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Before Founding the School:
In 1846 Pastor Gobat was in London in order to be ordained a Bishop.
Due to contacts between Fliedner and the king of Prussia at that time, and upon request of the king, Fliedner sent another four female clerics to Jerusalem. It was also decided that a small Hospital be built to supply medical aids and services to the Arabs, in addition to a school for Palestinian and German girls. The king of Prussia-in addition to several other German, Dutch, and British foundations and organizations- supplied financial donations to supply the project.
In April 17th 1851, Pastor Fliedner had a meeting with four clerics in
Jerusalem, and after several weeks of long search, they rented a house near the church of
the Holy Sepulchre. In this house Fliedner established the hospital and the
Girls School. That was the beginning of an establishment for helping the
Palestinian girls, and this great establishment is still standing high until this day,
represented by the current Talitha Kumi.
Later on, the Hospital was separated from the school due to expansions and diversions of the directions of each of them.
Establishing the Educational House in Old Jerusalem: "Top of Page"
1- The beginning: The work started by accepting an orphan Arab girl. At the beginning the work of the nuns
was divided into two places; Two nuns used to teach sewing and German language at Bishop
Gobats school, and in the afternoons they used to teach at the education house they
In the first year, there were about 12 girls in the house, and in 1853 Sister Charlotte Pilz was sent to Jerusalem in order to help the other clerics and nuns. She helped a lot to evolve and expand the house, which was by now a center for helping Arab girls. The house was even known as Charlottes House or Charlottes Center. Since Bishop Gobat was an Anglican (British), and Pilz was a Lutheran (German), the problems were quite clear between the German language center and the English language department, therefore the House was separated from Gobats school in 1856.
After the separation; the nuns condensed their efforts in their own education house, thereby the number of the girls quantumly increased; it increased so much that the nuns were obliged to refuse the admission of several additional applicants to the school for the lack of space.
In 1860 the nuns and clerics bought a piece of
land outside the old city on a hill called Gottfrieds Hoehe; The
Height of Gottfried, referring to the leader Gottfried Al Pion, who took this
land in the 11th century to settle his men in it.
In 1861 the number of the girls that were obtaining their education in the house reached 35; 23 of them lived permanently in the house and the other 12 came to the house only in the day time.
In the course of time, the reputation of the
school (Education House) became higher and higher. In fact, it became superb, which
caused a lot of families wanting to have their daughters educated by the nuns in the
house. They found that a girl that is raised by these nuns would find a husband
faster than other girls. Due to this, it was essential to add another building for the
In 1866 they started to build a new school on Gottfrieds height. The German Doctor Schick supervised the work. The new school was first inaugurated under the name of Talitha Kumi on January 1st 1867, referring to the Biblical script written in Mark 5:41,when Jesus arose the young girl from death.
2- The improvement of Talitha until
World War II:
In the years following 1867 the nuns at Talitha Kumi could take in around 140 girls supervised and looked after by 7 nuns.
At that time reverend pastor Zoellner was the administrator of the Kaiserswerth Missionary Organization, and after his trip to Palestine in 1900 he decided to increase and improve the services of Talitha Kumi.
According to Zoellners wish, a new Kindergarten was first initiated in 1902. The aim of the Kindergarten was to prepare the German and Arab children for school. Of course, Christian education played a very important role then, and it still does. The initiation of the Kindergarten was sort of a base for a daily school to be built in Jerusalem. In 1903 a new building was built especially for the Kindergarten.
The nuns noticed that the lack of qualified teachers was a very dangerous sign; Therefore they decided to find a teachers college, so they chose the best girls and started teaching and qualifying them to be teachers. Through this education, they were qualified to teach also in other villages and schools.
The Clerical School for Eastern
In 1905 the last stage of education was founded; the school for clerics, which took in Arab female clerics on a trial basis. Very few Arab girls made this step of becoming clerics.
Meanwhile, Sister Charlotte died on July 27th 1903 at an age of about 83 years. After Sister Charlottes death, Sister Dorothia Richao was in charge of Talitha Kumi in a tranquil and calm atmosphere. The sisters could easily notice a lot of progress in the school, and in all of its branches.
The nuns were allowed to continue their work in Jerusalem and Talitha Kumi until 1918. When the English troops conquered Jerusalem, the nuns had to evacuate the school and hand it over to the English Mandate Army. All the nuns of Talitha and the hospital were imprisoned in Halwan; Except sister Dorothia, because she died in 1917, one year before the conquest.
Between the years 1917-1925 Talitha
Kumi was turned into a British school, until the British troops gave it back to the nuns
in 1925. Sister Bertha Harz became Headmistress of Talitha in 1926. After a
short period, 34 girls came back to school, and the number of the girls was
increasing. The school could then work on
a very large scale. Thereby, more and more girls were prepared and qualified for
the future of being teachers, clerics, or housewives. And the number of girls in Talitha reached 217 girls till the year of WW II.
By W.W.II the nuns lost everything they had, and
they were driven out of the school to Wilhelma, near the city of
Lod, until 1950. And by the end of the war Sister Bertha Harz and
Najla Sayegh decided to start all over in Beit Jala.