Schick, Conrad°

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SCHICK, CONRAD ° (1822–1901), German resident of Jerusalem, missionary, architect, surveyor, archaeologist, and model-builder. Born in Bitz (near Abingen, Württemberg) Schick was educated as a locksmith-apprentice in Kornthal (near Stuttgart), where he was exposed to the religious atmosphere of pietistic Wuerttemberg. In Basel, he joined Christian Friedrich Spittler's "Pilgrim's Mission" in St. Chrischona. In late summer of 1846 Schick arrived in Jerusalem as one of the first two missionaries sent by Spittler and established the "Bruederhaus" as their missionary center. He left Spittler in 1850 and joined the "London Society for Promoting Christianity among Jews" (London Jews' Society – ljs) as a carpentry teacher in the "House of Industry" educational institution in Jerusalem. In 1857 he became director of the school, serving until 1880. He was also responsible for all ljs assets in Jerusalem and its "house architect and builder." He lived in Jerusalem for 55 years, until his death.

Schick was undoubtedly the most significant and influential scholar among the residents of Jerusalem in the second half of the 19th century, a devoted lover of the city, gifted with a unique "talent for Jerusalem," which derived from his deep-rooted loyalty to the city, the Holy Land, and everything they represent to the devout Christian. In addition, he left his traces on the country's landscape: the monumental buildings he planned and constructed in Jerusalem. Schick engaged in a variety of topics. He is mentioned in most of the research on 19th-century Jerusalem, European and German colonization and settlement in Palestine, the history of Palestine's cartography and archaeology, 19th-century architecture in Jerusalem, and models and relief maps of the city and its monuments.

He took advantage of his ongoing presence, his familiarity with the city and the whole country, and his command of the local as well as European languages. He was involved in almost every study conducted in Jerusalem at the time. His importance reached its peak following the beginning of the organized study of Palestine, marked by the foundation of the pef and, 12 years later, the German dpv. Schick was for both organizations the best "man in the field," the ideal "research agent." His reports and papers hold an unprecedented treasure of information concerning almost all periods in the history of Jerusalem as well as the present city. Modern researchers, in archaeology as well as history and historical geography, continue to make use of the data in Schick's studies.

He reached his scientific position through diligent work, boundless inquisitiveness, a long process of independent study, and a deep feeling for the country and the city, their history and religious traditions. Schick was an autodidact, combining the describer and reporter, the surveyor, researcher and discoverer. In four decades of scientific work, he published two books, a number of guides to various sites in Jerusalem, and hundreds of articles, reports, maps, and drawings. He participated, in one way or another, in almost all the research conducted in Jerusalem during the last third of the 19th century.

His works concerning the Herodium (Frankenberg), Solomon's Pools, the water aqueducts to Jerusalem, the Siloam inscription, and the subterranean cisterns of the Temple Mount are only some examples of his archaeological involvement and achievements. He was involved in the planning, and sometimes also in the building, of Talitha Kumi, both "Jesus-Hilfe" hospitals for lepers, the ljs sanatorium and the Diaconesses' hospital on Prophets Street, his own residence ("Tabor House") and the "Mahanaim House," the Jewish neighborhood Me'ah She'arim, the Ethiopian Church, and many other monumental buildings. In many of them, he cooperated with Theodor Sandel, an architect who belonged to the Temple Society.

Being one of the heads of the German community in Jerusalem, Schick participated in every local committee. He was a member of a long list of scientific societies. He was decorated by the Austrians and the Germans, and received the title of "royal building consultant" from the King of Württemberg and an honorary doctorate from the University of Tübingen.


A. Carmel, "Wie es zu Conrad Schicks Sendung nach Jerusalem kam," in: zdpv, 99 (1983), 204–18; H. Goren, G. Barkai, and E. Schiller (eds.), Conrad Schick: For Jerusalem, Jerusalem (Heb., 1998); H. Goren and R. Rubin, "Conrad Schick's Models of Jerusalem and its Monuments," in: peq, 128 (1996), 102–24; E. Kautzsch, "Zum Gedächtniss des koeniglich wuerttembergischen Bauraths Dr. Conrad Schick," in: Mittheilungen und Nachrichten des Deutschen Palästina Vereins, 8 (1902), 1–12; T. Sandel, "Der Koenigl. Wuerttemb. Baurat Dr. C. Schick," in: Warte, 58 (1902), 117–18; C. Schick, Wie aus einem einfachen Mechaniker im Schwabenland ein koeniglicher Baurat in Jerusalem geworden ist, ed. H. Grobe-Einsler (1966); C. Schlicht, "Baurat Dr. Conrad Schick," in: Neueste Nachrichten aus dem Morgenlande, 46 (1902), 3–8; A. Strobel, Conrad SchickEin Leben fuer Jerusalem: Zeugnisse ueber einen erkannten Auftrag (1988); S. Gibson, "Conrad Schick (1822–1901), The Palestine Exploration Fund and an 'Archaic Hebrew' Inscription from Jerusalem," in: peq, 132 (2000), 113–22; C.W. Wilson, "Obituary of Dr. Conrad Schick," in: pefqs, 34 (1902), 139–42.

[Haim Goren (2nd ed.)]