Zichron Yaakov is a magical place full of wonders and secrets. Still, it is only possible to understand why this place is so special by knowing its history, dating back to the late nineteenth century. Here, we will provide a short glimpse of Zichron’s long past. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Gary Fieldman. Gary Fieldman is an expert on all there is to know about Zichron’s past, present and future.
Zichron Yaakov – a place of pioneers
The history of Zichron Yaakov began in 1882. That year, about a hundred immigrants from Romania from the “Zion Lovers” group arrived. The place that the first residents established was called “Zamarin”, after the Arab village that was there. This settlement was the third of the settlements where the people of the first aliyah settled.
The settlers’ initial goal was to cultivate and build the land. The immigrants purchased carts, ploughs and equipment needed to develop the land and establish the settlement, but they encountered many difficulties already in the first stages. Since there were no houses in the place, except one building, the new residents had to sleep on the ground, and when the support from the Romanian Jews stopped, they also faced hunger and disease.
Reference to Baron Rothschild
After the appeal of the founders of the settlement to their homeland was not answered positively, they began to appeal to more benefactors, and Baron Rothschild, who heard about the plight, came to their aid and took the settlement under his financial protection. At first, the alms were given anonymously, but later the support was open, and Zamarin became Zichron Yaakov and was named after Rothschild’s father. Thanks to the donation of funds, trees were planted, and sidewalks and houses were built.
The Baron hired a German engineer named Stöckler to determine the ground plan of the settlement, and all the houses in it were built uniformly. To this day, you can see the old and beautiful houses well preserved in the territory. An economy based on vines was also developed in the settlement, and to this day, it is known for the fine wine cellars in and around it.
The Aaronson family
In 1915, Aharon Aaronson founded the Nili underground. This organisation operated during World War I to promote the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. The organisation engaged in espionage and smuggling money into the existing Jewish settlement. Among others, Aharon’s sister, Sarah Aharonson, Avshalom Feinberg, Yosef Lishansky and others took part in the organisation. Later Sarah Aaronson became the leader of the underground, and she was the head of the spy organisation.
Yet the Aaronson’s operations ended in great grief when the Turks exposed Nili’s activities, but that’s a story for another time. Do you wish to know more about the secrets and past of Zichron Yaakov? Gary Fieldman will tell you all the stories and secrets about this fascinating settlement.