Remembering the Farhud, 80 years later

Monument for the Farhud in Ramat Gan. Israel
A monument in Ramat Gan, Israel, for the Jews who were killed in Iraq in the Farhud. (Photo by Avishai Teicher/Wikimedia Commons)

The Farhud was a two-day pogrom against the Jewish community of Iraq in the spring of 1941. Pro-Nazi rioters killed hundreds of Jews in Baghdad and destroyed 900 Jewish homes and businesses. The tragedy marked a turning point in the fate of the Iraq’s 2,000-year-old Jewish community: Zionism was later declared a crime and Jews were turfed from government jobs.

Several hundred thousand Farhud survivors eventually moved to Israel, and about 500 later made their way to Canada. Today, on the 80th anniversary of the Farhud, we hear from two of them: Joe Samuels was born in 1930, in the Taht El Takia neighbourhood of Baghdad, and recalls his family barricading themselves in their house all night; and Sami Sourani survived the Farhud as a young child, though several of his relatives did not. Now, Sourani is on a mission to document the actual number of victims of the infamous pogrom.

What we talked about:

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