There was a frenzied banging on the front door. When my mother answered it, she recognised her aunt’s Jewish cook, ashen-faced, pleading to be let in: “I was on a bus, and the Muslims were pulling the Jewish passengers out and killing them. I said I was a Christian.” A month earlier, pro-Nazi officers led by Rashid Ali al-Ghailani, had staged a successful coup in Iraq. The German-backed Rashid Ali and his men were soon routed by British troops – but not before they had incited murder and mayhem against the Jewish “fifth column”.
Seventy years ago, on June 1 1941, a group of Jews, wearing their Shavuot best, had ventured out for the first time in weeks to greet the returning pro-British Regent, only to be ambushed by an armed Arab mob. Terrified Jews barricaded themselves inside their houses, or ran for their lives across the flat rooftops.
The rioting went on for two days: around 180 Jews died in Baghdad and Basra (the exact figure is not known); hundreds were wounded, 900 homes and 586 Jewish-owned shops were destroyed; there was looting, rape and mutilation. Stories abound of babies murdered and Jewish hospital patients refused treatment or poisoned. The dead were hurriedly buried in a mass grave.
Jews recognised some assailants – the butcher, the gardener. But some brave Arabs saved Jews. My aunt tells how the neighbours sheltered her until the trouble had died down. The neighbour was a prominent Nazi, but his wife was “a lady — she even made the beds for us,” my aunt recounts.
The screams reached the ambassador at a candlelit dinner The Farhud (Arabic for “violent dispossession”) marked an irrevocable break between Jews and Arabs in Iraq and paved the way for the dissolution of the 2,600-year-old Jewish community barely 10 years later.
A question mark hovers over the role of the British – encamped on the city outskirts, they delayed intervening until the looting had spread to Muslim districts. Yet the victims’ screams reached the British ambassador, Cornwallis, who was enjoying a candlelit dinner and a game of bridge.
Loyal and productive citizens comprising a fifth of Baghdad, the Jews had not known anything like the Farhud in living memory. Before the victims’ blood was dry, army and police warned the Jews not to testify against the murderers and looters. Even the official report on the massacre was not published until 1958.
Despite their deep roots, the Jews understood that they would never, along with other minorities, be an integral part of an independent Iraq. Fear of a second Farhud was a major reason why 90 per cent of Iraq’s Jewish community fled to Israel after 1948.
But the Farhud was not just another anti-Jewish pogrom. The Nazi supporters who planned it had a more sinister objective: the round-up, deportation and extermination in desert camps of the Baghdadi Jews.
The inspiration behind the coup, and the Farhud itself, came not from Baghdad, but Jerusalem. The Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, sought refuge in Iraq in 1939 with 400 Palestinian émigrés. Together, they whipped up local anti-Jewish feeling. An illiterate populace imbibed bigotry through Nazi radio propaganda. Days before the Farhud broke out, the Nazi youth movement, the Futuwa, went around daubing Jewish homes with a red palm print. Yunis al-Sabawi, who, together with the Mufti and Rashid Ali, spent the rest of the war in Berlin, instructed the Jews to stay in their homes so that they could more easily be rounded up.
The Farhud cemented a wartime Arab-Nazi alliance designed to rid Palestine, and the world, of the Jews. The Mufti’s postwar legacy endured. The uprooting of the 140,000 Jews of Iraq followed a Nazi pattern of victimisation – dismantlement, dispossession and expulsion. Nuremberg-style laws criminalised Zionism, freezing Jewish bank accounts, instituting quotas and restrictions on jobs and movement. The result was the exodus of nearly a million Jews from the Arab world.
More Jews died than on Kristallnacht, yet the Farhud has not become part of Holocaust memory. Indeed, the Washington Holocaust Museum had to be vigorously lobbied to include the Farhud as a Holocaust event.
Nazism gave ideological inspiration both to Arab secular parties and the Muslim Brotherhood (Gaza branch: Hamas). The unremitting campaign to destroy Israel is simply a manifestation of the genocidal intentions of Arab nationalism and Islamism. The demons awakened by the Farhud are still with us today.
Seventy years since the FarhudSeventy years to the day, we will be commemorating the Farhud with a screening of a 25-minute documentary film made in cooperation with the Babylonian …
JJAC In June 1941, the Mufti-inspired, pro-Nazi coup of Rashid Ali sparked rioting and a pogrom in Baghdad. Armed Iraqi mobs murdered 180 Jews and wounded almost …
Holocaust Encyclopedia, The Farhud
The rise of this pro-German government threatened the Jews in Iraq. Nazi influence and antisemitism already were widespread in Iraq, due in large part to the German legation’s presence in Baghdad as well as influential Nazi propaganda, which took the form of Arabic-language radio broadcasts from Berlin. Mein Kampf had been translated into Arabic by Yunis al-Sab’awi, and was published in a local newspaper, Al Alam al Arabi (The Arab World), in Baghdad during 1933-1934. Yunis al-Sab’awi also headed the Futtuwa, a pre-military youth movement influenced by the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth) in Germany. After the coup d’etat, al-Sab’awi became a minister in the new Iraqi government.
