Ya'akov Hotiminsky, Sir Herbert Samuel on the Technikum Steps, 1920, black and white photograph, Collection of Dr. Yeremiyahu Rimon, Haifa
War of the Languages:
Founding of the Technion/Technikum
March 12 - July 30, 2011
Curator: Svetlana Reingold
The establishment of the Technikum (now the Technion) at the beginning of the 20th century is considered as one of the most important events in the history of Haifa city. This institute of science and technology was the first of its kind not only in Haifa, or in Eretz Israel. In fact, there was no technical university worthy of that title in the entire Ottoman Empire. The decision of the German "Ezra" ("Aid") Society to focus their efforts on Haifa had long-term effects on the development of Jewish settlement in the city. The process of creating the Technion in Haifa continued for more than 15 years (1908-1924), during which time - in 1913-1914 - the controversy about the language of instruction raged: German or Hebrew? The "War of the Languages", ending in victory for Hebrew, was a national contest that formulated the emerging national identity of the Hebrew settlement.
Various sections of the exhibition attempt to depict the different approaches motivating the processes that united to make Hebrew victorious in the debate about the creation of the Technikum: formation of the concept of a scientific-educational institution in Eretz Israel by the Ezra Society of Berlin; The Zionist approach to education and to Hebrew in Eretz Israel; the reasons for selecting the Technikum's location in Haifa; the concept of Alexander Baerwald, the architect who translated the vision into an architectonic ‘language' and designed the splendid building on the slopes of Mount Carmel; the onset of the War of the Languages and its influence on the language of instruction at the Reali School and the Technikum; the transfer of the Technikum administration to the Zionist Organization, and its opening in 1924.
Presenting the issues that arose during the previous century in regard to the Hebrew Technion in Haifa, the exhibition examines an important chapter in the history of the Hebrew Yishuv in Eretz Israel - one of the defining moments in the crystallization of the Israeli cultural identity.
The exhibition has ben organized in cooperation with the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology