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:
- Buy Joe Samuels’s book on Amazon: Beyond the Rivers of Babylon: My Journey of Optimism and Resilience in a Turbulent Century
- Read about the Canadian government’s 2014 decision to recognize Jewish refugees from Arab nations at The CJN
- Check out the museum in Israel devoted to the history of the Jews of Iraq, the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center
The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.