Highlight of the month

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive
Poet Abdulrahim Mahmoud Collection

Since its launch in 2018, the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive continues to discover personal and familial archives and put together the pieces of the Palestinian archive in Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon. The project deals with different archival items including photographs, documents, and audio-visual records which shed light on personal experiences, behavioral patterns and social practices during the last two decades.

This blog highlights the Abdulrahim Mahmoud Collection, which the PMDA team succeeded in finding and acquiring – in addition to the many diverse archival collections of Palestinian poets, writers and artists. Work is currently underway to complete the digitization, archival and translation of the collection, so that at a later stage it will be displayed and made available to the public of researchers and those interested on the PMDA website, to complete the material published on the “Palestine Journeys” website – a joint project of the Palestinian Museum and the Institute for Palestine Studies.

Abdulrahim Mahmoud was born in 1913 in Anabta-Tulkarm where he completed his elementary school at the al-Fadiliyah School before moving to an-Najah National School in Nablus where he completed his secondary education and met poet Ibrahim Tuqan. He then worked at the same School as a teacher of Arabic Literature, up until his resignation in 1936 to join the ranks of the freedom fighters before emigrating to Iraq, where he joined the Iraqi Military Academy, graduating with the rank of lieutenant, then returned to Anabta and resumed work at an-Najah School.

In 1947, Mahmoud joined the Arab Liberation Army and fought several engagements against the Zionist forces before he died a martyr in the Battle of the Tree on 13 July 1948. Buried in the city of Nazareth, Mahmoud is considered one of the most prominent Palestinian poets and a pillar of Palestinian resistance literature. Mahmoud left a massive legacy of patriotic poems, of which is a poem titled “The Shaheed (The Martyr)”, starting with one of his most celebrated verses that read “I shall carry my soul on the palm of my hand and toss it into the pits of death”.

A Studio Portrait of Abdulrahim Mahmoud, 1943
Taken in 1943 by Studio Rashid in Tulkarm, this studio portrait shows Abdulrahim Mahmoud wearing a Tarbush, a suit, and a necktie.

Abdulrahim Mahmoud with the Anabta Sports Club Football Team, 1928
Taken in 1928 by Cairo Studio in Nablus, this photograph shows Abdulrahim Mahmoud with his colleagues at the Anabta Sports Club Football Team in their uniforms which represent the Palestinian flag. Mahmoud is seen (second to the right; first row) laying on the ground with the ball next to him.

Abdulrahim Mahmoud with His Teacher and Colleagues at an-Najah National School, Nablus, 1931
Taken in 1931, this photograph shows Abdulrahim Mahmoud with his teacher and poetry enthusiast colleagues in the Arabic Language Club at an-Najah National School. Seen in the photograph in the first row, seated right to left, are Tayeb Bennouna from Morocco; as it was common for students to come from Morocco to study at an-Najah School, Abdulrahim Mahmoud, Nuweihid-al-Hout; High school Arabic language teacher following Ibrahim Tuqan, seen in a Tarbush and seated on a different chair, Dawood abu Ghazaleh, and Burhan ed-Din al-Aboushi from Jenin. Standing in the second row, right to left, are Wasif as-Saliby, unknown, Rouhy al-Ahmad, unknown, Muhammad Sa’ed as-Santarisy, Muhammad al-Fasi, Hamad Benjelloun from Morocco, and Shaher ad-Damin from Nablus.

Abdulrahim Mahmoud with His Teacher and Colleagues at an-Najah National School, Nablus, 1931
Taken in 1931, this photograph shows Abdulrahim Mahmoud with his teacher and colleagues at an-Najah National School in Nablus. Signed by Dr. Saeb Erekat; Director of the Public Relations Department at an-Najah National University for four years between 1982-86, the photograph was gifted to the family of Mahmoud as a souvenir from the ANNU. Seen in the photograph in the first row, right to left, are Musa al-Khammash, Jawdat Tuffaha, Qadri Tuqan; the mathematics and physics teacher at the School, Thabet ad-Dabbagh, Nasuh Haidar, and Jawad abu Rabah. Standing in the second row behind the table are, right to left, Poet Abdulrahim Mahmoud, Muhammad al-Adham, Hussein Khoury, Adel Abatha, Taj ed-Din Arafat, Samih an-Nabulsi, As’ad Hashem, Subhi al-Azzouni, Burhan ed-Din al-Aboushi, unknown, Muhammad Sa’ed as-Santarisi, Sadeq Bushnaq, a man from the al-Budairy Family, and Dawood abu Ghazaleh.