http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007277 The Farhud, the Mufti inspired Krystallnacht in Iraq, 1941, The Farhud took place Sunday and Monday, June 1st and 2nd 1941 …
Memories of state: politics, history, and collective identity in modern Iraq By Eric Davis [Page 70]
al-Muthanna club… under German ambassador Fritz Grobba’s influence developed a youth organization, the al-Futuwwa, modeled on European fascist lines, al-Sab’awi had developed strong anti-Jewish sentiments. Known in colloquial Iraqi Arabic as the Farhud (Pogrom), a mob led by al-Muthanna Club members and its youth organization attacked the Baghdad Jewish community on June 1 and 2, 1941, killing and wounding several Jews and destroying considerable property.
Pogroms against the Jewish people of Iraq in 1941. Based on the relationship with the Nazis with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Presented by the International Society for Sephardic Progress.
Farhud – Historical background, Farhud – The Golden Square coup, Farhud – June 1-2 1941, Farhud – Aftermath. Read more here: ֲ» Farhud: Enncyclopedia …
Fascism and Antisemitism (1933 1941)
At that time the press drew a clear dividing line between Judaism and Zionism. This line became blurred in the 1930s, along with the demand to remove Jews from the genealogical tree of the Semitic peoples. This anti-Jewish trend coincided with Faysal’s death in 1933, which brought about a noticeable change for the Jewish community. His death also came at the same time as the Assyrian massacre, which created a climate of insecurity among the minorities. Iraqi Jewry at that time had been subject to threats and invectives emanating not only from extremist elements, but also from official state institutions as well. Dr. Sִmִ« Shawkat, a high official in the Ministry of Education in the pre-war years and for a while its director general, was the head of “al-Futuwwa,” an imitation of Hitler’s Youth. In one of his addresses, “The Profession of Death,” he called on Iraqi youth to adopt the way of life of Nazi Fascists. In another speech he branded the Jews as the enemy from within, who should be treated accordingly. In another, he praised Hitler and Mussolini for eradicating their internal enemies (the Jews). Syrian and Palestinian teachers often supported Shawkat in his preaching.
Identity, conflict and cooperation in international river systems, (Jack Kalpakian, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2004 , page 134)
The Jewish community was among the mid-sized communities in the country at the time of Iraq’s creation. At a time when Iraq’s population was much smaller, it numbered somewhere between 100,000-300,000 making it a significant player in Iraqi life, especially because it was cencentrated in Baghdad. The troubles started in 1933 when the Assyrian Christians became the victims of an Army campaign designed to thin their numbers and to destroy their mlitary power. This massacre was not the first and unfortunately not the last, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that the repression of the Assyrians continued until the fall of Saddam. It foreshadowed the pogroms the Jewish community was to suffer a few years later…
Faisal’s son, Ghazi, became king in 1933. Ghazi was ill-tempered, bigoted and an admirer of Nazi Germany. With the king turning to Nazi Germany, the position of the Jewish community eroded… In 1941, a coup brought a pro-Nazi party to power, and Britain (from Palestine and the Trans-Jordan) and British India (from the Persian Gulf) sent armies to restore the empire’s clients to power. But on the orders of the British Ambassador, Sir Kinahan Cornwallis, the Anglo-Indian Army and the Trans- Jordanian Arab Legion did not enter the center of Baghdad for several days, allowing the ragtag remnants of the Iraqi army’s pro-German factions to massacre and kill unarmed Iraqi Jewish civilians in what became known as the farhud pogrom. …
Encyclopedia of the modern Middle East, (Volumen 2, Richard W. Bulliet, Macmillan Reference USA 1996, page 642)
After the defeat of Rashid Ali al-Kaylani’s pro-Nazi coup and his flight from Baghdad on June 1 and 2, 1941. Jewish life and property were attacked in what came to be called in Baghdad the Farhud. The looting was started by Iraqi soldiers who had been allowed to roam the streets of Baghdad…
Memories of Eden: a journey through Jewish Baghdad by Violette Shamash, Mira Rocca, Tony Rocca, (Memories of Eden, 2008, page 192)
There were few doubts in our minds how perilous our position was, with the city’s policing now in the hands of the Al-Futuwwa mobs.
Nationalism, minorities and diasporas: identities and rights in the Middle East, (Volume 8 of Library of modern Middle East studies, by Kirsten E. Schulze, Martin Stokes, Colm Campbell, Tauris Academic Studies, 1996,Page 107)
…the pogrom of the Jews of Baghdad on 1-2 June 1941, known as the Farhud. For two days, Muslim masses massacred, wounded, raped, and looted, while the British forces, informed about these horrible events, abstained from…
The Farhud took place Sunday and Monday, June 1st and 2nd 1941, the two days of Shabu’oth. The word Farhud denotes the breakdown of law and order, where life and property are in peril.
Jews lived in Babylonia (modern Iraq) for over 2,400 years, since the destruction of the first Beth Hamiqdash. Jews were treated tolerantly by the Moslems and, while abuses (such as hooliganism, snatching of men’s fez caps and even murders) had been recorded from time to time, the Farhud is the only sad event of sizable magnitude.
Jews lived mainly in Baghdad and, in 1870, started moving to other towns such as Amarah, Ali Agharbi, Qalaat Salih and Basrah.
Mr. Naim Dallal spoke in depth about his experiences in Baghdad and Iran and thanked Dr. Khabbaza for information he provided for his speech The development of Basrah which started to flourish again after the opening of the Suez Canal, adversely affected Aleppo in Syria and northern Iraq.
The fact that the majority of the Jewish community was concentrated in Baghdad explains why the Baghdadi Jews bore the brunt of the Farhud.
Some reasons for the farhud:
A) Political: under British occupation (1914/1918–1922) Jews gained confidence, felt secure and did not tolerate any mockery or physical abuse. Some went as far as to proclaim themselves British citizens or proteges — this was strongly resented by the Moslems.
Mrs. Rachel Manasseh spoke eloquently about the Farhud and the events that led up to the Farhud. B) Economic: Jews were very active in all trade and finance fields — at the same time they were a sizable percentage of the civil service staff.
On August 27, 1934 numerous Jews were dismissed by Arshad Alumari, Minister of Economics and Communication, and an unofficial quota was set up for Jews to be appointed in the civil service and for Jews to be admitted into secondary schools and colleges.
C) Hatred of the Jews: stirred by several organizations headed by such prominent officials as Dr. Fadil Al Jamali (Inspector General of the
The event was MC’d by Mr. Robert Aizer.
Ministry of Education), Dr. Saib Showkat (Director of Baghdad Central State Hospital), General Taha Al Hashimi (Chief of Staff ), General Salah Aldin Al Sabbagh. The Palestinians Fawzi Al–Qauqji Darwish Al Miqdadi, Mufti Haj Amin Al Husseini together with the Syrians Farid Zayn Ad–Din and Dr. Amin Ruwayha were also very active in these organizations.
The driving force behind this anti British, anti Jewish, anti Zionist movement was the German embassy in Baghdad headed by Dr F. Grobba which generously supplied money, books and film.
Mr. Joe Eden was Director of Social Services in Israel, when in two months, he witnessed the arrival of 200,000 Jews from Iraq. Leading up to the Farhud.
April 1,1941: The Royal palace in Baghdad was surrounded by the army. The regent and his entourage escaped to Habbaniyeh, from there to Basrah and thence to Amman in Transjordan. April 3, 1941 Nazi sympathizer Rashid Ali Al Gaylani and four generals led a military coup, deposed the absent regent and were the real rulers of Iraq with the pro–Nazi junta.
At once hoodlums and students demonstrated in the streets against the British and the Jews.
People of all ages came to hear and learn. Looting of property and beating up of Jews took place in Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, Irbil, Basrah, Amara and Fallujah. The killing of Jews took place in Baghdad alone.
May 30, 1941: Yunis Al Sabawi, head of Nazi groups, declared himself governor of central southern Iraq. He ordered Jews through Hakham Sasson Khedouri, to remain in their homes Saturday, May 31, and on June 1 and 2Shabu’oth. He had the intention of slaughtering the Jews that weekend using the Nazi youth organizations he was heading. However, miraculously, Sabawi was deported to the Iranian border that same day.
May 31,1941: It was announced that the Regent with his entourage would be returning to Baghdad next day.
Mrs. Bianca Aizer read a fascinating personal account written for the Midrash by Dr. Simha Nathaniel who was a nurse in the hospital in Baghdad. The Farhud.
June 1, ’41, the first day of Shabu’oth: A delegation of Jews went to the airport to welcome the Regent. On their way back they were attacked on Al Khurr bridge by soldiers and civilians. One Jew was killed, and many injured who were taken to the hospital. There were attacks and killings in Al Rusafa and Abu Sifyan; terror continued until 10 p.m. : Jews were killed randomly, hundreds were injured, women and children were raped in front of their relatives, babies crushed, houses set on fire, looting…and so on.
June 2 ,1941: Policemen, soldiers and slum dwellers from Al Karkh entered the scene, and participated in the killing and the looting everywhere.
At 5 p.m., curfew was declared and anyone who showed himself in the streets was shot on the spot.
Reports varyofficial Iraqi reports mention 187 killed, others say as many as one thousand, but it seems likely that about 400 innocents were killed with numerous wounded.
It would be inappropriate, however, not to mention some humanitarian acts carried out by some Iraqis.
1) Many Moslems opened their homes and fed and protected the Jews. It had been reported that some Moslems apologized for not being able to provide Kasher meat and/or poultry to their guests.
