Palestinian family protects Ottoman soldier's keepsake for over century

Alul family presents 147 Ottoman liras wrapped in piece of cloth to Turkey's Consul General in Jerusalem in ceremony.

Palestinian family protects Ottoman soldier's keepsake for over century

A Palestinian family has presented an Ottoman soldier's keepsake to Turkey's mission in Jerusalem after handling it with exceptional care for over a century.

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.

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 family presented the keepsake to Turkey's Consul General in Jerusalem, Ahmet Riza Demirer, in a ceremony held in the Nablus Governorate.

Palestinian Deputy Foreign Minister Amal Jadou and Nablus Governor Ibrahim Ramadan also attended the ceremony.

The soldier's or his heirs' names are unknown, Demirer said, adding Turkey will protect the keepsake as finely as the Alul family. "We promise that this keepsake will be a symbol of this friendship, this history," he added.

Wishing the keepsake will be handed down to an heir if one appears, Alul said: "We want this keepsake's story to be protected at a Turkish military museum."

Hüseyin Demir