Augusta Victoria Hospital

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Augusta Victoria courtyard

Augusta Victoria is a church-hospital complex located on the southern side of Mount Scopus beside Mount of Olives, Jerusalem. Augusta Victoria was built in 1907 as a center for the German Protestant community in Ottoman Palestine. The complex, completed in 1910, included the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension with a 65-metre belltower and a hospice for Christian pilgrims. During World War II, it was converted into a hospital by the British.[1]

Augusta Victoria

History[edit]

Ascension Church, Augusta Victoria compound

The complex was named for Augusta Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein, wife of German Kaiser Wilhelm II, who visited Jerusalem in 1898. The architect, Robert Leibnitz, was inspired by German palaces, such as the German Hohenzollern Castle.[2]

After the Kaiser's visit, he commissioned the construction of a guesthouse for German pilgrims. Private donations were collected throughout Germany and donators honoured with the Cross of the Mount of Olives. Many of the building materials were imported from Germany. A 50-metre high church tower was constructed with four bells, the largest of them weighing six tons. To transport these bells from Jaffa, the road to Jerusalem had to be widened and paved. The expense was more than double the cost of transporting the bells from Hamburg to Jaffa. Augusta Victoria was the first building in the country to have electricity (provided by a diesel generator).[1]

During World War I, the Hospital served as German military hospital. From 1915 to 1917 the compound was used as Ottoman headquarters by Djemal Pasha. From June to December 1917 the hospital was used as headquarters for the German high command of the German expeditionary corps (Asienkorps). After the British conquest, the Augusta Victoria compound served as the headquarters of General Allenby’s Egyptian Expeditionary Force and later as the headquarters of the British Military Administration of Occupied Enemy Territory (South).[3]From 1920 to 1927, Augusta Victoria was the official residence of the British High Commissioner of the Palestine Mandate before British headquarters moved to Armon HaNetziv, on the outskirts of Talpiot. In 1927, the buildings were severely damaged in an earthquake.[3]

The Nazi party held meetings and assemblies at Augusta Victoria under the leadership of Ludwig Buchhalter, a Templer living in the Germany Colony who was appointed head of Jerusalem branch of the Nazi party in 1934.[4] In the mid-1930s, when the building was about to reopen as a hostel run by Deaconesses, the management decided to bar Jewish guests to preserve the institution's Christian character.[citation needed]

A Jordanian bunker on the grounds of Augusta Victoria

Under Jordanian administration, technically under United Nations Truce Supervision Organization control, it was a military hospital for soldiers from the Arab Legion.[5] Prior to the 1967 Six-Day War, the campus was fortified with several bunkers.

Today[edit]

Augusta Victoria now functions as a 161-bed hospital surrounded by olive trees. The rectory of the pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer is also located on the site, along with administrative offices and living quarters of the Jerusalem offices of the Lutheran World Federation. It is primarily financed by the Lutheran World Federation and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.[6]

Augusta Victoria is now the second-largest hospital in East Jerusalem, as well as being the sole remaining specialized-care hospital located in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.[6] It also operates a guesthouse run by the Lutheran World Federation for international volunteers and guests.[7] The hospital mission statement includes the provision of health care without regard to race, creed, gender, or national origin.

Oncology services[edit]

The hospital has a Department of Oncology which is an advanced center for cancer treatment. The department consists of the Unit for Medical Oncology, the Unit for Radiation Oncology, and the Unit for Surgical Oncology.

A pediatric oncology ward for Palestinian children opened in April 2005 in a joint project with the Peres Center for Peace, various Italian foundations and the Hadassah University Hospital, which trained the oncologist and nursing staff.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Lutheran World Federation - Department for World Service — Jerusalem - History
  2. ^ "Jerusalem Architecture - Periods and Styles, European Christian Buildings Outside the Old City Walls, 1855-1918," David Kroyanker, Keter, 1987 (Hebrew)
  3. ^ a b Jewish Center for Jewish-Christian Relations
  4. ^ Templer Town, Jerusalem Post
  5. ^ Commander E H Hutchison USNR “Violent Truce: A Military Observer Looks at the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1951-1955” Chapter III The Barrel Incident p 20-30
  6. ^ a b c http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/03/31/news/journal.php?page=1/A Jerusalem hospital embodies spirit of cooperation
  7. ^ Segev, Tom (1999). One Palestine, Complete. Metropolitan Books. ISBN 0-8050-4848-0. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°47′12″N 35°14′57″E / 31.78667°N 35.24917°E / 31.78667; 35.24917