Mount Zion Cemetery
In 1841, an Anglo-Prussian diocese was created in Jerusalem. This provided a foundation on which Protestants could settle in the city. In 1848, Samuel Gobat, the second Protestant bishop, acquired a tract of land on Mount Zion where members of the two congregations in the diocese could be buried. When the diocesan contract was dissolved in 1886 as a result of the political situation, it was decided that the two congregations would continue to administer the cemetery jointly. A cemetery committee with equal numbers of German and English members was formed for this purpose in 1906 and is still responsible for the cemetery’s administrative affairs today. In 1917, a war graves site was set aside for the German and Austrian soldiers who had fallen in the area around Jerusalem since 1916. It was described as a “non-denominational island in the Protestant cemetery”. After the Israeli War of Independence and the formation of the state of Israel (1948-1967), the cemetery could not be used by the churches in the east of Jerusalem as it was located just west of the ceasefire line between Israel and Jordan.
Today, the Mount Zion Cemetery is still the only burial ground for the German Protestant community in Jerusalem. The right to be laid to perpetual rest in the Middle East means that the cemetery only has a few vacant plots left; these are reserved for the local Protestant community.