3rd Year Studio, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design
Dr. Erez Golani Solomon
Through burial, the dead engrave a sense of history into the earth. However, physical separation of the living from the dead threatens the existence of ancestral awareness.
The war of 1967 uprooted 150,000 Syrians from their homes in Israel, leaving nothing behind but empty houses. During 2014, the death toll of the Syrian Civil War had reached 250,000, while the number of displaced Syrians had already surpassed 1,000,000.
As the scale of the present catastrophe unfolds, the fate of the dead, and the ability of the living to honor them remains unclear. Entire cities are displaced, while cemeteries lay in ruins. The living escape, but what of the dead? How could the sacred act of burial take place under looming destruction? How can history be protected?
In response to these dangers, we planned a camp for temporary burial on Israeli lands formerly owned by the uprooted Syrian families of 1967. This camp will provide a humanitarian solution while providing Israel with the opportunity to set right a past wrong. Most importantly, it is a camp for those who are no longer among the living, and whose right for safe and permanent interment has been destroyed. Among those who flee the war zone are descendants of the uprooted families of 1967. For them, permanent catacombs were planned to ensure the safekeeping and protection of the dead.
When the war is finally over, the refugees will return along with their dead to the land of their forefathers, and families will return to normalcy without having lost the connection to their ancestral past.
Timeline of the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, 2012 – 2014. Video: animated map of settlement and erasure in the Golan Heights during 1878-2014.
Abandoned Syrian hospitals, Israeli bunkers, houses and villages – a hallmark of the Golan Heights.
It is customary in Islam to purify the dead before returning their bodies to the ground. Therefore, the first structure the refugees will encounter after passing through the entrance gates will be the purification chamber.
Refugees will be granted temporary housing solutions, along with temporary burial rights in a temporary burial structure. Once the Syrian Civil War ends, this structure will be dismantled, leaving only the two towers behind it, serving as archives.
Top Left: Plan of re-used stone house
Top Right: Section of re-used stone house and catacombs
Bottom Left: Plan of Burial Catacombs
Bottom Right: The far future, the return of abandonment, the protection of the dead