Shiite Arab Muslims during the Farhud Pogrom in 1941

The peak of the deterioration of the Jewish community in Baghdad came on the eve of the Shavuot holiday in 1941, when 179 men, women, children, and the elderly were murdered in the Farhud pogrom. Eddie Moore, one of the few survivors still alive, wrote a book about his memories from the pogroms that took place in his birthplace before he moved to Israel, and the Zionism which saved Arab Jewry.

He was 5 years old on the eve of Shavuot 82 years ago, on June 1, 1941. "The lux lamp and the lanterns were extinguished and prepared ahead of time, the house was cleaned and properly prepared for the holiday of Matan Torah. Many foods were prepared and a large banquet table was set up in the courtyard of the house.”

Eddie explained that after getting in a sort of large taxi with his uncle and family member, a horrific incident occurred which he cannot seem to forget. "The driver started driving, and we easily pulled up behind the old taxi that was driving in front of us. In the middle of the road, in a place called 'Shaar Zakan,' a Shia neighborhood inhabited by religious extremists, an angry and enthusiastic mob gathered and blocked the street for cars to pass. The taxi in front of us was stopped by an overflowing mob. Most of The people chanted against the British and the Jews and waved daggers, hatchets, and kitchen knives. The shouting and battle cries of the angry mob startled us. The taxi in front of us stopped, and our taxi stopped behind it. Several protesters boarded the taxi in front of us, forcibly removed the Jewish passengers, and slaughtered them before our eyes.” Luckily, the Taxi Eddie was in, with a Muslim driver, helped them escape the angry mob.

What Eddie described in his book was the beginning of what would be called the “Farhud” by Iraqi Jewry. A combination of Nazi influence and anti-Zionist and antisemitic beliefs led most Iraqi Jewry to eventually abandon their well-established lives in Iraq and move to Israel. 

"In the days after the Farhud, we saw our Arab neighbors dressed in clothes they had stolen from our homes, but that was the easy part of the incident. Terrible news reached our ears one after the other. We learned that our closest neighbors from the house next door, a family of ten, had all been slaughtered. Also, more than 150 Jews, entire quarters of Jewish neighborhoods were looted, destroyed, and set on fire.”

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