Farhud (Arabic: الفرهود) refers to the pogrom or "violent dispossession" carried out against the Jewish population of Baghdad, Iraq, on June 1–2, 1941, immediately following the British victory in the Anglo-Iraqi War. The riots occurred in a power vacuum following the collapse of the pro-Nazi government of Rashid Ali while the city was in a state of instability. The violence came immediately after the rapid defeat of Rashid Ali by British forces, whose earlier coup had generated a short period of national euphoria, and was fueled by allegations that Iraqi Jews had aided the British. Over 180 Jews were killed and 1,000 injured, and up to 300-400 non-Jewish rioters were killed in the attempt to quell the violence. Looting of Jewish property took place and 900 Jewish homes were destroyed.
The Farhud took place during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. It has been referred to as a pogrom which was part of the Holocaust, although such comparison has been disputed. It has also been called "the beginning of the end of the Jewish community of Iraq", propagating the migration of Iraqi Jews out of the country, although a direct connection to the 1951-2 Jewish exodus from Iraq is also disputed, as many Jews who left Iraq immediately following the Farhud returned to the country and permanent emigration did not accelerate significantly until 1950-51. According to Hayyim Cohen, the Farhud "was the only [such event] known to the Jews of Iraq, at least during their last hundred years of life there".
|Part of Anglo–Iraqi War|
Mass grave for the victims of the Farhud, 1946
|Date||June 1–2, 1941|
|Deaths||175–780 Jews killed|
|Perpetrators||Rashid Ali, Yunis al-Sabawi, al-Futuwa youth.|
There were many instances of violence against Jews during their long history in Iraq, as well as numerous enacted decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues in Iraq, and some forced conversion to Islam.
After the Ottoman Empire was defeated in the First World War, the League of Nations granted the mandate of Iraq to Britain. After King Ghazi who inherited the throne of Faisal I, died in a 1939 car accident, Britain installed 'Abd al-Ilah as Iraq's governing regent.
By 1941, the approximately 150,000 Iraqi Jews played active roles in many aspects of Iraqi life, including farming, banking, commerce and the government bureaucracy.
Much of the population had retained significant anti-British sentiments since the 1920 Iraqi revolt, although the Jewish population was viewed as pro-British during World War II, contributing to the separation of the Muslim and Jewish communities.
In addition, between 1932 and 1941, the German embassy in Iraq, headed by Dr. Fritz Grobba, significantly supported antisemitic and fascist movements. Intellectuals and army officers were invited to Germany as guests of the Nazi party, and antisemitic material was published in the newspapers. The German embassy purchased the newspaper Al-alam Al-arabi ("The Arab world") which published, in addition to antisemitic propaganda, a translation of Mein Kampf in Arabic. The German embassy also supported the establishment of Al-Fatwa, a youth organization based upon the model of the Hitler Youth.
In 1941, a group of pro-Nazi Iraqi officers, known as the "Golden Square" and led by General Rashid Ali, overthrew Regent Abdul Ilah on April 1 after staging a successful coup. The coup had significant popular support, particularly in Baghdad. Bashkin writes that "All, apparently, yearned for the departure of the British after two long decades of interference in Iraqi affairs".
Iraq's new government then was quickly involved in confrontation with the British over the terms of the military treaty forced on Iraq at independence. The treaty gave the British unlimited rights to base troops in Iraq and transit troops through Iraq. The British arranged to land large numbers of soldiers from India in Iraq to force the country to show its intentions. Iraq refused to let them land and confrontations afterward occurred both near Basra in the south and to the west of Baghdad near the British base complex and airfield. The Germans dispatched a group of 26 heavy fighters to aid in a futile air attack on the British airbase at Habbaniya which accomplished nothing.
Winston Churchill sent a telegram to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, warning him that if the Middle East fell to Germany, victory against the Nazis would be a "hard, long and bleak proposition" given that Hitler would have access to the oil reserves there. The telegram dealt with the larger issues of war in the middle east rather than Iraq exclusively.
On May 25, Hitler issued his Order 30, stepping up German offensive operations: "The Arab Freedom Movement in the Middle East is our natural ally against England. In this connection special importance is attached to the liberation of Iraq... I have therefore decided to move forward in the Middle East by supporting Iraq."
On May 30, the British-organized force called Kingcol led by Brigadier J.J. Kingstone reached Baghdad, causing the "Golden Square" and their supporters to escape via Iran to Germany. Kingcol included some elements of the Arab Legion led by Major John Bagot Glubb known as Glubb Pasha.
On May 31, Regent Abdul Illah prepared to fly back into Baghdad to reclaim his leadership. To avoid the reality of a British-organized countercoup, the regent entered Baghdad without a British escort.
Michael Eppel, in his book "The Palestinian Conflict in Modern Iraq" blames the Farhud on the influence of German ideology on the Iraqi people, as well as extreme nationalism, both of which were heightened by the Golden Square coup.
Sami Michael, a witness to the Farhud, testified: "Antisemite propaganda was broadcast routinely by the local radio and Radio Berlin in Arabic. Various anti-Jewish slogans were written on walls on the way to school, such as "Hitler was killing the Jewish germs". Shops owned by Muslims had 'Muslim' written on them, so they would not be damaged in the case of anti-Jewish riots."
Shalom Darwish, the secretary of the Jewish community in Baghdad, testified that several days before the Farhud, the homes of Jews were marked with a red palm print ("Hamsa"), by al-Futuwa youth.
Two days before the Farhud, Yunis al-Sabawi, a government minister who proclaimed himself the governor of Baghdad, summoned Rabbi Sasson Khaduri, the community leader, and recommended to him that Jews stay in their homes for the next three days as a protective measure. This may have been due to an intention to harm the Jews in their homes, or he may have been expressing his fear for the safety of the community in light of the prevalent atmosphere in Baghdad.
According to Iraqi government and British historical sources violence started when a delegation of Jewish Iraqis arrived at the Palace of Flowers (Qasr al Zuhur) to meet with the Regent Abdullah, and were attacked en route by an Iraqi Arabic mob as they crossed Al Khurr Bridge. Iraqi Arab civil disorder and violence then swiftly spread to the Al Rusafa and Abu Sifyan districts, and got worse the next day when elements of the Iraqi police began joining in with the attacks upon the Jewish population, involving shops belonging to it being set on fire and a synagogue being destroyed.
However, Prof. Zvi Yehuda has suggested that the event that set off the rioting was anti-Jewish preaching in the Jami-Al-Gaylani mosque, and that the violence was premeditated rather than a spontaneous outburst.
Mordechai Ben-Porat, who later became the leader of the Iraqi Zionists, described his experience as follows:
We were mostly cut off from the center of the Jewish community and our Muslim neighbors became our friends. It was because of one Muslim neighbor, in fact, that we survived the Farhoud. We had no weapons to defend ourselves and were utterly helpless. We put furniture up against the doors and windows to prevent the rioters from breaking in. Then, Colonel Arif's wife came rushing out of her house with a grenade and a pistol and shouted at the rioters, ‘If you don’t leave, I will explode this grenade right here!’ Her husband was apparently not home and she had either been instructed by him to defend us or decided on her own to help. They dispersed, and that was that – she saved our lives.
The dean of Midrash Bet Zilkha Yaakov Mutzafi raced to open up the gates of the yeshiva to shelter the victims of the Farhud who were displaced from their homes, and secured money for their upkeep from philanthropists in the community.
Civil order was restored after two days of violence in the afternoon of June 2, when British troops imposed a curfew and shot violators on sight. An investigation conducted by the journalist Tony Rocca of the Sunday Times attributes the delay to a personal decision by Kinahan Cornwallis, the British Ambassador to Iraq, who failed to immediately carry out orders he received from the Foreign Office in the matter, and initially denied requests from British Imperial military and civil officers on the scene for permission to act against the attacking Arab mobs. Other testimonies suggest the possibility that the British delayed their entry into Baghdad for 48 hours because they had an ulterior motive in allowing a clash between the sectarian populations within the capital city.
The exact number of victims is uncertain. With respect to Jewish victims, some sources say that about 180 Jewish Iraqis were killed and about 240 were wounded, 586 Jewish-owned businesses were looted and 99 Jewish houses were destroyed. Other accounts state that nearly 200 were killed and over 2 000 injured, while 900 Jewish homes and hundreds of Jewish-owned shops destroyed and looted. The Israeli-based Babylonian Heritage Museum maintains that in addition to 180 identified victims, around another 600 unidentified ones were buried in a mass grave. An estimate published in Haaretz newspaper cites 180 killed and 700 wounded. Bashkin writes that "a constant element that appears in most accounts of the Farhud is a narrative relating to a good neighbour… Judging by the lists of the Jewish dead, it seems that Jews in mixed neighbourhoods stood a better chance of surviving the riots than those in uniformly Jewish areas."
When the forces loyal to the regent entered to restore order, many rioters were killed. The Iraqi Commission Report noted that: "After some delay the Regent… arranged for the dispatch of troops to take control… There was no more aimless firing into the air; their machine guns swept the streets clear of people and quickly put a stop to looting and rioting." The British Ambassador noted that second day was more violent than the first, and that "Iraqi troops killed as many rioters as the rioters killed Jews." The Iraqi Commission Report estimated the total number of Jews and Muslims killed at 130. Eliahu Eilat, a Jewish Agency agent estimated 1 000 as the total number of Jews and Muslims who died, with other similar accounts estimating 300–400 rioters killed by the Regent's army.
Within a week of the riots, on 7 June, the reinstated Monarchist Iraqi government set up a Committee of Enquiry to investigate the events. According to Peter Wien, the regime "made every effort to present the followers of the Rashid 'Ali movement as proxies of Nazism".
The monarchist government acted quickly to suppress supporters of Rashid Ali. Many Iraqis were exiled as a result, and hundreds were jailed. Eight men, included amongst them Iraqi Army officers and policemen, were legally sentenced to death in consequence of the violence by the newly established pro-British Iraqi government.
In some accounts the Farhud marked the turning point for Iraq's Jews. Other historians, however, see the pivotal moment for the Iraqi Jewish community much later, between 1948–51, since Jewish communities prospered along with the rest of the country throughout most of the 1940s, and many Jews who left Iraq following the Farhud returned to the country shortly thereafter and permanent emigration did not accelerate significantly until 1950-51. Bashkin writes that "In the context of Jewish-Iraqi history, moreover, a distinction should be made between an analysis of the Farhud and the Farhudization of Jewish Iraqi history—viewing the Farhud as typifying the history of the relationship between Jews and greater Iraqi society. The Jewish community strived for integration in Iraq before and after the Farhud. In fact, the attachment of the community to Iraq was so tenacious that even after such a horrible event, most Jews continued to believe that Iraq was their homeland."
Either way, the Farhud is broadly understood to mark the start of a process of politicization of the Iraqi Jews in the 1940s, primarily amongst the younger population, especially as a result of the impact it had on hopes of long term integration into Iraqi society. In the direct aftermath of the Farhud, many joined the Iraqi Communist Party in order to protect the Jews of Baghdad, yet they did not want to leave the country and rather sought to fight for better conditions in Iraq itself. At the same time the Iraqi government which had taken over after the Farhud reassured the Iraqi Jewish community, and normal life soon returned to Baghdad, which saw a marked betterment of its economic situation during World War II.
It was only after the Iraqi government initiated a policy shift towards the Iraqi Jews in 1948, curtailing their civil rights and firing many Jewish state employees, that the Farhud began to be regarded as more than just an outburst of violence instigated by foreign influences, namely Nazi propaganda.