2) Looters in Basrah on May 1941, were stopped by a distinguished Moslem notable, Salih Bashayan, who appointed guards from his own men to protect Jewish property
3) On June 1, 1941 pressed by the mob to oust the injured Jews from the hospital where they were treated, Jamil Dallali, the director, called the police who dispersed the hostile crowd…
Remembering The Farhud, The Pogrom That Ended Iraqi Jewish Life
…Only a few Jews remain in Iraq today.
June 01, 2010
By Karam Mnashe, Charles Recknagel
Few people in Iraq know what happened in Baghdad exactly 69 years ago.
But on June 1-2, 1941, something previously unthinkable in the city occurred. Mobs attacked the capital’s prosperous and influential Jewish community, killing more than 100 people and looting homes.
By the time the orgy of murder and pillaging was done, the Jewish community was so shaken that it would never recover. Within 10 years, the vast majority would leave the country, leaving behind just the handful of people who tend the capital’s empty synagogue today.
The two days of terror are known in Iraq as the Farhud, the Arabic word for pillaging or looting an enemy. Yet most Iraqis know very little about the event because Iraq’s history books rarely speak of them. Those writers who do mention those days simply explain the violence as the result of the Iraqi Jewish community’s “Zionist activities,” without detailing more.
But people who survived the attacks and remember the events tell another story — like Layer Abudia, who now lives in Israel, who was a child at the time of the pogrom.
“I watched people killing at least four to five Jews in front of me,” Abudia says. “Every car that passed by was stopped by the mob that pulled Jews out and killed them. I heard they killed 20 to 25 people in the airport area.”
Abudia and the others who experienced the two days of horror will never forget standing on the rooftops of their houses as the violence started on the first night.
For many, the first warning was a dull orange glow that appeared over the very heart of the city center where the Jewish and Muslim communities abutted. Then came distant screams and banging, which grew louder as looters moved deeper into the Jewish neighborhoods. Finally, up close, there was the horrifying sight of the neighbors desperately trying to leap with their children to an adjoining rooftop as armed men broke down their doors.
“That night we heard screams coming out of the houses of Jews,” recalls Nassim al-Qazzaz, another survivor who now lives in Israel. “They were killed and their homes were pillaged. This continued for less than 24 hours.”
“The next day, approximately at noon, the regent Abdul Illah issued an order to fire on the mob,” Qazzaz says. “He could have done that the same day of course, before things got worse, but he preferred not to interfere so the mob could release their anger at the Jews.”
The Farhud was so shocking because, based on most of the 1,000-year history of Jews in Iraq, no one could have expected it.
At the time of the pogrom, Jews made up some 3 percent of the Iraqi population, with some 90,000 living in the capital. Many were successful in business, many worked as officials in the British-mandated government, and many were among the country’s leading intellectual and cultural figures.
…several things had happened to make the Iraqi Jews’ position especially vulnerable.
One was the rise of fascism in Europe, followed by the Axis powers’ sweeping successes against Britain in the first years of war. And central to the Nazi ideology was hatred of the Jews. Finally, there was the common cause some Arab Muslim leaders made with Nazism and its hatred of Jews in hopes the Axis powers would propel them to power in the Middle East.
One such leader, who arrived in Iraq in 1939, was Amin Muhammad al-Husayni, the grand mufti of Jerusalem. He had fled British-mandate Palestine after the failure of the Palestinian uprising of 1936-39 against growing Jewish immigration.
Husayni had been a key instigator of violence on the Arab side as the number of Jews jumped from 17 percent of Palestine’s population in 1931 to 30 percent in 1935. Many of the arriving Jews were fleeing Germany and now the grand mufti was seeking Berlin’s help to expel both them and the British mandate authorities from the Holy Land.
But it was in Iraq, not Palestine, that the kind of alliance Husayni was proposing got its first test. There, Berlin backed an anti-British coup in April 1941 led by nationalist Rashid Ali al-Gaylani — a Husayni ally — and supported by high-ranking army officers. The coup easily toppled the country’s weak Hashemite monarchy, which was originally from the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia and widely regarded as London’s puppet.
The coup was soon suppressed with the arrival of British-led Indian and Arab Legion troops, who reached Baghdad by May 29. But the combination of the failed coup amid months of the sort of pro-Nazi and anti-Jewish propaganda espoused by Husayni proved to be fatal for Jewish Baghdadis.
Driven From Their Home
Exactly what set off the pogrom is not known, but it may have been the Jewish community’s celebration of its annual harvest festival, Shavuot, on June 1. The sight of Jews celebrating became a pretext for fascists to portray them as welcoming the coup’s failure. And the chance to act came as British troops waited outside Baghdad so that royalist Iraqi soldiers could enter first, creating a power vacuum in the city.
Survivor Qazzaz says that even today he doesn’t know what happened to his father in the pogrom. But he says after such violence, most Iraqi Jews felt they had no option but to emigrate.
“Since then we have not heard anything about the fate of my father and his companion. Some 180 Jews were killed in this massacre. Scores of houses and shops were looted and plundered, women violated and murdered,” Qazzaz says. “That was the Farhud. In my opinion it was one of the main reasons that drove Jews to leave Iraq.”
