“One picture is worth a thousand words”, so common a phrase that it has almost completely lost all meaning, but not in this case. The images you will see are in fact a rare historical record in which the lens of the camera caught not only people and places, but the whole experience before the fall of the Jewish Quarter.
Photographer John Phillips, arrived in the Middle East and joined the Jordanian forces during the occupation of the city. John Phillips was a photographer from Life Magazine. The days are the last days before the fall of the Jewish Quarter. Phillips walks through the quarter and photographs the progress of the Jordanian fighters as well as the dramatic moments the decision to surrender and the signing. The looks of the residents and fighters, signs of the fighting and the siege on their faces are clearly visible in the amazing pictures taken by Phillips.
Thirty-nine fighters and thirty residents of the Quarter fell in the War of Independence. Forty eight of them were buried in a mass grave, in a small compound near the Batei Machseh Square.
After the Six-Day War (1967), their burial place was located and they were brought for burial in a mass grave on the Mount of Olives at a state / military ceremony.
This site perpetuates their memory.
With the declaration of the establishment of the state, five Arab states joined the fight against the Jews. Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt. Jerusalem was in the Jordanian sector, the Jordanians besieged the Jewish Quarter, house after house, position after position, fell to the hands of the Jordanians. The Jews were pushed into the southern part of the Jewish quarter in the area of 4 Sephardic synagogues and Batei Machseh.
On May 28, 1948, a white flag was raised and the Jewish quarter surrendered, and on that day about one thousand and five hundred Jews were deported to West Jerusalem and about three hundred were taken into captivity in Jordan. All of them returned after about six months with the signing of the cease-fire agreement with the Jordanians.
The site is free of charge for visitors. You can see a selection of pictures by John Phillips and a short video in several languages, where residents and fighters recall their experiences from those dramatic moments. A memorial wall commemorates the names of all those killed in the Jewish quarter.