On October 23, 1948, Shafiq Ades, a respected Jewish businessman, was publicly hanged in Basra on charges of selling weapons to Israel and the Iraqi Communist Party, despite the fact he was an outspoken anti-Zionist. The event increased the sense of insecurity among Jews. The Jewish community general sentiment was that if a man as well connected and powerful as Shafiq Ades could he eliminated by the state, other Jews would not be protected any longer, and the Farhud was no longer seen as an isolated incident. During this period, the Iraqi Jewish community became increasingly fearful.
the general sentiment was chat if a man as well connected and powerful as Adas could he eliminated by the state, other Jews would not be protected any longer.
During this time, the Iraqi Jewish community became increasingly fearful
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The Al-Muthanna Club (Arabic: نادي المثنى) was an influential pan-Arab fascist society established in Baghdad ca. 1935 to 1937 which remained active until May 1941, when the coup d'état of pro-Nazi Rashid Ali al-Gaylani failed. It was named after Al-Muthanna ibn Haritha, an Iraqi Muslim Arab general who led forces that helped to defeat the Persian Sassanids at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah. Later known as the National Democratic Party, Nadi al-Muthanna was influenced by European fascism and controlled by radical Arab nationalists who, according to 2005's Memories of State, "formed the core of new radicals" for a combined Pan-Arab civilian and military coalition.Gabès pogrom
Gabès pogrom was a three-day wave of anti-Jewish violence which erupted in the Tunisian city of Gabès.Iraqi Jews in Israel
Iraqi Jews in Israel, also known as the Bavlim (related to "Babylon"), are immigrants and descendants of the immigrants of the Iraqi Jewish communities, who now reside within the state of Israel. They number around 450,000.Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries
The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, or Jewish exodus from Arab countries, was the departure, flight, expulsion, evacuation and migration of 850,000 Jews, primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, from Arab and Muslim countries, mainly from 1948 to the early 1970s. The last major migration wave took place from Iran in 1979–80, as a consequence of the Islamic Revolution.
A number of small-scale Jewish exoduses began in many Middle Eastern countries early in the 20th century with the only substantial aliyah coming from Yemen and Syria. Prior to the creation of Israel in 1948, approximately 800,000 Jews were living in lands that now make up the Arab world. Of these, just under two-thirds lived in the French and Italian-controlled North Africa, 15–20% in the Kingdom of Iraq, approximately 10% in the Kingdom of Egypt and approximately 7% in the Kingdom of Yemen. A further 200,000 lived in Pahlavi Iran and the Republic of Turkey.
The first large-scale exoduses took place in the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from Iraq, Yemen and Libya. In these cases over 90% of the Jewish population left, despite the necessity of leaving their property behind. Two hundred and sixty thousand Jews from Arab countries immigrated to Israel between 1948 and 1951, accounting for 56% of the total immigration to the newly founded state. Following the establishment of the State of Israel, a plan to accommodate 600,000 immigrants over four years, doubling the existing Jewish population, was submitted by the Israeli government to the Knesset. The plan, however, encountered mixed reactions; there were those within the Jewish Agency and government who opposed promoting a large-scale emigration movement among Jews whose lives were not in danger.Later waves peaked at different times in different regions over the subsequent decades. The peak of the exodus from Egypt occurred in 1956 following the Suez Crisis. The exodus from the other North African Arab countries peaked in the 1960s. Lebanon was the only Arab country to see a temporary increase in its Jewish population during this period, due to an influx of Jews from other Arab countries, although by the mid-1970s the Jewish community of Lebanon had also dwindled. Six hundred thousand Jews from Arab and Muslim countries had reached Israel by 1972. In total, of the 900,000 Jews who left Arab and other Muslim countries, 600,000 settled in the new state of Israel, and 300,000 migrated to France and the United States. The descendants of the Jewish immigrants from the region, known as Mizrahi Jews ("Eastern Jews") and Sephardic Jews ("Spanish Jews"), currently