A short account of the German Colony, given by your Israel & Jerusalem private tour guide
The German Colony is a very vibrant and attractive part of Jerusalem and has a special atmosphere. It can be thought of as the Greenwich Village of Jerusalem.
Why German and why Colony?
The story of the Germans in the Holy Land begins in the middle of the 19th century in southern Germany. A group of Christian Protestants decided to immigrate to the Holy Land. They helped develop it for the purpose of hastening the Second Coming of the Messiah. The Germans arrived in 1867, and settled in Haifa. Another group built another colony in Jaffa and later, more colonies were built. The one in Jerusalem was established in 1873.
Are there Germans in the Colony?
Not anymore. Approximately 2,200 people from seven colonies worked to develop the country in the areas of industry, agriculture, architecture and commerce. However, since they remained German citizens and were loyal to the fatherland, they did not get along with the British rulers during both world wars. This was especially true before and during World War II, when many of them became members of the Nazi Party, and later joined the German army. The British kept the settlers in detention camps and expelled most of them to Germany and Australia. The rest left when the State of Israel was created. At that point, the German colonies were inhabited by Jews.
What is it like today?
The German Colony is a wealthy residential area, with some of the original German homes and others, which have been renovated. The main street has lovely small shops and restaurants, along with some cultural centers. Some people call it "the Greenwich of Jerusalem"