mazza and Maria Chiara Rioli are among the speakers at the workshop organised by the French School in Rome (September 29-30 2016) on the Italian consulates during the “long Risorgimento” (18th-19th century).
They will present their work on the fond of the Italian Consulate in Jerusalem, aiming at inventorying and analysing these undisclosed records, in the framework of the partnership between Open Jerusalem and the Historical Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
See the full programme here.
L’histoire de Jérusalem à la fin de l’Empire ottoman a longtemps été oubliée et mérite d’être racontée. On y croise un maire arabe polyglotte, un député ottoman franc-maçon, des Juifs levantins, mais aussi des archéologues occidentaux occupés à creuser le sous-sol pour faire ressurgir les lieux saints de la « Jérusalem biblique »…
La ville n’a pas toujours été un champ de bataille. À l’orée du XXe siècle, une autre histoire s’est esquissée, portée par l’émergence d’une identité citadine partagée entre musulmans, juifs et chrétiens.
Alors que la ville sainte est aujourd’hui à un nouveau tournant de son histoire et que la question de son partage se pose une fois encore, il faut se souvenir de cet « âge des possibles » qui peut livrer quelques clés pour mieux comprendre le présent et envisager l’avenir.
VINCENT LEMIRE est maître de conférences à l’université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée. Spécialiste d’histoire urbaine, il dirige actuellement le projet européen Open-Jerusalem, qui vise à rassembler toute la documentation disponible dans toutes les langues sur l’histoire de Jérusalem.
by Yann Potin
“Jerusalem is now become a central point of interest to France and Russia. It is no doubt the object of Russia to subjugate the primitive church of the countries.”
Letter from William Tanner Young, British Vice Consul in Jerusalem to Stratford Canning, ambassador of the United Kingdom in Constantinople, January 8, 1844.
Since the early surveys, the question of the documentation of the Russian presence in Jerusalem from 1840 constitutes a major challenge for the Opening Jerusalem Archives project. The recently increased and strategic presence of Russia in the Middle East, the presence of the archives both inside Jerusalem and abroad, undoubtedly requires patient investigation, specially because the records are not immediately accessible. Guided by previous research conducted by Elena Astafieva, we decided to identify in the Russian archives some relevant fonds in order to explore the intimate relations between the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian imperial patronage and the city of Jerusalem.
Between espionage and messianism: the Russian presence in Jerusalem
The pilgrimage to Jerusalem has been indeed of decisive importance for Russian Christianity since the 19th century, when the mystical value of the pilgrimage as an element of messianic tendencies within the Russian Orthodoxy got more interest. The number of Russian pilgrims to Jerusalem each year is then at least five times as numerous as the Catholic or Protestant pilgrims from Western Europe. Historians have noted and underlined this feature, indicating what strategic role it played in the Eastern policy of the Tsarist Empire (see for example the recent book of Lorraine de Meaux, La Russie et la tentation de l’Orient, Paris, Fayard, 2010, pp. 278-291). Marking its presence in Jerusalem, was for the Empire of the Tsars a way to penetrate the heart of its biggest rival, the Ottoman Empire, which he continuously persisted on eroding the boundaries since the eighteenth century. While until 1917 the Tsars continued to claim their right on Constantinople, sending missionaries to Jerusalem constituted also a form of diplomatic espionage. In parallel, a latent conflict or competition between the Greeks and the Russians took place, following ancient divisions within Orthodox Christianity. That is the reason why it is necessary to investigate the Greek archives (in Jerusalem, Athens or Istanbul) in order to have a better understanding of the Russian presence in Jerusalem. This presence was constantly growing and that’s why, in the 1880s, outside the walls of the Old City, near the hospital Notre-Dame-de-France, a wide hospice, known since then as the “Russian Compound“, was built. It could simultaneously accommodate more than 1,000 patients and pilgrims. It became quickly the first core of a real Russian neighborhood, nowadays integrated in the old part of West Jerusalem, making it not only a pavement in the history of diplomacy, but also a matter of urban development. This complexity raises the question of the scattering of archives regarding the relations between Russia, the Russians and the city of Jerusalem. The situation became even more complicated after 1917 when the Soviet Union seemed to lose interest for the Russian presence in the ‘Holy Land’ and until the pots-1948 concession of the Russian compound to the state of Israel. The eventual location, preservation and the very presence of the Archives in the building are still to be verified. A major Russian emigration to Palestine, also after internal schisms within the Russian Orthodox church, has never stopped during the interwar period, increased by the growing issue of Russian Jews, which formed a decisive part of aliyot to Israel and particularly Jerusalem.
The Russian missionaries and their records
An initial investigation about the first Russian missionaries was prepared during a meeting with Elena Astafieva on March 17 in Paris. Elena Astafieva has already published about the Imperial Palestine Society founded in 1881. Therefore she contributed to identify many records and archives. The first prospecting mission in Saint Petersburg archives conducted by Angelos Dalachanis, Vincent Lemire and Yann Potin took place in April 2016 (18-21).
One of the cultural activities of the Company until 1917 consisted in publishing sources and archival documents about the early years of the “Russian presence” in Jerusalem, as Derek Hopwood names it (The Russian Presence in Syria and Palestine, 1843-1914, Oxford, 1969). Historiography retains indeed 1843 as a founding date: this date corresponds to the secret mission held between December 1843 and August 1844 by the Archimandrite Porphyry Uspenski in Jerusalem, followed by a second mission between 1847 and 1854. However, the Russian ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem was officially recognized only in 1858, after the Crimean War. In 1865, the arrival of Antonin Kapustin at the head of this Mission opened a long period of activity and sustainable investments, until the death of Kapustin in 1894 (see the article by Lucien J. Frary ). Elena Astafieva indicated several possible accesses to the dispersed fonds of Antonin Kapustin: the Academy of Sciences (see image 0) whose archives collect part of the fonds Dimitrievski (fond 214), former secretary of the Imperial Society; the Historical Archives (RGIA) (see image 1) that gather a relevant part of Kapustin’s diary, including several volumes that are to be edited by the publishing house Indrik (see image 2), and finally the Russian National Library.
Archival oasis: the Archive of the Academy of Sciences of Saint Petersburg
Science Academy archives have been the main place of investigation during this mission (see image 3 and 4). Apart for the fond 214 (Dimitrievski, former secretary of the Imperial Society), we analysed the richness of the archives of Porphyry Uspenski – Fond 118 – following the suggestion of the director of the Academy archives, Irini Tunkina (see image 5), who warmly welcomed us and offered the Open Jerusalem project a guide to these archives (see image 6).
The fond 214 contains some correspondence of Antonin Kapustin (see image 7) in 1865-1874. Most of the letters received were in Russian, but an important part of them are in Greek. Decrypted by Angelos Dalachanis (see image 8), they show a close and complex relationship with the Greek or Arab Orthodox communities. Several letters in French or Italian testify the extension of Kapustin relations with the local society. In total, this correspondence represents nearly 4000 pages. It requires a detailed analysis, and an inventory describing each document would not help us find our way. We should therefore find another way to give value to the historical richness of these records.
The fond 118 is very complete. It is described by a printed inventory from 1891, six years after the assassination of Uspenski in 1885 by Sirku (see image 10). Numerous papers have been published from this fond, starting with the diary, extremely rich, by Archimandrite Porphyry Uspenski (Knyga Bytia moevo, 8 volumes from 1894 to 1910 see image 11 and 12) or several original reports and memoirs (the first in 1844) especially one by Bezobrazov in 1910. However, many biographical material, including official documents relating to its mission, the passport or the original firman (inventory 1, No. 30-31) remained unpublished. Furthermore, the materials on the two missions of Jerusalem are grouped into five registers (inventory 1, No. 32-36), which represent almost one thousand pages.
There are many account (otchets), memories (zapiska), drafts minutes and accounts (tetrad) mostly unpublished, which at least deserve a new investigation. They document mostly the period 1848-1854, corresponding to the second mission of Uspensky funded up to 10,000 rubles a year by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Charles Nesselrode. There are glimpses of the many “gifts” made to the Greek Patriarchate, the attempts to purchase or rent some buildings in Jerusalem (including a development plan), but also the episode of 1854 that shows Uspensky convincing the Greek Patriarchate Orthodox to establish an Arab printing press and the implementation of a seminary. These records require deep analysis, to distinguish what has already been published. Certainly this fond will be of considerable interest from the Open Jerusalem research program.
After this first survey in the Russian archives (see image 13), the team, guided by Lora Gerd, professor at the Historical Institute in Saint Petersburg, will continue the work in the archives of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. A second OJ mission is therefore organised from Sept. 11 to Sept. 16, 2016.
The Open Jerusalem project (full title: Opening Jerusalem Archives: For a connected history of citadinité in the Holy City, 1840–1940) is funded by the European Research Council (starting grant) from 2014 to 2019 and based at the Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée University in France. The project is directed by Vincent Lemire and run jointly with the researchers of the core team: Stephane Ancel, Yasemin Avcı, Leyla Dakhli, Angelos Dalachanis, Abdul-Hameed al-Kayyali, Falestin Naili, Yann Potin and Maria Chiara Rioli. Additionally, so far more than forty scholars from Europe, the Middle East, the United States and Canada have been involved in the project.
The Open Jerusalem project aims to unlock and connect different archives and sources in order to investigate the ordinary, entangled history of a global city through the lens of the concept of urban citizenship (citadinité). Citadinité is for a city what nationality is for a country and materializes itself in institutions, actors and practices. The project provides a bottom–up history of Jerusalem, a perspective that has been neglected by historians of the city, who have been generally preoccupied with ideological and geostrategic issues. This history is also a connected one because, within a complex documentary archipelago, the researchers seek points of contact revealing the exchanges, interactions, conflicts and, at times, hybridizations between different populations and traditions. The project is characterized by the scientific quality of its research tools, the close attention it pays to local archives and its unbiased openness to all demographic segments of the Holy City’s population. The transition of the project from an archival into an academic one is proceeding in three concurrent phases: the first involves creating an overview of the available resources, the second the organization of inventories and their presentation in a web portal and the third the development of a new urban history of Jerusalem from 1840 to 1940 through books and several other publications.
The project’s first international symposium, entitled “Revealing Ordinary Jerusalem (1840-1940): New archives and perspectives on urban citizenship and global entanglements,” is taking place at the Institute for Mediterranean Studies in Rethymno (Greece) on 10-12 May 2016. It aims to serve as a forum for deepening discussions and initiating scientific debates, with contributions from members of the Open Jerusalem team, scholars specializing in related topics, urban historians and specialists of the region.
by Eméline Rotolo
National Archives of France
The archives of religious congregations: an archival hydra
The archives of Catholic orders and congregations are hierarchically organized and this may translate into fragmentation in the conservation of holdings. First, the general archives contain the holdings of the general administration of the archives produced by the General Council and the General Father or Mother: correspondence, reports, publications. It also includes the archives and publications of the founder, as well as the following General Fathers or Mothers, characterized by extensive correspondence and often highly specialized work in different fields of research such as archaeology, linguistics, ethnology, etc. The Mother House ensures the conservation of these holdings with the support of one or more members of the congregations and orders, sometimes aided by trained lay people. Then come the holdings of the provinces, roughly equivalent to a country, and influenced by the provincial administration and life. After which remain the current archives of each community: for minor congregations sometimes they remain stored on site.
Three important institutions, since their establishment in Jerusalem linked with religious and diplomatic symbols they condense from the last quarter of the nineteenth century, namely St Anne’s Church and seminary, Notre-Dame de France hotel and the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, guided the first investigations by Vincent Lemire in September 2015 in the archives of the Mother Houses of the White Fathers and the Assumptionists in Rome. This second mission (February 1-5 2016) brought additional knowledge on Roman archival collections held by these two congregations of French foundation, installed in the late nineteenth century in Jerusalem. To provide a comprehensive mapping of the archives produced by the White Fathers and the Assumptionists in Jerusalem, further work should be considered in the provincial archives stored on site, in St Anne for the White Fathers and St Peter in Gallicantu for the Assumptionists.
An archive history: why?
In the second half of the twentieth century, religious orders and congregations devoted relevant efforts to conservation, classification and creation of finding aids for their archives, providing better access to researchers. The up to now available information about the White Fathers and the Assumptionists reveal different approaches and research tools.
