Farhud memories: Baghdad's 1941 slaughter of the Jews






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. Only 180 bodies were identified, but the Israeli-based Babylonian Heritage Museum says about another 600 unidentified victims were buried in a mass grave. 

The violence continued through the night. A red hand sign, or hamsa, had been painted on Jewish homes, to mark them out. Families had to defend themselves by whatever means they could.  

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.... 




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