Forever My Jerusalem by Puah Shteiner takes readers back 66 years in time to when Jews lived in the Old City of Jerusalem but found themselves under siege. During Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, the Jordanian army attacked and eventually overtook the old city of Jerusalem. All Jewish residents were expelled and became refugees overnight. This powerful autobiographical story of the fall and evacuation of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem is told by Puah Shteiner who lived though the siege and battles as a young girl. She describes how the Jewish Quarter was evacuated and its homes plundered and synagogues destroyed by the Arab victors. The author also describes being relocated by the brand new government of Israel in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Katamon (being driven there in a truck with mattresses). Her detailed descriptions of the initial arrival in a refugee apartment, walking around the deserted homes of Katamon Arabs and efforts to qualify for a legally approved apartment in the new State are fascinating. They provide first hand accounts into the real life struggles of those forced out of the Old City as the nascent State of Israel tries to survive and deal with a growing Jewish refugee challenge. The author’s father was taken captive by the Jordanian army and held as a POW for a lengthy period of time and she recounts the hardships this separation caused.
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