Tourists Flock to Harry Potter Grave in Israel

Posted Nov 17th 2010 09:50 AMUpdated Nov 17th 2010 10:24 AM


A grave in the Israeli town of Ramle is drawing Harry Potter fans. That's because the name on the tombstone is "Harry Potter."

The deceased is not the teenage wizard created by author J.K. Rowling, but rather a teenage British soldier killed in 1939. That fact is not stopping fans of the Harry Potter books and movies from visiting the site, however.

The backwater town hasn't been keeping track of visitor numbers, but tour guides say the tombstone has become a popular attraction, especially among Israelis.

"There is no connection with the Harry Potter we know from literature, but the name sells, the name is marketable," says Ron Peled, a tour guide who has brought dozens of groups to see the grave.

Ramle started promoting the grave this year along with its many archeological ruins.

Born in Birmingham, England, Pvt. Harry Potter joined the British military in 1938 and was sent to Palestine later that year. He was killed in a battle with an armed band in 1939, at age 18, though the grave says 19 because he lied about his age.

"It's a type of pilgrimage for some man whose name stands out. If you didn't say that Harry Potter was buried here, no one would come here," says one visitor, Josef Peretz, 76, from Tel Aviv.

Tourists similarly visit Fairview Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to see the grave of "J. Dawson." But in that case, film director James Cameron has said the tombstone of an Irish Titanic victim really did inspire Jack Dawson, the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio in 1997's "Titanic."

The big-screen "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; Part 1," opens Friday.

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Adolf Hittler`s grave, from the Jewish cementery from Bucharest, Romania, isn`t so visited.

November 21 2010 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Miss Peggy

These people have WAY too much time on their hands. Now there's too REAL uncommon names Harry and Potter!

November 18 2010 at 12:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David S.

Frankly, no offense to this young man who lost his life, but the "Harry Potter" endless sequels should have also died long ago.

November 17 2010 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

must be nice to just take off from school and work and go to israel to see something so miniscule. wow.

November 17 2010 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

geesh my names johnny angel

November 17 2010 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sounds a bit disrespectful to the REAL Harry Potter if you ask me. If I were the family and friends of this deceased person I would be pretty upset. It's not appropriate to have all of these strangers coming to visit the grave for all the wrong reasons. Sooner or later someone is going to do something they shouldn't. There are far too many stupid and weird and fanatic weird people out there, you can't trust everyone. Just think back to when the first book was published and the first movie. There were these religious fanatics who completely went off the deep end about this piece of fiction. It wouldn't take much for one of these fruitcakes to somehow get it on their head this grave is associated with this wizard Harry Potter and come and desecrate the grave. I certainly would not find this situation funny or amusing were I the family or the town or the persons in charge of the cemetary when this grave is located. Trust me, people today can't keep things in perspective, this eventually WILL get out of hand.

November 17 2010 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to basketpam's comment

I agree with you on that point basketpam. Tourism of a gravesite because of a name of someone they don't even know, who shares the name of a character? I hope that they carry the image of the Bible in thier heads *The whole moral of visiting a grave for the pure sake of fun is totally disresceptful and should be held to some degree. I don't think Harry Potter is bad, although the movies after the first two are starting to be all Twilightish. And I'm a Muslim, so the concept of death is very special to me.* and better buy a dozen roses.

November 17 2010 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joseph Papierz Jr

I think it is silly to bring tour groups to that grave site and disrespectful to that boy's memory. If the law doesn't put a stop to it the cemetary should. Cruising through cemetarys for "fun and profit" shouldn't b allowed.

November 17 2010 at 4:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That would draw some attenion.

November 17 2010 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How dumb! There are so many people with coincidental names. My tenant's name is Patty Page. I won't be asking her to sing anytime too soon, but I will be expecting her autograph on a check to pay the rent she owes me before I kick her ass out.

November 17 2010 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Larry Lowton

This was a young man that deserves respect not jokes. He was in the military at the start of WW2. A lost life and a lost son.

November 17 2010 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply