Muhammad Darwish, born in 1934 from al-Khader; and Mahmoud Saleh, born in 1919 from al-Khader; discussing the Ottoman period and World War I

Muhammad Darwish (born 1934 from al-Khader) and Mahmoud Saleh (born 1919 from al-Khader) interviewed by Talha Darwish (son of interviewee) on 2 April 2000.

Muhammad Darwish discusses the following: his knowledge of the Ottoman period and World War I came from his father; military conscription involved taking Arabs to the army by force; people used to run away from conscription; his uncle married a woman from the Ta‘amra Bedouin tribes to avoid conscription (her surname was Mahameed), but when the war worsened he had pay 50 gold lira; different types of guns; men were taken to Iraq and Yemen during the war; marriage in those days was easy and not so expensivel; wedding customs including the use of a special camel, slaughtering a sheep for the engagement; people used to gather in their courtyards to tell stories; education consisted only of reading the Quran in the mosque and basic reading and writing; discusses dissemination of news – little information during the Ottoman period but during the British Mandate radios became more common; emigration from al-Khader to the Americas – required special papers to travel; when the British arrived in Palestine they gave people biscuits; men used to marry off their daughters to pay their debts or take a piece of land; local castle/fort where the Ottoman governor used to live; when Ottomans were defeated in the war they left boxes full of gold; building of the famous gate at the entrance to al-Khader in the Ottoman period; Russian pilgrims used to walk through the village on their way to Hebron.

Mahmoud Saleh discusses the following: the Ottomans took people by force and made them walk or ride on camels to move from one place to another; his father was conscripted along with his friend; people started marrying foreign women to avoid conscription; when people got married the groom had to buy the clothes and the wedding dress, they killed goats and sheep, and the bride rode on a camel; when someone died they used to scream; every house had its own courtyard to meet, chat and serve coffee – foreigners used to take tours around all the courtyards; people used to help each other in their lives; education was conducted in the home and the teacher took wheat and food as payment; in the Ottoman period women used to harvest the fields; people emigrated overseas; people used to trade their daughters for a piece of land; medicines were made from herbs.

Original audio recording: 4 cassette tapes.
Transcript: word for word.
In the original collection at Bethlehem University these cassette tapes were categorised as File 9 of Box 12.

This fileset exists as part of the Ottoman Empire and the World War I collection within the Bethlehem University Oral History Project of the Planet Bethlehem Archive.