However, even if a standardization effort was made in the drafting of finding aids, a first common observation is deplorable: the lack or even the absence of any contextual description. Actually, a brief description of the archive completed with producer’s identification elements would allow to define the content of documents and the choices of classifications taken according to the principle of “respect des fonds”. These types of essential information permit also to document the history of the conservation taking into account transfers, natural disasters or the loss of archives due to eliminations, all events that influence the fonds.
These elements, considering the territory and the period (Jerusalem, 1840-1940), present a relevant interest: the major European religious institutions in Jerusalem have been requisitioned, occupied and sometimes raged during the First World War (1914-1917). Details are provided by some archives, as in the correspondence of Fr Van der Vliet, White Father of Dutch nationality remained in St Anne during the hostilities. In a French transcription of the diary he kept during those times, he tells (December 4, 1914) the episode of the transfer of archives hastily hidden in a damp place, under an arch, behind a lapsed wall, in the St Anne seminar to a safer place. Again, in a letter of Fr Leopold Dressaire addressed to Fr Athanase Vanhove, both of them Assumptionists, he reports the state of Notre-Dame de France at his arrival (December 11, 1917) after the capture of Jerusalem: “Your papers, personal belongings, objects and papers of Fr. Germer, religious objects remained (most of these files was mixed with the books and the community and clothes and they could only be recognized by interested parties, another part disappeared). Everything that was at your use (lingerie, books, notes, correspondence, benefactors addresses, etc.) is preserved”.
This description shows the archives in desolating conditions and therefore requesting a reclassification work. Information that would be useful to gather in order to document the history of each holding and make intelligible the process that led to the final classification status is therefore missing.
The White Fathers: fonds classified and analysed according to the organization of the institution
Despite a certain timidity to put their archives into the historical perspective of their institutions, the implementation of useful research tools has to be acknowledged to both these congregations.
First of all, the White Fathers, thanks to their valuable online inventory, partly answer to the previous remarks with a brief presentation of their holdings in the introduction. They announce the main documentary typologies held in Rome: correspondence, reports, documents, publications from their founder, Card. Lavigerie, the General Government of the Company, its provinces and its members. This general state of the holdings in the form of a detailed digital inventory provides an overview of all the Roman records dealing with Jerusalem institutions, from their founding until very recent times. The last depositions, like for the MEL file 297: Jerusalem. Correspondence, with the annotation “These files were received from Jerusalem in June 1991,” as well as the most recent entries marked “2015 adding”, show the activity of the archive service.
This detailed digital inventory is based on a classification system respecting the logic of production and structure of fonds. It thus offers a structured analysis at different levels of description from general to particular, like for archives of the General Fathers, GEN series, classified and numbered – alphanumeric call numbers – in chronological order of succession of their role. Other relevant series include typologies such as personal folders (D.PERS), original diaries (D.OR) or copied (D.Cop), registers (REG.), photolibrary (PHOT.), maps, atlas, statistics (CART.); with some limitations, however, for the VARIA series or MEL. It is also noteworthy that three databases complete this detailed digital inventory for chronicles and annual reports, general councils and the conclusions of general chapters.
From the Assumptionist card index to the archives of the Jerusalem community: a not classified fonds or the result of a lack of internal organization?
The Assumptionists, meanwhile, have one more archaic but equally valuable research tool: a card index with thematic entries by “people”, “themes” and especially “places” covering up until the late 1970s. Vincent Lemire had fully photographed 158 index card for “Jerusalem” whose distribution is as follows: 99 index card titled “Jerusalem – ND de France”, 26 “Jerusalem – St Peter in Gallicantu” and 19 “Jerusalem – pilgrimage of”.
This card index provides an analysis of the documents considered most important at the time of the redaction of this research instrument. Essentially it is not an inventory and it contrast the general vision of the holdings. Unlike the digital detailed inventory of the White Fathers, it does not reveal a hierarchical classification from the upper level (the Generalship) to the lower (the provinces).
For researches on Jerusalem, all the related index cards must therefore be consulted. The accuracy of “ND de France”, “St Pierre en Gallicante” and “pilgrimage” can eventually restrict the consultation. If the major tasks of the community (education, pilgrimages) reflected, it is hard to recognize the responsibilities of key actors normally responsible to classify documents.
When the first index cards are examined analysis are only about an individual archive item or a small number of documents in favour of typologies than actions. Thus the letters of the General Father Vincent de Paul Bailly are scattered in seven articles when it should have been easy to classify them in a series of Generalship archives, a sub-series for those of Father Vincent de Paul Bailly and articles by chronological sections to classify the correspondence due to its function.
This fragmentation reveals, on the one hand, the gaps in the classification of holdings that should have followed the logic of archive producers and, on the second hand, the obsolete nature of this research instrument that doesn’t respect the archival logic of information’s non redundancy.
Other limits are noteworthy, as the presence of an alphabetical call number of the boxes, imitating a classification scheme, which is an irrelevant marker. Initially it might suggest a classification of all correspondence from Jerusalem in sections NS to NW, 1883-1956, but the correspondence of 1918 was forgotten while classifying.
Initially, we thought that all the correspondence from Jerusalem had been classified in sections NS to NW, 1883-1956, but the 1918 correspondence had been forgotten. It was immediately classified in the following box NX with, among others, a record on the construction of Notre-Dame de France, some records related to the First World War and accounting documents.
It’s the same for the ephemeris representing a distinctive typology deserving to be listed in series. Yet the records are divided in different box numbers: UT 2 for May 1891 – December 1892 entitled “ND de France chronicles” and mentioning “Following A 114-117” which seems to correspond rather to the registers 114-116 E (August 1891 – September 1898) but the ephemeris from May 1908 to December 1914 uses another letter B 187.
The choice of a card index, although coherent with those times, allows to hide these limits and the lack of a rigorous classification of the archives concerning Jerusalem. From the points raised so far, it is unlikely that a classification following the activities of the Province of Jerusalem has been accomplished. The current state reflects the deposits, with this system of non meaningful box numbers, where the fonds are fragmented and sometimes internally inconsistent (hence the choice of a card index).
