Album of 1930s Zionist sports and militia movements in Palestine

[Palestine - Photo Album]. [Zionist photograph album].

Palestine, 1937.

Oblong folio (305 x 220 mm). 12 ff. 40 silver gelatin photographs mounted on leaves; sizes range from 177 x 120 mm to 85 x 65 mm. Contemporary plaid cloth with a small brass label on front cover, saddle-stitched binding.


Unique photograph album of early Zionist military presence in British Mandatory Palestine, focussing on the Hapoel companies: a sports movement that in the early 1930s was developed into an organizational labour militia intended to stand up against revisionist and right-wing movements as well as against communists. Promoted by David Ben-Gurion, they served as an executive-political arm of the Histadrut until the 1960s.

The photographs show numerous scenes of training and daily life: both male and female soldiers pose in uniform, eat their lunches, hold athletic competitions such as tug-of-war and wheelbarrow races on the beach, meet in the canteen, and line up in formation. Largely presenting an idyllic picture of soldier life, scenes of more serious military drills include soldiers scaling high walls and practicing their army crawl, grappling, and sniper positioning. A handful of early photos also give glimpses of political events in the 1930s: two speeches are shown, one of Ben-Gurion, the other of Hapoel leaders with a military guard, and a packed street scene of what appears to be a parade, judging by the rows of onlookers clustered on balconies.

The brass dedication label on the upper cover is engraved in Hebrew "To Samuel, from the commanders of the Hapoel companies. Haifa, Kiryat Haim, 13-30 August 37". Occasional fading to photographs, but quite well preserved.

Art.-Nr.: BN#61126 Schlagwörter: , , , ,