Building Bridges Across Archives.
Designing Open Jerusalem Web Platform
The workshop is not open to the public.
Ifpo & IFJ
Moving Ahead: On the Road to AtoM Web Platform
The first annual workshop of the ERC project Open Jerusalem will be held in the French Institute for Anatolian Studies (Istanbul) on 16-18 January 2017.
The workshop is not open to the public.
“The Politics of Archives and the Practices of Memory,” is the theme of the fourth annual meeting of NDPS, to be held March 3-4, 2017, at the Watson Institute, Brown University.
New Directions in Palestinian Studies (NDPS) provides a platform for rigorous intellectual exchange on new directions in research and writing about Palestine and the Palestinians, supports the work of emerging scholars, and promotes the integration Palestinian studies into the larger streams of critical intellectual inquiry.
The central question of the fourth annual meeting is: What does it mean for the colonized, the disenfranchised, and the displaced to produce narratives through archival and memorial practices? Other theoretical, empirical, and comparative questions follow. How are archives and memories produced, assembled, and mobilized in settler colonial contexts? In what ways are archives and memories sites of struggle and appropriation, and looting? How can we theorize archives and memory from perspectives critical of state-centric political configurations and conventional concepts of sovereignty?
An archive fever has been coursing through the Palestinian body politic for two decades now. What explains this phenomenon and how has it been shaped by the information technology revolution? How have artistic and social media interventions reconstructed the archival and the memorial as sites for research? In what ways can one analyze novels, poetry, and other forms of literature as forms of memory and archives without instrumentalizing these literary genres?
Vincent Lemire, director of the Open Jerusalem project, will present the work conducted by OJ on Jerusalem history throughout dozens of archives in Jerusalem and around the world.
Read the full article by Jean-François Mondot on the Cahiers de Sciences et Vie, N. 165, November 2016, pp. 10-15
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.
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
Adélaïde Laloux (Master “Métiers des archives et des bibliothèques”, University of Angers), under the supervision of Bérangère Fourquaux, Vincent Lemire & Yann Potin