Finally, we must emphasize that attached files have been extracted from the correspondence. Therefore it’s impossible to find the right documents they were attached to, although the presence of the card index. This action makes sense for certain types of items in order to constitute some series, like quarterly balances. However, other attachments require the support of the correspondence to be intelligible and yet find themselves separated from the letter; even worse, several sheets were divided through different articles.
This sheet containing four pages concerning surveys of archaeological objects, annexed to a letter of 31 July 1914, as the record indicates with red ink at the top, is now listed PJ 202. However, during our investigation, we accidentally discovered a second sheet number 5 in the box number PK. These examples therefore makes very difficult a comprehensive study of the entire collection from the card index, whose ratio behind the classification is also questionable. Numbered pieces rarely represent coherent records.
This final report of a disorder of Roman Assumptionist archives concerning Jerusalem may be due to a gap of classification of the fonds – as mentioned before –, to affect the current classification following the history of the fond or simply reflect the disorganization of the community and of the establishment they comes from. In this case, it is likely that the fonds has had to suffer from these three evils.
We still lack of answers about the history of the fond, including the conditions of the transfer of fonds from Jerusalem to Rome but also the possibility of a reclassification (some records present old call numbers). Lack of organization by the community of Notre-Dame France, seems to appear through the correspondence especially after the First World War: at that time, the community has to deal with financial difficulties and it demands to Rome a bursar to assist the Superior.
“Cleaning” the Assumptionist card index: a delivery attempt to conduct exhaustive flat?
Despite all these issues, the card index remains essential since it is the only key to enter the fond. Moreover, it has several advantages: a conversion of this card index to an excel sheet, highlighting, when possible, the origin of the document or record, would probably improve the vision of Assumptionist archives concerning Jerusalem.
We propose to transcribe the card index using the best descriptive standards because, following the existing analysis, many fields may remain empty.
This conversion could bring out the grouping that had to be made during the classification. To proceed, a standardization of terms must be conducted. From these groups, a summary could be recreated in xml format for online consultation of a structured inventory. This proposal would also avoid to lose information about agents, authors and producers of the documents.
The card index “people” presents some gaps: Fr Moitraux, author of a war diary, has no record, although he appears in the index card “place” as author of the mentioned document.
The purpose would be to create a methodical finding aid containing all the additional Assomptionist fonds collected in Rome, Paris and Jerusalem. Surveys are to be carried out in Paris, while the Assumptionist Fathers of Jerusalem requested Open Jerusalem contribution and collaboration.
Despite all these archival considerations, our mission mainly focused on the theme of the First World War in both the two archives and discover fragments useful in the perspective of a global history of Jerusalem at that time. However, other tracks emerged in order to retrace the daily life in Jerusalem. The Augustinian Fathers of the Assumption, the main organizers of Catholic pilgrimages to Jerusalem, imposed their building in the landscape of the city. Religious and administrative records – including the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held in Nantes – and recently unveiled photographic fonds may raise interesting issues on ND de France, especially in the history of constructions. Beyond this, the establishment at Notre Dame de France a museum and a library with a seminary could be linked with education activities conducted in other seminars, such as St. Anne, by various orders or congregations located in Jerusalem. And finally, given the irony of French diplomatic support to congregations that had been expelled from the national territory, could we not consider the study across multiple inventories – typology pleasing to the archivist – historically redundant for these institutions?
The presence of Spain in Jerusalem and its neighbourhood might appear quite marginal and original at the same time: marginal because the Spanish consulate was founded in 1854, later than other European countries, but also original thanks to the presence of Spanish Franciscans in Jerusalem since the 13th century, the specific history of Spain with Jewish and Muslim people (Vilar, 2003) or with the figure of the Spanish diplomat Count of Ballobar who became the guardian of various nations’ interests during the First World War (Mazza, 2010).
Therefore, it appeared opportune, in the framework of ERC Open Jerusalem project, to take a closer look at the historical records of Spanish entities in Jerusalem. Between the 17th and the 24th of January 2016, Anne Leblay-Kinoshita, archivist at the French National Archives, went to Madrid to study those records.
A first visit was paid to “Archivo general de la administración” (AGA) in Alcalá de Henares, a city located 30 km from Madrid, best known for its historical precinct and university inscribed on World Heritage List and for being the place of birth of Miguel de Cervantes.
Less known, the AGA are nevertheless one of the biggest archive in the world, after US and French National Archives. Officially created in 1969, the AGA hold records of State administrations, mainly from the 20th century but also the second half of 19th century. In this place 427 boxes and registers of records from the Spanish Consulate in Jerusalem dated from 1852 until 1976 are preserved.
A visit was also paid to the “Archivo histórico nacional” (AHN) in Madrid. Created in 1866, the AHN has been located in the complex of the Spanish Research National Council since 1952. The AHN holds records from Old Regime and Contemporary Institutions (until the Spanish Civil War), Ecclesiastical Institutions, Private archives and specific collections.
Since 2013 and the closing of the Archives of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the AHN holds its records prior to the Civil War like those of the “Obra Pía de los Santos Lugares en Jerusalén”. The “Obra Pía” is a religious institution, at first dedicated to the administration and preservation of sacred heritage in Holy Places. It became a State institution in 1772 with Carlos III. Around 435 “packets” and more than 20 registers dated from the 16th century until 1936 are now preserved in the AHN.
During those visits, some inventories were collected and it is now possible to have an idea of the content of each box, packet or register.
Amongst the records of the Spanish Consulate, some series appear quite interesting for the history of the city of Jerusalem and the Spanish presence in that place: there is a chronological series, more or less continuous since the creation of the consulate, a series dedicated to the relation between the consulate and the administration of the “Obra Pía” in Madrid, a fascinating series about the protection of foreign interests – especially during First World War for the Russians, French, Italians and, above all, the Greeks – or various series of records for the accountancy and juridical matters which can give an idea of the everyday life of the different communities living in Jerusalem. A first research in the records also showed the importance of the Consulate in Jerusalem during Spanish Civil War.
With regard to the “Obra Pía”, the interest of the records seemed moderate for Open Jerusalem project. First, this institution was established in Spain, so the documents describe mainly the organization there. Secondly, the inventory lacks of precision, e.g. the content of the first 169 packets is described as various correspondence and budgets produced between 1500 and… 1900. However, the continuity of the fonds is indeed outstanding and showss the importance of the institution for the relationship between Spain and the Holy Places.