A Letter from Abdulrahim Hanoun to Abdulrahim Mahmoud, 11 March 1933
Handwritten in Arabic on 11 March 1933, this archival document shows a letter from Abdulrahim Hanoun to Abdulrahim Mahmoud addressing his gratitide upon receiving a previous warm-hearted letter from Mahmoud. In the letter, Hanoun wishes Mahmoud success and safety from the envious, as well as reporting brief familial news from Anabta and Tulkarm. He also clarifies that the letter was written in a hurry and that a detailed letter will follow.

“The Shaheed”, a Poem by Abdulrahim Mahmoud, al-Amali Magazine, 1939
Printed in Arabic, this archival document shows a poem by Abdulrahim Mahmoud titled “The Shaheed (The Martyr)” that read “I shall carry my soul on the palm of my hand and toss it into the pits of death” published in the Okaz Column of the 21st issue of al-Amali Magazine; a weekly culture magazine. Published in Beirut on Friday 20 January 1939 corresponding 29 Dhu al-Qidah 1357 AH, the issue sold at five Syrian piastre and featured another poem titled “Qalbi (My Heart)” by Abdelqader Hasan from Marrakesh.

Abdulrahim Mahmoud with Students and Colleagues at an-Najah National School, Nablus, 1942-43
Taken at an-Najah National School in Nablus, this photograph shows students with their teachers, including Abdulrahim Mahmoud during the school year 1942-43. The teachers seen seated right to left in the second row, behind the students seated on the ground, are Aladdin an-Nimry, Abdelwadood Ramadan, Muhammad Ali al-Khayyat, Adel Tuffaha, Sheikh Zaki abu al-Huda, Adib Mihyaar; seated on a different chair as the Principal of the School, As’ad Sharaf, Khalil al-Khammash, Abdulrahim Mahmoud, Muhammad Bushnaq, and Qadri Tuqan. The teacher seen in a Tarbush standing to the far right is Muhammad Rushdi al-Khayyat, while the one on the far left in a Tarbush, a suit and a necktie is Muhammad Sa’id as-Santarisi.

“Palestine Poetry Festival”, an Invitation, 14 November 1946
Printed in Arabic, this archival document shows an invitation to the biggest poetry festival titled “Palestine Poetry Festival” held by the Dajani Scientific Committee and sponsored by Judge Aziz Bek ad-Dawody; Dean of the Dajani Family Council. Held at 04:00 PM on Thursday 14 November 1946 corresponding 19 Dhu al-Qidah 1365 AH at the Young Men’s Christian Association in Jerusalem, the Festival featured teachers; the names of which are either printed or handwritten on the invitation, including Sa’ed al-Isa, Kamal Naser, Meneh Khoury, Muhammad Hasan Aladdin from Jerusalem, Muhammad al-Adnani and Ahmad Yousef from Yafa, Hasan al-Buhairy from Haifa, Seif ed-Din Zaid al-Kilany, Abdulrahim Mahmoud, Waheeb al-Bitar, and Abdelqader as-Saleh from Nablus.

The Palestine Poetry Festival, Jerusalem, 14 November 1946
A photograph taken during the Palestine Poetry Festival held on 14 November 1946 by the Dajani Scientific Committee at the Young Men’s Christian Association in Jerusalem. Featuring Palestinian poets, the festival was broadcasted live by al-Quds and the Near East radio stations. Seen seated to the right are Amin Hafeth ad-Dajani; Secretary of the Dajani Club Cultural Committee, Hasan al-Buhairy, Abdulrahim Mahmoud, Waheeb al-Bitar, Abdelqader as-Saleh, Ahmad Yousef, Mustafa ad-Dabbagh, Muhammad al-Adnani, Sa’ed al-Isa, Seif ed-Din Zaid al-Kilany, Meneh Khoury, Muhammad Hasan Aladdin, Kamal Naser, and Musa ad-Dajani; compere of said Festival. Aziz ad-Dawody is also seen in the photograph delivering a speech on behalf of the Dajani Family Council. Appearing in the background is the Flag of Syria with the flags of Lebanon, Kingdom of Iraq, Kingdom of Egypt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Kingdom of Syria to its left.

The Nablus Municipality Official Letter to Name a Street After Abdulrahim Mahmoud, 12 August 1976
Printed in Arabic on 12 August 1976, this document shows an official letter from Bassam Shak’a, Mayor of Nablus, to the Nablus Municipality engineer requesting that he abides by the Municipal Council’s resolution no. 6 put forward during the 10 August 1976 session regarding naming the offramp street leading to the Hamzeh Toqan’s house through Rafedia Main Street after the shaheed Abdulrahim Mahmoud.

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