The Chronicle of Utopia

The Templers in the Holy land


The exhibit presents the history of the Templers in the Holy Land, between 1868 and 1948, based on a multidisciplinary study that reviews historical, geographical, financial and cultural aspects.
The Templer saga is seen through a unique design of the landscape. This design is present in the exhibit in the photographs, paintings, architectural plans and maps which reflect the sites of their settlements. The exhibit will also display postcards and letters, official documents and diaries, items of material culture, agricultural equipments, musical instruments, etc.
The history of the Templers in Eretz Israel constitutes a fascinating and rare epic spread over an 80-year period beginning with the Ottoman period, through the British Mandate, to their final expulsion.
In 1868, a religious-messianic sect left its homeland in the State of Wuertemberg in southwest Germany and settled in the Holy Land, imbued with utopian yearnings for a better world through spiritual renewal and hard work. Following a period of agonizing pioneering and many hardships that characterized life in the Holy Land at that time, the Templers managed, with the aid of Western technology, to advance their initiatives in agriculture and industry, architecture and building, road development and transportation, and tourism.
The beginnings of their settlements and their successes, 12 years prior to the establishment of the first Jewish moshavot, met with understanding and even admiration on the part of the Zionists. The people of the first aliyot attached the glory of modernism to the Templer settlements. They admired German aesthetics, its industrious superiority and Western approach. The financial weight of the community was far greater than their numbers, which at its heyday reached a community of 2,000.
In 1948 their expulsion stemmed from the intensification of their national identification, at the expense of their religious belief, to the extent that some of them joined the offshoot of the National-Socialist Party in Mandatory Palestine. No member of the Templers remained in Palestine. Today their descendents are spread out all over the world, mainly in Australia, the country to which the British expelled them.

Curator: Sara Turel
Opens March 23, closes September 25, 2006