Those first steps in Spanish archives are quite promising and an exciting research might go on in the records of the Spanish Consulate in Jerusalem. In short: highly encouraging, to be continued!
María José Vilar (2003), “Una percepción desde España de la cuestión Palestina. Aproximación a sus fuentes documentales y bibliográfica en español”, Anales de Historia Contemporánea, 19. pp. 285-312.
Mazza, Roberto (2010), “Antonio de la Cierva y Lewita: the Spanish Consul in Jerusalem 1914-1920”, The Jerusalem Quarterly, 40. pp. 36-44.
Spanish archive portal:
As part of the Open-Jerusalem research program (funded by the European Research Council ERC), a systematic and standardized description of the archives of the French Consulate of Jerusalem has been launched for the period 1843-1940. This mission was funded by the Open-Jerusalem project and received the support of the French Consulate in Jerusalem and of the CADN (Centre des Archives Diplomatiques de Nantes). The purpose of this first mission (one month, January 2016) was to treat the part concerning the 1843-1914 period of the series 294 PO / B (71 archive boxes = 6.7 linear meters).
Since its repatriation in France in 1978, the series 294PO / B has indeed been much solicited by researchers. The original manuscript inventory of 1956 was not very detailed, many files were no longer located at their initial place, and some boxes were particularly disorganized. For all of these reasons, the reclassification of all of the 71 boxes and the consolidation and deepening of the existing inventory was undertaken as part of this mission. This was done in order to facilitate the consultation and the valorization of these particularly rich and exciting archives for the history of Jerusalem. Indeed, the records contain numerous documents on the political situation in the holy city, the relationship between local authorities and Ottoman government, municipal taxes, business affairs, the maintenance of public order, conflicts and solidarity between religious communities, public works and urban development, health issues, etc.
The very rare and high quality of these archives must be highlighted. They were reorganized on site by the Consul Boppe in 1904, and inventoried (still on site) by Paulette Gustin in the 1950s. In a 1958 inspection report, the French consulate of Jerusalem is complimented for the quality of its records: “Jerusalem can serve as an example to other Consulates”. To prepare the successive returns to the Centre des Archives Diplomatiques in Nantes, several missions have been implemented in the consulate: the archivists Miss Pouillon and Mrs Pozzo di Borgo realized an archive mission in Jerusalem in October and November 1977, just before the return of the archives in France in 1978.
Moreover, it should be stressed that very few European consulates in Jerusalem were able to keep records of such an excellent level, quantitatively and qualitatively. At the time when the Ottoman Empire entered the war against the powers of the Triple Entente in November 1914, consulates of France, Britain and Russia hurriedly closed. During the first world war, the Spanish consulate (neutral country) was in charge of looking after the interests (and archives) of the Allied powers. As a result of the Russian Revolution in 1917, the Russian Consulate archives have been lost, until now. The British consulate archives have largely been absorbed by the new occupying authorities and agents from 1917 onwards, which now makes them difficult to locate: they have been “diluted” in the Mandate archives. Regarding the archives of the consulate of Prussia and Germany, they were sealed by the British authorities in 1939 and then partially recovered by the new Israeli State Archives (ISA) after 1949. Among other ongoing investigations, the Open-Jerusalem Program strives to locate and describe all the consular archives in Jerusalem, including current missions in Rome and Madrid, for archives of Italian and Spanish consulates.
Brief history of the Series CADN / 294PO / B
The fund “Archives du Consulat de France à Jerusalem” preserved in CADN (Centre des Archives Diplomatiques de Nantes) consists of two sub-funds encompassing 9 description series. The first sub-fund (1843-1947), which is at the center of our research, includes:
– Series A, which includes the archives concerning the Holy Places, over the period of 1843-1914
– Series B, which includes the thematic files of the consulate of France from 1843 to 1941.
– Both the series A & B were repatriated to France in 1978.
Before the establishment of the Consulate of France in Jerusalem, the interests of France were managed successively by the consulates of France in Aleppo, Damascus and Cairo. It is in 1842 that the Ministry decides to create a consulate in Jerusalem, whose first titleholder was the Comte Gabriel Lantivy. The Consulate has, like other consulates, three main roles: it administers and protects the French community and French nationals abroad, it is in charge of administrative services for French nationals abroad (civil status, notary, issuing of identity documents, registration of French nationals) and finally, it is also an entity that can promote the French cultural identity. At that time, the consulate was placed directly under the authority of the Embassy of France in Constantinople1.
So the French consular archives retrace continuously, since 1843, all the activities of the consulate and its relations with local authorities, religious communities, consulates of other countries, the Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Achievements of the mission
- The mission lasted one month, from 4 to 29 January 2016. Initially, the mission allowed to better understand the history of the fund and the arrangement of successive repatriations and to better document the series, through the consultation of the record of the Archives Department on the consulate of France in Jerusalem (odds 13ACN / 239).
- Secondly, the systematic treatment of boxes 1-71 (representing 6.7 linear meters) helped to consolidate the ranking and to refine (or to correct if necessary) the initial manuscript description of the records (1956). The documentary typology was systematically clarified. In addition, the documents have been replaced in the specific order described by the 1956 manuscript, despite significant disorder prevailing in some boxes. For future better conservation, all the documents have been repackaged with neutral paper shirts and neutral cardboard boxes.
- Alongside this work of repackaging, the 1956 manuscript inventory has been fully typed in a word processor. This greatly simplifies the search inside the files and allows queries by date or keyword.
- Furthermore, a systematic survey of the relevant thematic elements for the Open-Jerusalem Project was drawn up with the help of a table of predetermined topics.
- Finally, with a view to a possible future digitization, a tracking and reporting (in a separate list) of oversized documents or documents in bad condition has been made. The complete digitization diagnostic is still in progress.