Most of the exodus took place in the early 1950s, after tensions over the 1948 Arab-Israeli war isolated the Jewish community even further. The Iraqi government declared “those who want to leave can leave” and some 100,000 left for Israel.
Today the Farhud — Baghdad’s Krystallnacht — remains significant not only for breaking the spirit of Baghdad’s once thriving Jewish community. It also proved how powerful the fusion of fascism and radical Islam could be.
That fusion would develop further as Husayni spent the rest of the war in Nazi Germany and broadcast messages across a sizable segment of the Middle East via a powerful radio located in Bari, Italy.
His messages were a continuous call for uprisings to evict the allies. But he reserved his greatest invective for Jews, saying their “spilled blood pleases Allah, our history, and religion,” and proclaiming “if America and England win the war, the Jews will dominate the world.”
At the same time, he vigorously recruited European Muslims for the Wehrmacht and for special Waffen SS units, especially in the former Yugoslavia. And he actively lobbied against any deportation of Jews to Palestine from Romania and Hungary, urging they be sent to Poland — where the Nazis operated death camps* — instead.
Throughout, what Husayni wanted from Hitler and finally got in 1942 remained the same. It was a letter sent by the German and Italian foreign ministers to him and a fellow exile in Nazi Germany, al-Gaylani, promising three things: Axis support for the independence of the Arab states from British and French colonial rule; the right of the independent Arab states to form a union; and the right of Arab authorities in Palestine to eliminate the proposed Jewish homeland there.
Husayni was always accorded the respect due a head of state in Berlin, leading many historians to speculate he may have hoped to be the Axis’ fuhrer of the Middle East, had it won the war. But it didn’t, and as Germany surrendered, Husayni was arrested by the French.
Astonishingly, however, the French too treated Husayni with deference as a Grand Mufti with influence in the Muslim world. He was placed under house arrest in Paris and, when it became clear he might be indicted for war crimes based on testimony emerging at the Nuremburg trials, he secured an invitation from Egypt’s King Farouk and fled to Cairo.
Husayni went on to serve for decades in Egypt as a central member and ideological inspiration of the Muslim Brotherhood. His ideas have since passed on to generations of radical Islamists, far outlasting his own death in Syria in 1974 at the age of about 80.
What is the ultimate message of Husayni that was also so brutally expressed 69 years ago in the Farhud?
In its simplest terms, it is that the Near East is an Arab Sunni Muslim world that must be violently purged of all other elements.
The argument flies in the face of history in a region that has always been home to many religions and ethnicities. But it continues to be a justification for intimidation and attacks as fundamentalist groups today try to cleanse their home countries of “others” just as the Nazis once did in Europe.
The 1941 Farhoud was premeditated
The Farhoud of June 1941, in which rioting mobs murdered some 180 of Iraq’s Jewish citizens (as well as injuring, raping and pillaging) was premeditated, Salim Fattal’s documentary film on the modern history of the Jews of Iraq, The land that devours the inhabitants thereof, clearly reveals.
In the interval between the deposing of Rashid Ali, the pro-Nazi Prime Minister who had seized power in a coup, and the arrival of the pro-British Regent in the Iraqi capital, Muslim houses in Baghdad were daubed ‘Muslim’, while Jewish homes were marked with the ‘Hamsa’ (hand). When the Chief Rabbi of Iraq went to the authorities to voice his safety concerns, he was told that the Jews should barricade themselves in their houses with enough food for three days.
Eye-witnesses described how minibuses of Jews were emptied and their passengers slaughtered. The rioting started on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot and went on for two days.
The British army, who were encamped on the outskirts of Baghdad, could have intervened to stop the death and destruction. A Jewish translator working with them was told that the British army had no ‘instructions’ to intervene. It was only when the rioting began to endanger the established Muslim quarters of Baghdad that the British army swiftly quelled the disturbances.
The dead were buried hurriedly in a mass grave without the usual Jewish mourning practices. The Farhoud had a traumatic effect and marked the beginning of the end of the Jewish commmunity, which traced its history back to 586 BC. Within 10 years all but 6,000 of Iraq’s 150,000 Jews had fled.
Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center production: The Farhud, part 1
The 1941 pogrom in the literature of Jews from Iraq
The Nazi pogrom of June 1941, known as the Farhud, was the Iraqi Jews’ very own Kristallnacht two days of murder, looting, rape and mutilation. It shattered this ancient community’s self-confidence, and swiftly led to the exodus of over 90 percent of Iraqi Jewry.
During these centuries under Muslim rule, the Jewish Community had it’s ups and downs. By World War I, they accounted for one third of Baghdad’s population. In 1922, the British recieved a mandate over Iraq and began transforming it into a modern nation-state.
Iraq became an independent state in 1932. Throughout this period, the authorities drew heavily on the talents of the mall well-educated Jews for their ties outside the country and proficiency in foreign languages. Iraq’s first minister of finance, Yehezkel Sasson, was a Jew. These Jewish communities played a vital role in the development of judicial and postal systems.
