The widows of two Jews executed in Iraq speak up

With thanks:Iraqijews, Janet, Lisette, Ivy

There was a time for Jews in Iraq when posting a letter was a traumatic experience. Simha Horesh remembers the fear gripping her when she ventured out to the post box, her letter wrapped in newspaper, hoping and praying it would reach its destination.

Simha Horesh and Odile Dallal became young widows when their husbands were summarily executed in January and August 1969 respectively by the Ba’ath regime. Charles Horesh was one of nine Jews hanged in Baghdad’s main square after a show trial indicted them for spying for Israel. Odile’s husband never underwent a trial.

The widows, who had young children – one was born after the death of her father – speak with quiet dignity and in impeccable English of the unspeakable terror and utter despair they went through. Simha remembers approaching an Arab friend for help: “I could have done something for him if he had been a murderer,” the friend told her,” but he was a Jew.”

Odile talks of the relief of escaping to Israel. Her children could play in the street without fear, “just as Arab children did.”

This very moving short film is called Silence is Killing and was made in 1974 by the World Zionist Organisation to raise awareness of the plight of Jews from Arab countries. It is now in the Spielberg archive.


  • Trully Moving stories… Thanks for the post…

    I have come to learn that one should not compare human suffering from one group to another but I always thought that when we look at the Arab/Muslim treatments of Jewish population, the horrible things that our compatriots in Iraq have gone through during the Farhood pogroms and the recent purges of Saddam Bath Arab nationalism, stand apart in its cruelty and hatred.

    Horrible descriptions of rape and killings of children during the Farhood pogrom can be heard from survivors now old and frail in a documentary by Pierre Rehov 2009 "The Silent Exodus" (Les Refugies du Silence).

    May all the victims of anti-semitisim rest in peace…and curse befall the perpetrators and their allies.

  • my oh my!!!what a horrendous story.
    At least in Egypt they did not hang us.If only for that dayenou!!!
    suzy vidal


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