The Pogrom (Farhud) against the Jews of Baghdad in 1941

Jewish and Arab Approaches
  • Daphne Tsimhoni
Chapter

Abstract

The pogrom against the Jews of Baghdad on 1–2 June 1941, known among the Jews as the Farhud (Arabic: ‘the destruction of order’, ‘robbery’), was a watershed in the history of the Jews of Iraq. It was the first and the only pogrom against the Jews in modern Iraq and marked the culmination of the change in Jewish-Muslim relations in a country where the Jews had been a small but successful minority, well integrated within the Muslim environment. The Farhud took place shortly after the fall of the short pro-Nazi regime of Rashid Ali and the restoration of the pro-British Regent; it occurred under the influence of long years of pro-Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda and can be considered as a disaster in the fringes of the Shoah, the Jewish holocaust. This paper will try to analyse the event in its various aspects, the Jewish and Arab responses, and the role of the Farhud in their collective memory.

Keywords

Migration Dust Europe Propa Exter 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    A comprehensive survey of this period in Iraq and its impact on the Jews is found in Reeva S. Simon, Iraq Between the Two World Wars (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), pp.33–39, 60–62, 72–73, 88–112; Lukasz Hirszowicz, The Third Reich and the Arab East, [Hebrew], (Tel Aviv: Workers’ Library, 1965), pp.104–181; Nissim Kazzaz, The Jews in Iraq in the Twentieth Century, [Hebrew], (Jerusalem: Ben Zvi Institute, 1991), pp.184–193, 214–220;Google Scholar
  2. Elie Kedourie, ‘The Break Between Muslims and Jews in Iraq,’ in Mark R. Cohen and Abraham L. Udovitch (eds.), Jews Among Arabs: Contacts and Boundaries, (Princeton: The Darwin Press, 1989), pp.31ff.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Phillip Ireland, Iraq — A Study in Political Development (London, 1937), p.436; Report by the American Consul in Baghdad on talks with the leaders of the Jewish community, 7 September 1945, ANA 840.1; Kazzaz, pp.85–86.Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    Abraham Tweina, Exiled and Redeemed, vol.VI: The Events of Pentecost June 1941, [Hebrew], (Ramleh: The Guelah Synagogue, 1977), p. 19; Hayyim Cohen, Zionist Activity in Iraq (Jerusalem: Zionist Federation, 1969), pp. 157–160.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    On the forced Arabization of the Jewish and other minorities’ school system, see Kedourie, Muslims and Jews, pp.25–27; for a description of the atmosphere in the Jewish schools and the Muslim teachers there see Nairn Kattan, Farewell Babylon (New York: Taplinger, 1980), pp.46–48.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Tweina, vol.VI, pp.25–30, quoted also in Elie Kedourie, ‘The Sack of Basra and the Farhud in Baghdad’, in Arabic Political Memoirs and Other Studies (London: Frank Cass, 1974), p.91 ; Testimony by Abraham Tweina on the Farhud given on 1 January 1966 in Shmuel Moreh and Zvi Yehuda (eds.) Hatred of Jews and the Farhud in Iraq [Hebrew], (Or-Yehuda: The Babylonian Jewish Heritage Center, 1992), p.288. On the general atmosphere of the period seeGoogle Scholar
  7. Sylvia G. Haim, ‘Aspects of Jewish Life in Baghdad Under the Monarchy’, in Middle Eastern Studies 12 (1976): 194–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 13.
    On the British occupation of Iraq and the Farhud see Elie Kedourie, ‘The Sack of Basra, pp.283–314; Hayyim J. Cohen, ‘The Anti Jewish Farhud in Baghdad, 1941’, in Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.3, No.1, (October 1966), pp.2–17; A Selection of Documents on the Pogrom of 1941 in Moreh and Yehuda, p.211ff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 26.
    Abd al Razzaq al-Hasani, The Hidden Secrets of the Events of the Year of Liberation of 1941, [Arabic], (Sayda: AL-Urfan, 1958), pp.157, 223; Kedourie, Farhud, p.90.Google Scholar
  10. 27.
    Tweina, vol.VI, p.40; Testimonies in Moreh-Yehuda, pp.25, 286–290; see also Nissim Rejwan, ‘Rashid Ali’s Month of War’, Midstream, November 1984, p.45.Google Scholar
  11. 31.
    Marion Woolfson, Prophets in Babylon, Jews in the Arab World (London: Faber, 1980), pp.155–163.Google Scholar
  12. 33.
    The India Office to the Foreign office in London 24 August 1941 PRO/FO 371–27116; Maurice M. Sawdayee, The Baghdad Conection (n.p., 1991), p.111.Google Scholar
  13. 38.
    Nissim Rejwan, The Jews of Iraq (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1985), pp.225ff.Google Scholar
  14. 42.
    For further details see, D. Tsimhoni, ‘Activity of the Yishuv on Behalf of Iraqi Jewry, 1941–1948’, in Selwyn Ilan Troen and Benjamin Pinkus (eds.) Organizing Rescue, Jewish National Solidarity in the Modern Perio, (London: Frank Cass, 1992), pp.225–230.Google Scholar
  15. 47.
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  16. 48.
    Eliyahu Agassi, Commemorating Twenty years of the Pogrom of the Jews of Baghdad, [Hebrew], (Tel Aviv, 1961).Google Scholar
  17. 49.
    Salman Shina, From Babylon to Zion, memoirs and Views, [Hebrew], (Tel Aviv: Hamerkaz Press, 1955), pp.125–126.Google Scholar
  18. 54.
    Abraham Tweina, Exiled and Redeemed vol. VI: The Events of Pentecost June 1941, [Hebrew] (Ramleh, 1977).Google Scholar
  19. 57.
    Shmuel Moreh, Those were the days of Youth and Love, An Anthology of Poems in Arabic and English (Jerusalem: Association of Jewish Academics from Iraq, 1998), pp.18–20.Google Scholar
  20. 60.
    Nissim Rejwan, ‘Rashid Ali’s Month of War’, Midstream (November 1984), p.45.Google Scholar
  21. 61.
    Shulamit Bina, ‘The Anti-Jewish Farhud in Baghdad, 1941: Jewish and Arab Perspectives’, master’s thesis, SUNY, 1989, pp.106–109.Google Scholar
  22. 64.
    Sadiq Hasan al-Sudani, The Zionist Activity in Iraq 1914–1952, [Arabic], (Baghdad: Ministry of Education and Information, 1980), pp.125–126; Bina, pp.117–120.Google Scholar
  23. 65.
    Wazir al-Khalil, The Republic of Fear, The Politics of Modern Iraq, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), p.48.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

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  • Daphne Tsimhoni

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