Adélaïde Laloux (Master “Métiers des archives et des bibliothèques”, University of Angers), under the supervision of Bérangère Fourquaux, Vincent Lemire & Yann Potin
- See M. Degros, «Les créations de postes diplomatiques et consulaires», La Revue d’histoire diplomatique, 1986, pp. 44-46 ; J.-Ph. Mochon, « Le consulat de France à Jérusalem: aspects historiques, juridiques et politiques de ses fonctions», L’annuaire français de droit international, 1996, pp. 929-945. [↩]
Vincent Lemire présentera les premiers jalons du projet de recherche OPEN-JERUSALEM qui se base sur le dépouillement des archives de Jérusalem, à la fin de l’époque ottomane et pendant la période mandataire. Ce projet majeur et novateur, financé par le Conseil Européen de la Recherche (ERC), vise à connecter les archives des diérentes communautés hiérosolymitaines, trop souvent étudiées séparément, pour établir une histoire de la «citadinité» à Jérusalem.
Vincent Lemire est maître de conférences en histoire contemporaine à l’Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée et chercheur associé à l’Ifpo. Il a soutenu en 2006 une thèse en histoire environnementale intitulée «une hydrohistoire de Jérusalem aux XIXème et XXème siècles». Il dirige actuellement le projet ERC OPEN-JERUSALEM (2014-2019) : «Opening Jerusalem’s Archives: for a connected history of ‘Citadinité’ in the Holy City (1840-1940)».
ERC Open Jerusalem – Call for papers – International symposium
Revealing Ordinary Jerusalem (1840–1940):
New archives and perspectives
on urban citizenship and global entanglements
10–12 May 2016
Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Rethymno, Greece
The ERC Project Open Jerusalem, directed by Vincent Lemire, is organizing its first international symposium entitled “Revealing Ordinary Jerusalem (1840–1940): New archives and perspectives on urban citizenship and global entanglements”. The event will take place at the Institute for Mediterranean Studies in Rethymno (Crete, Greece) on 10–12 May 2016.
The ERC Open Jerusalem project aims to unlock and connect different archives and sources in order to investigate the ordinary entangled history of a global city through the lens of the concept of urban citizenship (citadinité). The objective is to produce historical narratives focusing on the way residents interacted with each other, inhabited and appropriated space(s). The symposium intends to be a forum for deepening discussions and opening scientific debates, based on contributions by scholars specializing in related topics, urban historians and specialists of the region. Therefore all participants are kindly requested to stay in Rethymno for the whole duration of the symposium.
Papers should address topics such as:
- New archives and links between sources concerning the late Ottoman and Mandate periods (including cartographic materials)
- Public policies, institutions and services (markets, charities, fountains, hammams, schools, hospitals, prisons, etc.)
- Public time and civic events (city sounds, calendars, liturgies, feasts, imperial ceremonies, etc.)
- Negotiation and struggle over shared or contested urban spaces
- Civic actors (middlemen, dragomen, local notables, journalists etc.)
- Itineraries inside and outside the city (pilgrims, travellers, tourists, migrants, etc.)
- Connected sociabilities: economic, cultural and gender relations, interreligious encounters, etc.
- Cultural exchange, press diffusion and reception, rumours, languages and creolisation.
We encourage comparative approaches, original studies based on new material and innovative papers, which will be published in a volume after the symposium. English will be the language for all papers, presentations and discussions.
We invite scholars to respond to this call for papers with a short CV, a title and a short abstract (ca. 200 words), including the sources that will be used, by 17 January 2016. The draft versions of the papers should be ready before the symposium (deadline 31 March 2016) and precirculated in order to leave enough time for discussants and participants to read the entire collection of contributions.
The Open Jerusalem project will be pleased to cover the travel and accommodation costs. Abstracts should be sent to Dr Angelos Dalachanis (firstname.lastname@example.org), a member of the Open Jerusalem team, who can also provide more information.
by Vincent Lemire, Leyla Dakhli, Anouk Cohen
This post is a short abstract of the report written after a mission realized by Leyla Dakhli, Vincent Lemire and Anouk Cohen in Jerusalem for a week, from 8 to 14 June 2015. The goal of this mission was only to launch this fieldwork and to open future tracks of works. The focus was to investigate the circulation of printed documents in Jerusalem 1840-1940 and their position, while paying crucial attention to the different languages of their production and distribution. This approach aimed to have a better view of the possible and/or impossible connected practices of knowledge. To this end, the mission focused on two kinds of places of production and circulation of knowledge:
– Family libraries: the goal of this investigation was to understand what kind of books made up the libraries of scholars from the period in question with a particular interest in practical knowledge of languages (by paying attention to dictionaries for example).
– Printing presses: this investigation aims to study the type of books produced between 1840 and 1940 and the languages in which they were produced (from archival documents and letters cases left in the old printing workshops for example).
This mission sought to identify significant lieux de savoir1 (i-e places of knowledge) and documentation centers (archival or otherwise) and attempt to capture gestures and operations, instruments and supports, expertise and practices, interaction modes and validation procedures, forms of registration and dynamic transmission that contribute, in their articulation, in order to understand the concrete practices of shared and/or divided knowledge in the Holy city in the period 1840-1940.
The Khalidi library
The Khalidi library is arguably the best-preserved privately owned manuscript library in the old city. The Khalidi library houses 1200 manuscripts, most of them microfilmed and stored in boxes in a temperature-controlled room in the attic of the old madrassa. We consulted the catalog of the collections of the library published in 2006 by Khader Salameh and Nazim Al-Ju’aba and prefaced by Walid Khalidi in Arabic2 . Then, we consulted Ruhi al-Khalidi’s documents stored in an acid-resistant gray box3 . Theses documents mainly consist of vocabulary books (organized into lists) and notes taken from various books including those of Ibn Khaldun. These notebooks may belong to his son (John al-Khalidi). Finally, we visited the room where 1900 books printed in Latin characters are stored, including many dictionaries, almanacs and guides that occupy an entire section of the bookcase.
Instruments of knowledge such as magazines, dictionaries, grammar books, encyclopedias, manuals, guides, almanacs, atlases, official publications (such as court judgments of the mandate that would allow us to understand how they developed their research), as well as printers and publishers’ catalogs could be a very interesting material for future research.
