Heinrich Baldensperger

Baldensperger Henri. Notice the

Baldensperger Henri. Notice the “Jerusalem chair”. Source: PEF/Falestin Naili

Heinrich Baldensperger came together with Samuel Müller to Jerusalem 1848, two years after Schick and Palmer. Baldensperger was educated as a turner and a weaver, but became later engaged in development of acriculture and settled in Artas southwest of Betlehem, while Müller was trained as a watchmaker. Müller stayed in the Broderhouse until 1853 and became its last inhabitant, as the others had left for different duties.

Baldensperger left the Broderhood 1849 to join John Meshullam’s project in Artas. Meshullam was a converted Jew, owner of a hotel in Jerusalem and convinced that the conversion of Jews to Christianity would hurry up the second coming of Christ. Besides the hotel he started an agriculture settlement in Artas. Baldensperger would be an important member, speaking both German and Arabic.

This thinking was common during the period, in Britain, America, Germany and many other countries, as Sweden. Communities or settlements were started like the German Colony and the American Colony (with members from Nåås in Sweden).

Artas is known as the gardens of Salomo and the place with the poles of Salomo.

The remnants of Hilma Granqvist house, former belonged to Louice Baldensperger in Artas.

The remnants of Hilma Granqvist house in Artas, that former belonged to Louice Baldensperger.

One main reason for Baldensperger to leave the Brotherhood was Spittler’s demand on the brothers to live in celibacy, which for Baldensperger was very hard since he had a girlfriend back home in Germany, which he planned to marry. As he moved to Artas he arranged for her travel to Palestine and there marriage. Both Heinrich and his wife Caroline worked for many years during the weeks at Gobat’s school in Jerusalem, but kept the house in Artas to live in during weekends and summer holidays.

As the couple passed away, there daughter Louice continued to live there. She later shared it with the well known Finnish-Swedish anthropologist Hilma Granqvist.

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