Shaare zedek and the six day war

In the early hours of Monday, June 5th, 1967 the telephone rang in Shaare Zedek. In a conversation with Israeli military headquarters that lasted no longer than 15 seconds, Shaare Zedek was put on alert. The hospital’s administrative and medical staff was notified and Dr. Falk Schlesinger, the hospital’s Director-General, arrived at the hospital within minutes.

Members of the staff started arriving in the hospital and the activity was intense. The emergency generator was activated, windows were covered with blackout material (so that the light in the hospital could not be seen outside) and sandbags were strategically positioned. A hospital bed or stretcher was placed in every available space including the hospital’s main corridors and classrooms in the School of Nursing. The nurses’ dormitories were converted into emergency wards and the basement was emptied to be used as a shelter.

A large group of volunteers (including high school students and foreign students) augmented the hospital’s staff. They tirelessly, filled and piled up sandbags, rolled bandages, carried the wounded from ambulances, and comforted the injured. Volunteers from Shaare Zedek’s Ladies Auxiliary cared for children of the medical staff, especially nurses whose husbands were drafted, so that the staff could focus on providing around-the-clock medical aid to the wounded. Ambulances and volunteers using their own private cars, escorted every civilian patient who could be released home.

Within two hours of that phone call, Shaare Zedek, a civilian hospital had been transformed into a front-line military hospital with increased capacity. A larger than usual staff of doctors and nurses were on duty, medical supplies and equipment on hand. The underground operating theaters and teams of surgeons were ready.

Please read this article taken from the Shaare Zedek archives.

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