From the Excel table of the Latin characters printed catalog (available on Khalidi library’s website4 ), it would be possible to define several sets of data to grasp some publication policies as well as identify the major production centers. Moreover, this statistical study would allow to identify the number of languages and to create clouds of information. Finally, crosscheck this different sets of information would help to understand in which languages the different users of the library were reading and what were the main themes they were interested in. The type of crosstabs that would be interesting to develop are the followings: owners / dates, owners / themes / languages, owners / places of publication.
The Budeiri library
In this place, located next to the Haram esh-Sherif, we may distinguish three blocks of documents.
1) The old manuscripts: 1,166 manuscripts make up the collection. Today, 90% of them are digitized. The manuscripts are safely kept in a small room inside iron storages. It is worth noting that this room is located near a zâwiya where the ancestor allowed students to study.
2) The printed books: there are 158 printed books dating from the end of Ottoman period and Mandate period, mainly written in Ottoman and Arabic. All of them have been inventoried, receiving a singular quotation. Compared to the Khalidi library, Budeiri library’s collection has fewer books in foreign (specially European) languages.
3) The archives are well preserved under plastic cover and stored in about twenty files. This is an original documentation in regard to different fields, especially the history of the Jerusalem Jordanian municipality (1949-1967). There are also various policy papers, poetry and personal documents such as letters. Other documents dated 1950’s consist in names of streets and locations. There are also maps, stamped collected letters and business cards.
Franciscan printing press (FPP)
The Franciscan printing press (FPP) was founded in 1847, the first book printed this year was a catechism in Arabic. The old printing machines and letter cases are well preserved. With the exception of some of them that were displaced recently in Beitphage (the new site for FPP Franciscan Printing Press), three machines remained within the walls of Saint Saviour’s Convent. One of them stands in the great hall of the Custody.
Thanks to Fr. Sergey Loktionov, archivist in chief at the Custody, the historical archives of the FPP are well preserved and perfectly described (under the category “Tipografia”). For sure, the Franciscan printing press was the largest printing press in Jerusalem during the period in question, especially (but not only) for books printed in Latin characters. Thereby, it’s a sort of laboratory / observatory through which it’s possible to see the way in which the city did functioned on a social and cultural level. Indeed, we found a lot of mentions of business cards, printed invitations to concerts, receptions, etc. In the archives there are also precise indications on the printing process, including of activities of production and its different stages. Here are some examples of the consulted files:
1. 1854 apr. 6 – 1888 dic. 27: “Difficoltà per la stamperia”
2. 1878 – inizi sec. XX: “Officine, operai”
3. 1922 giu. 1 – 1926 giu. 22: “censure di publicazioni – Imprimi potest”
4. 1899 ago. 1 – 1952 nov. 21: “Quietanze e note contabili”
5. 1908 apr. 12 – 1953 feb. 18: “Regolamento degli impiegati dell’officina”
6. 1866 mag. – 1873 dic. 2; 1955 feb. 10 – 1955 mar. 16: “Miscellanea”
7. 1879 May 7 – 1892 Sett 12: “Libri stampati al conto della Custodia”.
8. 1880 January 5 – 1909 March 11: “Libri legati pel magazzino”. This register lists all the activities from the Tipografia’s bindery. It provides the list of bound books. We learn that for some books only a few bound copies were printed. Also, the same book could be bound and/or not bound.
9. December 1917 – April 1919: “Registro dei lavori pel governo”. This register, which looks like an ordinary notebook, is of a great importance: it lists all the printed works produced by the new British power in 1918-1919. There are pell-mell passes, labels, administrative stationery, forms, posters, legal notices, a music program, blank passports, maps of prisoners, telegram forms, Post records, daily reports from hospitals (Hospital Report Daily), records of wanted persons, documents related to the police force, building permits, conversion tables (“money rate”), Passes to enter City Walls, contract forms, Medical Ordinance, Jerusalem School of Music. It also contains valuable information on the price of commodities. These data are particularly important because they provide information on the implementation modalities of the new British administration in 1918-1920. Indeed, the Tipografia custody, being the most important of the city, did functions at that time as a kind of official printing press; and thereby, for historians, as a main way of getting information).
10. 1857 June 15 – 1879 December 31: “Giornale delle prestazioni della tipografia”. By 1857, this register describes in great detail the work done by the workers during the months worked. Beginning ten years after the founding of the Tipografia, this register may be the first of its kind in a context of reorganization of the printing press.
11. 1847 – 1873: “Opere stampate nella Tipografia”. This register is composed of two parts: on the one hand, it shows all the documents printed from January 1847 to March 1873. 607 documents had been printed over 26 years. Besides books, there are also travel tickets (biglietti di viaggio) for “il Municipio”. A mention “biglietto di Transito” appears in 1871. On the other hand, are listed the outdoor expeditions to convents. Each page is devoted to one book [mostly catechisms, mass books, or Italian grammar books, etc.]. The main recipient cities are: Jerusalem, Cairo, Damascus, Aleppo, Saida, Tripoli, Nicosia, Fajum [Fayoum] Tiberias, Caiffa [Haïffa]… Thus, the Tipografia of Jerusalem operated as the as an important production center throughout the Levant.
12. 1890 January 2 – 1909 January 11: “Stampi della tipografia”. This is the register of orders for commands or manufacturing of special characters. In one column, there appears the drawing of the new engraved character. This register is particularly interesting because it allows us to date the production or purchase of letter cases in different alphabets (Russian, Arabic, etc.). By leafing through the register, we learn which characters (and languages) were mainly produced at each period.
This first mission to the family libraries and printing presses in Jerusalem consisted in laying the groundwork for case studies that could be conducted in the coming years. Basically, the goal of this fieldwork would be to better understand how knowledge was shared and/or divided and how texts were circulated (or not) in networks through Jerusalem 1840-1940. Of course there are a lot of other places to include in the future dashboard of this fieldwork (Hebraic, Armenian, Greek, Russian, German, British Printing Press; old Hebraic libraries in West Jerusalem). It should be noted here that this mission not only helped to locate existing archives but also, through chance encounters with people, relationships and spontaneity of the search, gave birth to archives.
