Sunday, August 12, 2007

The lepers hospital, Jerusalem


Prickly pair
Jesus Hifle (Jesus Cures)

I spent the 5th of June 2007, the fortieth anniversary to the 1967 war, in the Lepers Hospital in Jerusalem and the garden surrounding it. Built by German missionaries in the late 19th century, the hospital housed the lepers of Jerusalem, mostly Arabs and some Jews. The architect was the swiss Jerusalemite Konrad Schick. The head of the hospital was Dr. Tawfiq Kan'aan, a physician as well as pioneer anthropologist, author of Mohammedan saints and sanctuaries in Palestine (1927); and The Palestinian Arab house : its architecture and folklore (1933). Last year I found his letters in the Israeli State Archives: all of them in German, which I do not read. In 1948 he had to leave the hospital together with the Arab patients.
The building is still used today to treat people suffering from leprosy, although none of them lives there, and it is mainly empty. The entrance is from a side gate while the impressive facade is largely hidden.
I am thinking of applying for a residency there.