In the 1936 Iraq Directory, the “Israelite community” is listed among the various other Iraqi communities, such as Arabs, Kirds, Turkmen, Muslims, Christians, Yazidis and Sabeans, and numbering at about 120,000. Hebrew is also listed as one of Iraq’s six languages.
Yet, following the end of the British mandate, the 2,700-year-old Iraqi Jewish community suffered horrible persecution, particularly as the Zionist drive for a state intensified. In June 1941, the Mufti-inspired, pro-Nazi coup of Rashid Ali sparked rioting and a pogrom in Baghdad during the Jewish Feast of Shavuot. Armed Iraqi mobs, with the complicity of the police and the army, murdered 180 Jews and wounded almost 1,000 in what became known as the Farhud pogrom. Immediately following, the British Army re-entered Baghdad, and success of the Jewish community resumed. Jews built a broad network of medical facilities, schools and cultural activity. Nearly all of the members of the Baghdad Symphony Orchestra were Jewish. Yet this flourisng environment abruptly ended in 1947, with the partition of Palestine and the fight for Israel’s independence. Outbreaks of anti-Jewish rioting regularly occurred between 1947 and 1949. After the establishment of Israel in 1948, Zionism became a capital crime.
THE ANTI-JEWISH POGROM ON JUNE 1 2, 1941 “ALFARHUD.”
On June 1, the first day of Shavu’ot, which in Iraq was traditionally marked by joyous pilgrimages to the tomb of holy men and visits of friends and relatives, the Hashemite regent, ‘Abd al-Ilah, returned to the capital from his exile in Transjordan. A festive crowd of Jews crossed over the west bank of the Tigris River to welcome the returning prince. On the way back, a group of soldiers, who were soon joined by civilians, turned on the Jews and attacked them, killing one and injuring others. Anti-Jewish riots soon spread throughout the city, especially on the east bank of the Tigris, where most of the Jews lived. By nightfall, a major pogrom was under way, led by soldiers and paramilitary youth gangs, followed by a mob. The rampage of murder and plunder in the Jewish neighborhoods and business districts continued until the afternoon of the following day, when the regent finally gave orders for the police to fire upon the rioters and Kurdish troops were brought in to maintain order.
In the ” Farhud,” 179 Jews of both sexes and all ages were killed, 242 children were left orphans, and 586 businesses were looted, 911 buildings housing more than 12,000 people were pillaged. The total property loss was estimated by the Jewish community’s own investigating committee to be approximately 680,000 pounds.
The ” Farhud ” dramatically undermined the confidence of all Iraqi Jewry and, like the Assyrian massacres of 1933, had a highly unsettling effect upon all the Iraqi minorities. Nevertheless, many Jews tried to convince themselves that the worst was over. A factor in this was the commercial boom during the war, of which the Jewish business community was the prime beneficiary. Another factor was the tranquility which prevailed during the next years of the war. But the shadow of the ” Farhud ” continued to hover for years.
Farhud – the pogrom against iraqi jews, june 1941
Association to commemorate The Sho’a – Holocaust of Arabian Jews
Iraq – Farhud:
In 1939 the leader of the Palestinian Arabs – The Mufti of Jerusalem – Haj Muhammad Amin al – Husayni came to Baghdad. The Mufti began incitement against the Jews using all means: demonstrations, posters and the press. Hitler Youth leader, Baldor von Schirach, came to Baghdad, to coordinate his actions with the Mufti. Effective immediately, all post-primary schools students and teachers in Iraq were required to join the fascist movement “al- Fatwa”, an organization which included approximately 63,000 members.
On 1 April 1941 the Rashid Ali al-Cilani revolt broke in Iraq – during which the government was seized by a group of pro-Nazi army officers – led by Rashid Ali. On 1 June 1941 during the Pentecost the Farhud began – a pogrom conducted against the Jews of Baghdad. Several days earlier, the students of “al-Fatwa” marked the Jewish homes with a palm print (“Hamsa”) in red.
The Farhud events began June 1 morning when in al-Cerach, west of Baghdad, a delegation of prominent Jews returning from the reception given in honor of the return of the regent, Abd al Alah, in the flowers palace, was attacked. When the crowd left mosque Jamie al – Gilani, at approximately 10:30 am, incitement against Jews took place among those leaving. At 5:30 pm the crowd met again at that mosque. Speeches against the Jews were given. At 6 o’clock in the evening the crowd left the mosque and began to rampage.
179 Jews were killed in the pogrom, 2118 injured, 242 children were orphaned, and much property was looted. Historian Eli Cadoori counts the number of those murdered as 600. The number of people whose property was looted reached – 50,000 people. Victims were buried in a mass grave in Baghdad.
The British were able to recapture power in Iraq. The Mufti fled to Berlin.
