Five German army squadrons joined the Turkish forces in the Land of Israel during the war. The 300th squadron was the first two arrive, and four other squadrons arrived between 1916 and 1918. In total, 85-90 German aircraft operated in the Land of Israel's skies, bombing targets and collecting intelligence.
The collection was received from Dr. Norbert Schwake, whose father served in the German army during the war. Norbert immigrated to Israel, and he and his three children served in the Israel Defense Forces. Schwake was a doctor in the Italian hospital (which was once the Austrian hospital) in Nazareth, near the German cemetery for the casualties of WWI.
Personal interest prompted him to research and document the history of the area's inhabitants, and he raised funds for the place's maintenance and the commemoration of the casualties. He published a book on the issue and is considered an expert on this period of time in the Land of Israel. His new book on hospitals in Jerusalem will be published soon.
1. Incomplete tunnel on Taurus Mountains in southern Turkey
2. Loading a plane on a train with narrow railways before entering Taurus tunnel
3. 300th squadron in Sinai, late 1916. The hut in the background was loot taken from the British. In the middle: Dr. Proper, an intelligence officer who became one of the most famous experts on the Middle East. Also in the picture: Head of the German Red Cross, Prince von Hohenlohe.
4. The funeral procession of pilot Rüdiger von Kinsberg and driver Otto Grabiat on June 9, 1918, heading to the burial site near the Austrian hospital (today an Italian hospital). The empty field is the area separating these days between the road to Tiberias and the bypass in the al-Hanuk neighborhood.
5. Injured Australian pilot taken captive, picked up by the Germans
6. Squadron commanders meet with the commander of (all) squadron, Major von Hameskrek. The location is believed to be the truck parking lot in Nazareth (where the Diana Cinema is located these days)
7. Marshal von Falkenheim visits the Bavarian pilots in Afula. With his back to the camera, wearing a long overcoat, is Major Frantz von Papen, who was appointed Germany's chancellor in 1932. His actions in this role led to the Nazi party's rise to power half a year later.
8. The squadrons' commander, Captain Vairetm, with Captain Waltz, commander of the 304th squadron. The 304th squadron built its landing field near the Merhavia cooperation and befriended the German-speaking cooperation members.
9. Amman airport, 305th squadron
10. German aircraft following British bombing
11. 300th squadron pilots
12. At the end of the war, which saw the defeat of the Turks and their allies, the remaining squadron troops were detained. In the photo: In 1919, the soldiers return to Germany from the Kushta detention camp on the Asgard ship
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