In 1873, after establishing colonies in Haifa and Jaffa, members of the Templer sect from Württemberg, Germany, settled on a large tract of land in the Refaim Valley, southwest of the Old City of Jerusalem.
The land was purchased by one of the colonists, Matthaus Frank, from the Arabs of Beit Safafa.
The Templers were Christians who broke away from the Protestant church and encouraged their members to settle in the Holy Land to prepare for Messianic salvation.
They built their homes in the style to which they were accustomed in Germany – farmhouses of one or two stories, with slanting tiled roofs and shuttered windows, but using local materials such as Jerusalem stone instead of wood and bricks.
The colonists engaged in agriculture and traditional trades such as carpentry and blacksmithing.
Their homes ran along two parallel streets that would become Emek Refaim and Beithlehem Rd.
The British Mandatory government deported the German Templers during World War II. As Germans, they were considered enemy citizens, all the more so because they made no effort to disguise their Nazi sympathies.
Some of them resettled in Australia.