constitute more than half of the total population of Israel, partially as a result of their higher fertility rate. In 2009, only 26,000 Jews remained in Arab countries and Iran. and 26,000 in Turkey.The reasons for the exodus included push factors, such as persecution, antisemitism, political instability, poverty and expulsion, together with pull factors, such as the desire to fulfill Zionist yearnings or find a better economic status and a secure home in Europe or the Americas. The history of the exodus has been politicized, given its proposed relevance to the historical narrative of the Arab–Israeli conflict. When presenting the history, those who view the Jewish exodus as analogous to the 1948 Palestinian exodus generally emphasize the push factors and consider those who left as refugees, while those who do not, emphasize the pull factors and consider them willing immigrants.Kaunas pogrom
The Kaunas pogrom was a massacre of Jewish people living in Kaunas, Lithuania that took place on June 25–29, 1941 – the first days of the Operation Barbarossa and of Nazi occupation of Lithuania. The most infamous incident occurred in the Lietūkis garage, where several dozen Jewish men were publicly tortured and executed on June 27. After June, systematic executions took place at various forts of the Kaunas Fortress, especially the Seventh and Ninth Fort.Midrash Bet Zilkha
Midrash Bet Zilkha (or Midrash Abu Menashi) was an important Bet Midrash in Baghdad which was renowned among Eastern Jewry from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries. Many of the great Babylonian rabbis of modern times arose from its halls, and rabbis from across the Arab world pursued advanced studies there.National Alliance (United States)
The National Alliance is a white supremacist,, neo-Nazi, Holocaust denial and white separatist political organization. political organization founded by white supremacist William Luther Pierce in 1974 and based in Hillsboro, West Virginia. Membership in 2002 was estimated at 2,500 with an annual income of $1 million. Membership declined after Pierce's death in 2002 and after a split in its ranks in 2005 the group has been barely functioning.Operation Ezra and Nehemiah
From 1951 to 1952, Operation Ezra and Nehemiah airlifted between 120,000 and 130,000 Iraqi Jews to Israel via Iran and Cyprus. The massive emigration of Iraqi Jews was among the most climactic events of the Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries.
The operation is named after Ezra and Nehemiah, who led the Jewish people from exile in Babylonia to return to Israel in the 5th century BC, as recorded in the books of the Hebrew Bible that bear their names.
Most of the $4 million cost of the operation was financed by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.Persecution of Jews
Persecution of Jewish people has been a major part of Jewish history, prompting shifting waves of refugees throughout the diaspora communities.Pogrom
A pogrom is a violent riot aimed at the massacre or persecution of an ethnic or religious group, particularly one aimed at Jews. The Russian term originally entered the English language in order to describe 19th and 20th century attacks on Jews in the Russian Empire (mostly within the Pale of Settlement). Similar attacks against Jews at other times and places also became retrospectively known as pogroms. The word is now also sometimes used to describe publicly sanctioned purgative attacks against non-Jewish ethnic or religious groups. The characteristics of a pogrom vary widely, depending on the specific incidents, at times leading to, or culminating in, massacres.Significant pogroms in the Russian Empire included the Odessa pogroms, Warsaw pogrom (1881), Kishinev pogrom (1903), Kiev Pogrom (1905), and Białystok pogrom (1906), and, after the 1917 Russian Revolution, the Lwów pogrom (1918) and Kiev Pogroms (1919). The most significant pogrom in Nazi Germany was the Kristallnacht of 1938 in which 91 Jews were killed, a further 30,000 arrested and subsequently incarcerated in concentration camps, 1,000 synagogues burned, and over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged.Notorious pogroms of World War II included the 1941 Farhud in Iraq, the July 1941 Iaşi pogrom in Romania – in which over 13,200 Jews were killed – as well as the Jedwabne pogrom in Poland. Post-World War II pogroms included the 1945 Tripoli pogrom, the 1946 Kielce pogrom and the 1947 Aleppo pogrom.Rachel Wahba
