Palestinian Family Retained A Turkish Soldiers Keepsake For 100 Years, Returned Last Week

SRINAGAR: Trust and honesty have got a brand new story. A Palestinian family based at Nablus has handed over the Turkish Consul General in Jerusalem, Ahmet Riza Demirer, a trust, which was left by a Turkish soldier during the First World War (WWI). The war that involved almost every part of the world took place between 1914 and 1918. Soon after the war, Jerusalem ceased to be part of the Ottoman Empire that crumbled.

Turkish Consul General in Jerusalem, Ahmet Riza Demirer, formally accepted the unknown soldier’s trust after more than a century

The Trust comprised some cash that an unkown soldier had kept with the prominent Al-Aloul family and it retained the trust for more than a century, even without counting it.

“The handover ceremony took place at the headquarters of the Nablus Governorate in the occupied West Bank, and was attended by the Nablus Governor Ibrahim Ramadan, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Amal Jado and other political and security figures,” Palestinian news gatherer WAFA news agency reported on November 4, 2021.

“Demirer thanked the Al-Aloul family for maintaining the trust of the Turkish soldier for a hundred years, and said that this trust reflects the brotherhood between the two peoples,” the report said.

Ismail Al-Aloul, a member of the Al-Aloul family that had kept the trust for years, said he inherited the trust from his grandfather Omar and his grandfather’s brother, Mutee, who had received the trust from the pre-1917 Turkish soldier.

“He explained that his grandfather’s brother left with the Turkish soldier to the battlefield, and the Turkish soldier left the money with his grandfather,” Middle East Monitor reported. “Neither of them has returned,” he said, “but my grandfather opted to keep the money which was inherited to my father and then to me.”

“During World War I, an Ottoman soldier who was transferred to another front wrapped all of his money in a piece of cloth and entrusted it to the Palestinian Alul family’s forefathers before moving on to his new assignment,” official Turkish agency, Anadolu Agency reported. “The family handled the keepsake with care for 106 years before handing it over to Turkey’s Consul General in Jerusalem on Thursday.”

Ragip Hilmi el-Alul, a family member, told Anadolu Agency that the story dates back to 1915, when the soldier gave his money to Sir Rusdu, a well-known shopkeeper in Nablus, saying, “I will take it back if I can return.”

The soldier, whose identity was unknown to the family, never returned, and the grandchildren of Sir Rusdu continued protecting his keepsake, expecting that the soldier or one of his relatives would come to claim it.

“Indeed, the family did not even count the money thinking that it would breach the soldier’s trust until Anadolu Agency reported on the keepsake in 2018, which contained 147 Ottoman liras,” the news agency said. This sum, according to Turkish historians had the value of US $30,000 at the time, over 100 years ago.

Until the First World War, the area of historical Palestine was part of the Turkish-run Ottoman Empire, which collapsed in 1922 with the rise of the modern colonialization movement.

“On this day, the time has come to hand over the trust that a Palestinian family has maintained for more than a hundred years,” said Ramadan, as he handed over the trust, composed of Ottoman-era banknotes, to the Turkish Consul General.

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