Mount Zion Cemetery – Jerusalem, Israel

Not far from Gallicantu are the cemeteries of Mount Zion.  The Protestant and Roman Catholic grave areas are a treasure trove for historians:

Flinders Petrie (1853 – 1942) is buried here. Petrie was an English Egyptologist and a pioneer in archaeology and the preservation of artifacts. He held the first chair of Egyptology in the United Kingdom, and excavated many of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt. Perhaps his most famous discovery was the Merneptah Stela. Dating back to the 13th Century BC, the granite stela contains one of the earliest references to “Israel.” Petrie developed the system of dating layers based on pottery and ceramic findings.

Horatio Gates Spafford (1828 – 1888) is buried here. He was a prominent American lawyer, best known for penning the Christian hymn It Is Well With My Soul

Spafford and his wife, Anna, were close friends of Dwight L. Moody, They had invested a great deal in Chicago in the spring of 1871. When the Great Fire of Chicago reduced the city to ashes later that year, it also destroyed much of Spafford’s wealth.

Two years later, in 1873, Spafford decided his family should take a holiday in England. He was delayed because of business, so he sent his family ahead: his wife and their four daughters eleven-year-old Anna “Annie” (11 years old), Margaret Lee “Maggie” (9 years old), Elizabeth “Bessie” (5 years old), and Tanetta (2 years of age).

On November 22, 1873, while crossing the Atlantic on the steamship Ville du Havre, their ship was struck by another vessel and 226 people lost their lives, including all four of Spafford’s daughters. Anna Spafford survived the tragedy. Upon arriving in England, she sent a telegram to Spafford beginning “Saved alone.”

Spafford then sailed to England, going over the location of his daughters’ deaths. According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote “It Is Well with My Soul” on this journey.

The music, written by Philip Bliss, was named after the ship on which Spafford’s daughters died, Ville du Havre. 

Oskar Schindler (1908 – 1974) was a German industrialist, spy, and member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust. Schindler employed many Jews in his enamelware and ammunitions factories, which were located in occupied Poland as well as Bohemia and Moravia. In so doing, he kept many from the concentration camps and associated gas chambers.

Schindler is the subject of the 1982 novel Schindler’s Ark, and the subsequent 1993 Steven Spielberg film Schindler’s List. The State of Israel recognizes Schindler as a ‘righteous Gentile’ who took extraordinary initiative to save the lives of his Jewish employees.