Rachel Wahba is a writer of Mizrahi/Sephardic Jewish topics and a psychotherapist in private practice in San Francisco and in Marin County. She has written extensively about her mother's traumatic experience during the Farhud, the pogrom carried out against the Jewish population of Baghdad on June 1941.Relations between Nazi Germany and the Arab world
The relationship between Nazi Germany (1933–1945) and the leadership of the Arab world encompassed contempt, propaganda, collaboration and in some instances emulation. Cooperative political and military relationships were founded on shared hostilities toward common enemies, such as British and French imperialism and colonialism, communism, and Zionism. Another key foundation of this collaboration was the anti-semitism of the Nazis, which was admired by some Arab and Muslim leaders, most notably Hajj Amin al-Husayni (see Antisemitism in Islam). In public and private, Hitler and Himmler made warm statements about Islam as a religion and political ideology, describing it as a more disciplined, militaristic, political, and practical form of religion than Christianity, and commending what they perceived to be Muhammad's skill in politics and military leadership. However, official Nazi racial ideology also considered Arabs and North Africans to be racially inferior to Germans, a sentiment echoed by Hitler and other Nazi leaders to deprecate them.The Arabic-speaking world has attracted particular attention from historians examining fascism beyond Europe. Focusing exclusively on pro-Nazi and pro-Fascist forces, these scholars have tended to emphasize the appeal that Fascism and Nazism had across the Arab world. More recently however, this narrative has been challenged by a number of scholars who assert that Arab political debates in the 1930s and 1940s were quite complex. Fascism and Nazism, they argue, were discussed alongside other political ideologies, such as Communism, Liberalism, and Constitutionalism. Moreover, the recent revisionist works have stressed the anti-Fascist and anti-Nazi voices and movements in the Arab world.Shorja
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The name Shorja comes from Persian شورچاه Shurchah and means "salty well". This market place is a landmark established long ago by Iranian merchants. The adjacent neighborhood of Ab-Khana (cistern/water tank) is likewise Persian, although now Arabicized into "Aba Khana." Both of these neighborhoods are part of the Rusafa district of eastern Baghdad in the downtown area.Tangible property
Tangible property in law is, literally, anything which can be touched, and includes both real property and personal property (or moveable property), and stands in distinction to intangible property.In English law and some Commonwealth legal systems, items of tangible property are referred to as choses in possession (or a chose in possession in the singular). However, some property, despite being physical in nature, is classified in many legal systems as intangible property rather than tangible property because the rights associated with the physical item are of far greater significance than the physical properties. Principally, these are documentary intangibles. For example, a promissory note is a piece of paper that can be touched, but the real significance is not the physical paper, but the legal rights which the paper confers, and hence the promissory note is defined by the legal debt rather than the physical attributes.A unique category of property is money, which in some legal systems is treated as tangible property and in others as intangible property. Whilst most countries legal tender is expressed in the form of intangible property ("The Treasury of Country X hereby promises to pay to the bearer on demand...."), in practice banknotes are now rarely ever redeemed in any country, which has led to banknotes and coins being classified as tangible property in most modern legal systems.World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries
World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC) was an international advocacy organization, created in 1975, representing Jewish refugees from Arab countries. The World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries was created to make certain that any "just settlement of the refugee problem" recognizes those Jews who were forced to flee from lands where they had lived for centuries.The WOJAC functioned for approximately 25 years (from 1975 until 1999). WOJAC's aspiration was to operate in the national arena, to counterbalance the claims of the Palestinian leadership on the right to the land and on the refugee question.Yvonne Green
Yvonne Green (born 8 April 1957) is an English poet, translator, writer and barrister.
|1st – 11th century|
|12th – 19th century|