The Farhud: Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust – Edwin Black – Dialog Press, 2010 – 192 pages
The Nazis needed oil. The Arabs wanted the Jews and British out of Iraq. The Mufti of Jerusalem forged a far-ranging alliance with Hitler resulting in the June 1941 Farhud, a Nazi-style pogrom in Baghdad that set the stage for the devastation and expulsion of the Iraqi Jews and ultimately almost a million Jews across the Arab world. The Farhud was the beginning of what became a broad Nazi-Arab alliance in the Holocaust.
The Farhud, the anti-Jewish Baghdad riot of June 1 2, 1941, is the forgotten Holocaust-era pogrom explored in detail in Banking on Baghdad. …
Arab-Nazi ‘Farhud’: Holocaust in the Middle East | Spero News
The Farhud: Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance during the Holocaust – C-SPAN Video Library
89 min – Dec 19, 2010
Edwin Black looks at “The Farhud,” a Nazi-Arab attempt to completely exterminate the Jews of Baghdad June 1-2, 1941.
Al-Farhud – Shmuel Moreh, Zvi Yehuda – [Magnes Press, Hebrew University] 2010
The present volume is being published on the 69th anniversary of the Farhud, the pogrom committed by religious and nationalist Arabs against the Jews of Iraq on the Jewish holiday of Pentecost (Shavu’ot), 1-2 June 1941 …by the Research Institute of Babylonian Jewry… This volume is a revised version of the Hebrew edition. It consists of papers on the pogrom and on the events leading up to it which were originally published in English, others which were written in Hebrew and now appear in English for the first time, and documents which have not been previously published, including an updated list of the names of victims of the Farhud and a map indicating the places in Baghdad where rioters attacked Jews. This book thus provides the English reader with comprehensive and updated information on the Farhud and constitutes a memorial to the innocent victims killed during these pogroms and whose only crime was that they were Jews.
By KSENIA SVETLOVA
Shmuel Moreh’s recollections of his childhood.
Almost 70 years after the culmination of violent Arab hostilities against the Jewish minority in Iraq, the on-line memoirs of a Baghdad-born Israeli professor are finding resonance among Arab and Iraqi readers and evoking a discussion on what used to be the taboo subject of the 1941 pogrom against the Jews of Iraq.
“The year 1941 was one of the most tragic years in the life of the Jews of Iraq,” wrote Hebrew University emeritus professor of Arabic literature Shmuel Moreh in the London-based and Saudi-funded on-line magazine Elaph. “It was a year of quick changes in the political, economic and social relations between Arabs (Muslim and Christian) on one hand and the Jews on the other,” continued Moreh, chairman of the Association of Jewish Academics from Iraq and recipient of the 1999 Israel Prize in Middle Eastern studies.
“As a child who lived in the modern, aristocratic, mixed quarter of al-Batawin in Baghdad and a student at the Al-Sa’doon Exemplary School, established in 1937 as a government mixed school that was founded for children of the Iraqi royal family, ministers, high-ranking civil servants and army officers, judges and secretaries, I was a mirror of the government attitude toward the Jewish citizens in Iraq.”
Moreh, who was born in 1932 and now lives in Mevaseret Zion with his wife, Kaarina, was one of three Jewish pupils who studied there among a majority of Muslim staff and pupils.
“The Jews suffered daily harassment, insults and mockery. A few days after the defeat of the Iraqi army attacks against the British military bases in Habbaniya and Sin al-Dhubban, Jews were attacked in the streets, they were searched for espionage equipment and taken to police stations for questioning if they did not bribe the police. Their houses were marked as Jewish by anti-Jewish organizations,” wrote Moreh.
“In April 1941, Faisal, the son of prime minister Rashid Ali al-Kailani, tried to blind the eyes of the writer of these lines by hitting him with a stick. This was a well-known punishment for Jews who dared to resist Muslims. Two months later, he was able to narrowly escape being lynched by Muslims and Christians at his school in revenge for the defeat of the Iraqi army.”
Soon after these emotional words first appeared in Elaph, letters in Arabic started pouring in to Moreh’s private mailbox, along with hundreds of talkbacks on Elaph’s Web site that revealed how deeply touched the readers were. Some of the writers identified themselves as Iraqi academics, journalists, researchers. They wrote about their feelings of guilt and shame but also about nostalgia and the good old days. Despite the bitterness of the painful memories of the persecution and the eventual exodus, they urged Moreh to come back, stressing that Iraq is missing its Jews.
“This story was written by an Iraqi Jew… It reveals his love for Baghdad, for the Tigris and Euphrates… No one can understand the pain of living as a foreigner, only those who have tasted it,” said one talkback. […]
“I wanted to achieve three things by writing these memoirs,” he explains. “First of all, to remind the world of the persecution of Iraqi Jews. If anyone thinks that life was a paradise for us there, he could not be more mistaken. We were called names, harassed on a daily basis, and I lived through this hell during all of my childhood.
“The second goal was to preserve the Jewish Iraqi dialect. Nowadays when I talk to Iraqis or write to them, many of them are astonished to be reminded of forgotten words their grandfathers once used. The Jews of Iraq kept the medieval Arabic, whereas the Muslims adopted the Saudi accent that was brought to Iraq by the Beduin who assimilated into the Iraqi populace.
