German Colonies in the Holy Land

Hello Everyone and Welcome to the Holy Land

 

Below is a bit of history that many of you may not be aware of:

 

At the end of the 19th C two charismatic men, Christoph Gottlob Jonathan Hoffmann (1815-1885) and Georg David Hardegg (1812–1879), founded the German Temple Society in 1861 after being expelled in 1858 from the Lutheran Church due to their rejection of the Sacraments and the Holy Trinity as portrayed by the Church. Their aim was to realize the Kingdom of God on Earth by establishing a Spiritual Temple by following the teachings of Jesus Christ. (Millennial beliefs and apocalyptic visions belonged to earlier Pietistic eras).

The Temple Society (Tempelgesellschaft) was a German Protestant sect with roots in the Pietist movement of the Lutheran Church. The pietistic movement originated during the late 1600s and stressed personal religious devotion over the formality of organized Churches.

Members referred to themselves as Templers.

Their mission was to promote spiritual cooperation between its members for the building of the spiritual Holy Temple of which, as an individual temple of God, every human being is a part. They believed that this could best be achieved in Jerusalem.

They called it “Deutscher Tempel” (German Temple) because they wanted to “bring God’s people together, each person as a living spiritual building block in the Temple of God in the Holy Land (then Palestine)”.

Their vision:
Set your mind on God’s Kingdom and His justice before everything else, and all the rest will come to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with your entire mind. That is the greatest commandment. It comes first. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-39

In 1856 Hoffmann and Hardegg bought a farm in Kirschenhardthof near Marbach am Neckar (Northeast from Stuttgart) and tried to create a model community of like minded people – putting their beliefs and principles into practice, while preparing for the move to the Holy Land. Their first plan was to set up a colony near Nazareth but during their sea voyage to the Holy Land they consulted with the German Consul in BeirutWebber, and a Missionary named Huber from Nazareth who recommended they land in Haifa and set up their colony over there since it’s the main entrance point, close to the sea and safer.

 

Christoph Gottlob Jonathan Hoffmann and Gravestone

Christoph Hoffmann, the Spiritual Leader of the German Temple Society.

Hoffmann is buried in the Templer Cemetery, 39 Emek Refaim St. Jerusalem.

George_Hardegg_David & Gravestone

George David Hardegg, the second leader of the German Temple Society. He was the head of the colony in Haifa.

He is buried in the Templer Cemetery in Haifa which is 1.5 km west of the colony.

Due to differences of opinion on leadership between the two founding fathers, Hardegg stayed in Haifa 1868, while Hoffmann travelled inland to establish further colonies, one in Jaffa 1869 another in Sarona 1871 and forth colony was established in Jerusalem 1873.

To strengthen their foothold in the Holy Land, another four colonies were set up:

Wilhelma 1902, Walhalla 1903, Betlehem of Galilee 1906 and Waldheim 1907.

The old pictures of the colonies were taken from the Tempelgesellschaft archives, Yosi Ben Arzi’s book From Germany to the Holy Land (Yad Ben Zvi) Alex Carmel’s book: German Settlements in Israel at the end of the Ottoman Period. Both authors got those pictures from the Library of State of Wurttemberg. Private collections from Munich, Stuttgart and Neli Schumacher Haifa. The new pictures are my private collection.

Opposite the German Colony on Mt. Carmel today are the beautiful Bahai Gardens.

In the next posts I will bring to you a bit of information on each and every one of the above colonies and their fate.

If any of the descendants of the Templer Society who would like to add pictures or information to this post are most welcome.

Welcome to the Holy Land.

  • A day
    3-5 km.
    Easy