The wonderful Nostalgia Online – (nostal.co.il) is a volunteer association that collects images of modern-day Israel and presents them online. Founded by David Sela in 2003, Nostal.co.il today claims to be the largest archive of Israeli heritage, history and popular culture — and with over 60,000 images and 1,100-plus videos in its database, it probably is.
Powered by a team of researchers and volunteers the site’s mission is the preservation of Israel’s collective memory.
Recently, Nostal.co.il launched a new project on its Facebook page, asking people to participate in identifying people and places in old photos. For example, this photo was accompanied by the following query:
“This image was taken in the late 40s or early 50s. We’re asking for help in finding the exact place it was taken. The sign in the window in the building across the street says ‘Library’. Recognize it? Thank you!”
So far no one has been able to identify the location but a number of folks have pointed out that the vehicle is a Buick Special Touring Sedan.
This photo, marked “Muster on the Valley of Esdraelon [the Greek rendering of the word “Jezreel” — RN], Preparatory to the Attack on the Canal” aroused the curiosity of Nostal’s editors, who posted, “Anyone here from the Jezreel Valley? We want to find the place where this picture was taken of the Ottoman Army in 1914, preparing for battle during the First World War.”
The answer came through yesterday from reader Yoni Einav. “The photo was taken in the Harod Valley (east of the Jezreel Valley) in the area between Ein Harod and [Kibbutz] Beit Hashita of today. You can see from the photo-collage [below], the edge of Mount Gilboa (marked with an arrow). The photo was taken viewing from east to west as the second picture where you can see the Arab community of Sha’ata (in the tree grove), and the billowing locomotive smoke as the Valley Train makes its way eastwards.”
This photo came with the following request: “If someone in your family served in the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps (AMPC) during the British Mandate period, please contact Talia Kleiner at firstname.lastname@example.org who wants the information for research purposes and to arrange a meeting of the families.” Responses are now beginning to come in.
Nostal is also running a Facebook project called “Personal photos to remember”, asking people to send in pictures from days gone by with historic, nostalgic or personal significance, as in this photo from 1951 uploaded by reader Ronen Marcus of his mother and grandfather at the Kfar Ono ma’abara (refugee absorption camp).