“And, of course, the most important thing was the memory,” Moreh says. “I wanted to perpetuate the memory of the Farhud and the tragedy that we lived through. Some people say that the exodus of the Iraqi Jews was sped up due to the acts of violence carried out by Jewish Zionist underground organization, but this is baseless. I studied the issue closely. Ever since the Farhud – the horrible Iraqi pogrom that took place in 1941 when angry crowds lashed out at the Jewish community, robbing, raping and killing thousands – we were always afraid that something like this might happen again. But even before that, the Iraqi Jews were always subjected to humiliations and threats, and that’s what I meant to emphasize in my memoirs. I believe that by publishing my memoirs in Elaph over a period of three years, I achieved this goal,” Moreh says.
The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University, and the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center in Or-Yehuda recently published Al-Farhud: The 1941 Pogrom in Iraq, a book containing a series of papers on the theme, edited by Moreh and Zvi Yehuda. The work is a revised English edition of the Hebrew version, which was originally published in 1992.
“IN 1946 Jewish schools arranged an organized scout camp in northern Iraq. My friend Maurice Haddad and I were ordered to raise the Iraqi flag at the entrance of the camp. I saluted the flag and start singing the Iraqi anthem. I listened to Maurice sing and was horrified. He was cursing the flag, wishing it perdition. I was furious and tried to slap him on the face for insulting ‘our flag.’ He started weeping and shouted back, ‘Do you call it our flag? They killed my father when he tried to save my sister and mother from being raped.’ He was sobbing and murmuring all night long, ‘They raped my mother and sister and killed my father, and you tell me that this is our flag?'”
Today, after the three years of recollecting memories both sweet and painful, accepting and rejecting the past, writing, soul-searching and answering questions, the memoirs of Sami Muallem of Baghdad have reached their target audience – Arab intellectuals, historians, journalists and others who are reluctant to write off the Jewish chapter in the long history of the Arab world. The memoirs were reprinted in hundreds of various Arabic Web sites around the globe and have been read by hundreds of thousands of people. Moreh intends to translate and publish his memoirs in English and Hebrew.
The last chapter was published in Elaph in January 2010. However, the close relations that developed between Moreh and many of his readers continues to flourish. He is in touch with many Iraqi academics and journalists with whom he exchanges his views on the future of Iraqi Jews and their relationship with their old country.
As chairman of the Israeli Association of Jewish Academics from Iraq, Moreh is deeply concerned about the state of Jewish holy sites in Iraq and often uses his connections to prevent the ancient graves of Jewish prophets from being destroyed or desecrated.
BBC News – Farhud memories: Baghdad’s 1941 slaughter of the Jews1 June 2011 Last updated at 12:13 ET
Farhud memories: Baghdad’s 1941 slaughter of the Jews
By Sarah Ehrlich
On 1 June 1941, a Nazi-inspired pogrom erupted in Baghdad, bringing to an end more than two millennia of peaceful existence for the city’s Jewish minority. Some Jewish children witnessed the bloodshed, and retain vivid memories 70 years later. The two days of violence that followed have become known as the Farhud (Arabic for “violent dispossession”). About 800 Jews were killed, spelling the end for a Jewish community that dated from the time of Babylon. … Some families bribed policemen to stand guard, paying half a dinar for each bullet fired. Others owe their lives to Muslims who took great risks to protect them.
Until the Farhud, Baghdad had been a model of peaceful coexistence for Jews and Arabs. Jews made up about one in three of the city’s population in 1941, and most saw themselves as Iraqi first and Jewish second.
So what caused this terrible turn of events? A month earlier, a pro-Nazi lawyer Rashid Ali al-Gilani, had overthrown Iraq’s royal family, and started broadcasting Nazi propaganda on the radio. But when an attack on a British Air Force base outside Baghdad ended in humiliating failure, he was forced to flee. The Farhud took place in the power vacuum that followed.
The anti-Semitism that Hitler had successfully exported to Iraq made life unbearable for the Jewish community. There were frequent arrests on false charges of spying and public hangings of prominent Jews. … In 1950, Jews were finally allowed to leave, on condition they give up all their property and assets, including their bank accounts. By 1952, only 2,000 of 150,000 were left.
Point of no return: US Holocaust Museum admits Nazi-Arab axis The Farhud (Arabic for violent dispossession), took place in 1941 when Arabs attacked Jews in several Iraqi cities, burning, raping, torturing and murdering …
History News Network Elie Kedourie has written that 600 Jews were murdered during the May, 1941 Baghdad Farhud, (in support of Kattan’s implication that many more than 300…
Remembering the Farhud… Today marks the 65th anniversary of the Farhud. Arabic for “violent dispossession,” this is the word used to describe the infamous pogrom of June 1, 1941
The Iraq coup of Raschid Ali in 1941, the Mufti Husseini and the Farhud (Farhoud) – the role of the Palestinian Grand Mufti, Haj Amin El Husseini* …