100 Years Since End of World War I: Rare Jewish Photos

A look at the Jewish heroes of 'the war to end all wars'

Jewish soldiers in the Austro-Hungarian army, Transylvania, World War I, 1914-1918.
Alicia Rutan/ The Oster center for visual documentation, Beit Hatfutsot

One hundred years ago this week, World War I ended. It took the lives of 18 million people, 10 million in uniform and the rest civilians. In addition to the war's destruction, it “bequeathed” to the world several of the maladies that characterized the twentieth century – Nazism, Fascism and Bolshevism. Many of the Middle East’s conflicts and the constant instability of countries such as Syria, Lebanon and Iraq are directly associated with the way the war ended.

World War I was also the first war Jews fought in large numbers, and in a great spirit of volunteerism, on both sides. In some countries, mainly Germany and Austro-Hungary, assimilation and civic equality for Jews were motivating factors to fight. Other Jews – such as many Zionist leaders – pinned great hopes on a British victory in the Middle East, a hope which was ultimately fulfilled.

The war revealed many Jewish heroes. This was also one of the first wars to be intensively documented on camera. The archive of the Museum of the Jewish People (Beit Hatfutsot) has many photographs documenting the Jewish story in what was called The Great War. Here are some of the photos. 

Dr. Benno Greenfelder, a doctor in the Austro-Hungarian army, treating the foot of a wounded soldier. Greenfelder was born in 1883 and specialized in pediatrics. After the war he immigrated to Israel and was in charge of the pediatric department at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.
Dr Noah, Ginot/The Oster center for visual documentation, Beit Hatfutsot
Jewish soldiers in the British army in World War I, in a camp near Jerusalem, Palestine, 1917-1918.
Rolf Kneller collection/The Oster center for visual documentation, Beit Hatfutsot
Jewish soldiers in the Russian army during World War I, 1914-1917.
Ruth Goldzweig, neé Goldschmidt/The Oster center for visual documentation, Beit Hatfutsot
Julie Meguedes (neé Temam), a volunteer at the military hospital in Tunis, 1914-1918.
Haim and Irene Hayon/ The Oster center for visual documentation, Beit Hatfutsot
Rosa Karplus, neé Anker (third from left), a nurse in the German army during World War I, around 1916. She was born in Danzig in 1887 and died in London in 1981.
Beit Hatfutsot
Chaio Albaz, son of Lea Albaz, born in Constantine, Algeria in 1892. He served in the French army as a translator and was sent in WWI to the Dardanelles, where he fell in one of the battles in 1916.
Beit Hatfutsot