Call for Farhud to be part of Holocaust studies

Speaking on the Farhud Memorial Day at Or-Yehuda’s Babylonian Heritage Center, Professor Shmuel Moreh called on the Israeli government to recognise the Farhud as a part of the Nazi Solution to the Jewish Question. He called on the Israeli authorities to sponsor future Farhud memorials.

Here is his report of the proceedings. (With thanks: Linda)

On June 4, 2006, the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center in Or-Yehuda held a Memorial Evening on the Farhud (the Pogrom of June 1-2, 1941 in Baghdad) in which the names of 129 Jewish victims were read by Dr. Zvi Yehuda, the Director of the Research Institute of Babylonian Jewry at the Center.

Candles were light by Dr. Nissim Qazzaz whose father was slaughtered in the Farhud, in memory of all those who were assassinated and Kaddish, followed by a Hebrew elegy, was recited by Cantor Arieh Ovadia.

Mr. Mordecai Ben-Porat, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Center, gave a talk about the significance of the Farhud as a turning point in the attitudes of the Jewish community towards the Iraqi people and the rise of the Zionist Underground.

Prof. Shmuel Moreh, Chairman of the Academic Committee and Chairman of the Association of Jewish Academics from Iraq, delivered a lecture on “The Attitude of Arab Intellectuals towards the Farhud”, and dealt with the regret expressed by some Iraqi intellectuals for the notorious events which deprived Iraq from its most active and positive element in the fields of economy, finance, medicine, law, culture and literature.

Dr. Zvi Yehuda delivered a lecture on “Those who are accused of the Farhud”, putting the blame on the Nazi German representatives in Iraq, Pro-Nazi Iraqi and Palestinian elements in the government, army and police as well as on the mobs.

The poets Herzl and Balfour Hakkak and Yehizkael Moriel read their poems on the slaughter of the Farhud and their reminiscences as children of the terrible events. The writer Salim Fattal, whose uncle was slaughtered in the Farhud, read a chapter from his realistic autobiographical novel In the Alleys of Baghdad, describing the chilling events of the slaughter of his uncle and his friend Nahum Qazzaz at Bab al-Sheykh quarter, the massacre and the looting of Jewish houses and how the tragic news of the assassination of the uncle was received by his family.

Prof. Shmuel Moreh urged the Israeli Government to recognize the Farhud, which was organized by Nazi representatives, and pro-Nazi elements in the Iraqi government, police and army, as a part of the Final Solution to the Jewish Question, that it should be considered as an integral part of the Holocaust and the necessity of its inclusion in Yad Vashem projects. He added that the Memorial Day of the Farhud should be sponsored by the Israeli authorities. The speaker hailed the decision of the Holocaust Museum of Los Angeles, and the State University of California and Human Rights in the United States to consider the Farhud an integral part of the Holocaust studies at Universities and Museums.

Prof. Shmuel Moreh is Emeritus Professor, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Israel Prize Laureate in Oriental Studies (1999)

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