With regards to future studies that could better seize on modalities for constituting public knowledge in Jerusalem during the period in question, two types of questions could be considered, focusing on family libraries or on the printing presses. For example, a case study of Khalidi or Budeiri library could focus on how knowledge materializes in a particular architectural feature or furniture, in a group of books or specific objects. Indeed, the architectural and physical environment of the library could be placed at the heart of the investigation in order to study its essential role in the representation or self-representation of scholarly activity or of a certain idea of knowledge itself. Libraries give to see a certain idea of knowledge, specialist or generalist, local or universal, and how they materialize a representation of culture within its limits and in its ambitions.
An investigation on Printing Press and printers could inform the history of scholarly work that is actually determined by the development of techniques and instruments. Sites that attract considerable attention — for authors, readers, and technicians — printing presses are also diffusion locations, where knowledge is reticulated or radiated. At the crossroads of flow, they are devoted to the establishment of texts themselves and their reproduction. Thus, the study of printing would open the way to a dynamic approach to knowledge: in terms of spheres of influence, centrifugal and centripetal forces, but also in terms of circulation and translation. In this way, one would better understand the central nodes of a network in relation to the others, located in more distant peripheries. A huge challenge, to be continued!
- Christian Jacob, « Introduction: Faire corps, faire lieu », Lieux de savoir, Tome 1, Paris, Albin Michel, 2007. [↩]
- Al-Ju’aba Nazmi, Walid Khalidi, Catalog of Manuscripts in Al-Khalidi Library – Jerusalem, Vol. 1 & 2, London: Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, 2001-2006. The website of the Khalidi Library: http://www.khalidilibrary.org/indexe.html. [↩]
- Ruhi al-Khalidi (1864–1913) was a writer, teacher, activist and politician in the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the twentieth century. He was the nephew of Youssef Ziya al-Khalidi, who was one of the first mayor of Jerusalem. In 1908, Ruhi was one of three delegates elected to represent Jerusalem in the new parliament and become Vice-President of parliament (1911).
- http://www.khalidilibrary.org/englishbookse.html [↩]
MESA 2015, Denver (US), Panel n° 4125, Sunday November 22nd, 8:30-10:30:
“Open Jerusalem! Towards a New Entangled History of Citadinité (1840-1940): Concepts, Methods and Archives”
Organized by Vincent Lemire
Supported by ERC Funded Project OPEN JERUSALEM
Chairman : Salim Tamari (Institute of Jerusalem Studies)
Discussant: Jens Hanssen (Univ Toronto)
Vincent Lemire (Univ Paris-Est / Dir. ERC Open-Jerusalem Project) : “Managing the Open Jerusalem Project : A Transnational, Collaborative and Democratic Attempt”
Michelle U. Campos (Univ Florida) : “Mapping People and Places in Late Ottoman Jerusalem through GIS”
Leyla Dakhli (Centre Marc Bloch – CNRS) : “From Mutual Understandings to Multiple Translations: Languages of Jerusalem at the Turn of the 20th Century”
Anouk Cohen (CNRS) : “Shared Uses of Religious Schools, Libraries and Printing Press in the Holy City”
by Stéphane Ancel, Open Jerusalem
The presence of Ethiopians Orthodox in Jerusalem is attested at least from the 13th century. But during the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the Ethiopian Orthodox community knew a great revival: the number of Ethiopians increased, buildings dedicated to them were bought or erected. Among others, historians like Littmann, Cerulli, Pétridis, Meinardus, Makonnen Zäwde or Pedersen have proposed valuable studies about the Ethiopian community in Jerusalem, especially Kirsten Pedersen who for the first time proposed a very clear and precise history of this community during the 19th and 20th century. But if the outline of the history of the community is known, there is a great lack concerning its involvement in Jerusalem city life during that period. Besides, the characteristics of the archives of the community are basically not known: only few documents had been accessible to historians and even Kirsten Pedersen, herself member of this community had a restricted access to these documents.
It is clear that during this period the community should have produced many documents. In fact, the main idea leading Open Jerusalem research is that the archives of the community should provide documents which permit to understand the involvement of the community in the daily life of Jerusalem at that period and its relationship with the local municipality and the other communities established in the town.
After a meeting with OJ director Vincent Lemire and me, the Ethiopian Orthodox community in Jerusalem was enthusiastic about the project and his Holiness abunä Matthias, Patriarch of Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Addis Ababa, and his Grace abunä Enbakom, Archbishop of Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Holy Land, gave us the access to the archives of the community in Jerusalem.
The study of these archives has just started. For the moment, documents found in the archives are administrative and financial documents, such as payment receipts, cheques, bank documents, financial reports, letters and correspondences concerning daily problems of the community, registers, etc. As a whole, these documents permit to open a window to the daily life of the community, and to understand all the problems and opportunities for a religious community established abroad, concerning installation, supplies, access to public services, administration or worship.
Here are some examples among the documents collected:
– Receipts and payment document are witness of Ethiopian involvement in local network:
– Receipts and payment documents to the municipality:
We can observe that Ethiopians had different interlocutors, according to the needs and opportunities. Interesting enough, each interlocutor supposed the use of a specific language, for example with the British municipality in English, with Russian community in French, local merchants in different languages.
Worship activities posed also problem and documents bring to light the role of the municipality to solve the problems and at first the problem of the usage of the Holy Sepulcher.
Also some documents bring to light ownership problems of the community. The problem of the Dar Es Sultan monastery is much known: Ethiopians during that period claimed the ownership over this monastery located at the roof of St. Helena chapel, in the Holy Sepulcher. This claim was contested by Coptic community (and it is still today the case). This case is known especially thanks to the work of Cerulli, Pétridis and Pedersen, and some documents concerning this case were published by abunä Philippos, first Ethiopian bishop of Jerusalem.
No spectacular documents concerning especially this case came out from our investigation in Jerusalem for the moment. But a very interesting book could be identified.
Maybe less known, documents present the case where Ethiopian community was the owner of houses rented to institutions or individuals. These documents are crucial to understand how the community built and managed its properties in the Holy Land.
Administrating worship place in Jerusalem have supposed a great flexibility, in using a specific language with specific interlocutors, in establishing relations with different middle men involved in local social network, in using specific network of merchants for supplies, and in establishing itself in Jerusalem scene. Thanks to full collaboration of Ethiopian Orthodox authorities, the ongoing study of Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem will open a great window on daily life of the Ethiopian Orthodox community in Jerusalem between 1840 and 1940.