The German Colony

June 15th 2011

The German Colony and its Complicated Templer Roots

Located in the heart of Jerusalem is a place famously known as The German Colony.

To those wary of the German country land due to WW2, you must ask : What is the significance of this place? Who lived here? And what is it like now?

The pilgrims of The German Colony descended onto its Israeli soil long before the Second World War.Contrary to popular opinion that it was named so because of an influx of German Jews looking to build a community, in approximately 1873, these inhabitants who were part of the Templer sect from Württemberg, Germany. The Templers were breakoffs from the Protestant Church, who believed in the importance of settling in the Holy Land and preparing for the up and coming Messianic salvation.

These Templers built their German style two story farm homes (though made appropriately from Jerusalem stone) alongside two now central streets of TGC; Emek Refaim and Bethlehem Street.

Unfortunately,  these Templers were not too Jewish-friendly, and were outed from their homes by the British and deported. The British considered them to be enemy traitors, for one reason being mainly that they were not shy about their Nazi-sympathies. Many of them resettled in Australia, enjoying a less tumultuous existence.

While now the area has undergone a large process of gentrification and is primarily Jewishly concentrated, well to-do Christian Arabs populated the area and built surrounding neighborhoods in KatamonTalbiya, and Baka. Arab residents fled Katamon during the War of Independence, and Jewish immigrants took their place.

The German Colony is famously known through Israel as an upscale place, with beautifully luscious scenery and exquisitely large and luxurious homes, off of the haute couture shopping row referred to by the hip, large Ango-Saxon community as simply “Emek”.

Emek Refaim is translated into Hebrew as Valley of Refaim. Its name is mentioned both in the Book of Joshua as well as 2 Samuel, as a legendary race of giants who lived in this region in biblical times.

How do giants and hip shopping and restaurant diving fit together? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’ll take it!

Stop by Emek and peruse around this fine dining and classy locale today on your Israel tour. Take the opportunity to relax in the comfort of the land built up by the Templers from the days of yore.