Auction 86 - Part I - Rare & Important Items

German Imperial Flag – WWI Field Hospital in the Augusta Victoria Compound – Jerusalem, 1917

Opening: $1,000
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Sold for: $1,750
Including buyer's premium
WWI German Imperial flag. Flown over the Augusta Victoria Compound, Jerusalem, which served at the time as an army base with a military hospital, and as headquarters of the Turkish-German General Staff. Jerusalem, 1917.
Flag in the colors black-white-red. In margins, the inscription (German) "Augusta Victoria Feld-Lzt [Field Hospital] Jerusalem, 1917," the mark "Militär-Mission Konstantinopel" (German Military Mission, Istanbul), Ottoman tughra (of Sultan Mehmed V?), and an official Ottoman inscription.
The decision to establish the Augusta Victoria Compound on the Mt. of Olives in Jerusalem was originally made at the time of the celebrated official visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II, and his wife, the Empress Augusta Victoria, to the Holy Land in 1898. "A mission including representatives of all the German communities in the Holy Land arrived at the time at the Imperial Tent Camp located on the Street of Prophets [Rehov HaNevi'im]. Among the requests submitted to the Kaiser was one for assistance in the establishment of a ‘meeting place and convalescent home' for the Germans in the Holy Land, that would serve for local social gatherings as well functioning as a guesthouse for Jerusalem's incoming German visitors, and would be located at a distance from the hustle and bustle of the city's center. The imperial couple looked favorably upon the request, and when the empress visited the Mt. of Olives and gazed down and absorbed the panorama of the Old City that unfolds from there, she insisted that ‘this is the place to establish a home for our German activists in the Holy Land'" (Yehoshua Ben-Arieh, "Ir BiRe'i Tekufah, " Yad Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, 1979, Hebrew, p. 468). In the wake of the visit, following the empress's return to Germany, the "Association for the Mt. of Olives" (Ölberg Verein) was established under her sponsorship, and this body raised the funds needed for the building of the compound. The Ottoman Turkish government assisted in the acquisition and purchase of the land. The compound, built to look like a medieval fortress, was designed by the architect Robert Leibniz (1863-1929) and officially inaugurated in April 1910. In addition to the guesthouse and sanatorium, the compound included a large church, a conference hall, and a spacious, beautifully cultivated garden.
It is generally assumed that in addition to its civilian uses, the compound was intended from the outset to serve military purposes. And in fact, at the time of the First World War it housed an Ottoman military command base, and for a brief period it served as the headquarters of the Turkish-German General Staff under the German commanding officer of the Palestine Front, Field Marshal Erich von Falkenhayn (1861-1922) and the Turkish civilian governor and commander of the Ottoman Fourth Army, Ahmed Cemal Paşa (1872-1922). The compound also housed a military field hospital that cared for the fighting units serving in the Jerusalem district. Following the British conquest of Jerusalem in December, 1917, the Augusta Victoria Compound became the headquarters of the British armed forces in Palestine. It subsequently served as the official residence of the British High Commissioner of Palestine. Eventually it was converted into the full-fledged hospital that functions till this day.
As early as the second half of the 19th century, the Black-White-Red flag was flown by both the mercantile and naval fleets of the North German Confederation. It was originally meant to represent a combination of the black-and-white colors of the Kingdom of Prussia and the red-and-white of the Hanseatic League. From 1871 to 1919, it served as the flag of the German Empire – also known as the Second Reich – which ceased to exist following WWI. The subsequent, short-lived Weimar Republic replaced this flag with one bearing the colors black, red, and gold – similar to the flag of present-day Germany. The Black-White-Red was restored as Germany's national flag shortly after the rise of the Nazis and the onset of the Third Reich, but was replaced by the well-known Nazi flag, emblazoned with the Swastika, in September 1935.
Approx. 58.5X90 cm. With loop and halyard. Good condition. Stains.
Eretz Israel