Farhud mentioned in New South Wales Parliament

The Deputy Chair of the New South Wales Parliamentary Friends of Israel,
Walt Secord, has spoken in the NSW parliament, Australia,  about the Sydney
Sephardi Jewish community’s commemoration of the Farhud on
2 June. During the commemoration,  pubished poet Yvonne Green read out the poem she  was commissioned to write on the75th anniversary of the pogrom (41 mins into the video), in which at least 179 Jews lost their lives. In 2020 the Sydney Jewish Museum will stage an exhibition on Jews from Arab lands (with thanks: Vernon, Yvonne):

Walt Secord

Here is Walt Secord’s address, as reported by J-Wire: 


“It is part of a welcome development in recent years to mark
significant events involving the Sephardi and Mizrachi
community and their history.

In 2015 the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Sephardi
community marked Farhud jointly for the first time and in 2020
the Sydney Jewish Museum is planning an exhibition on Jews
from Arab lands.

While I have some knowledge of the Sephardi community, which
stretches back to the 1980s when I was a journalist at The
Australian Jewish News
and my visits to Israel, I
concede that I am more familiar with the Shoah and the
destruction of European Jewry. However, I have become
increasingly aware of the horrific events of 1941 and the
expulsion of the Jewish community from Arab lands after the
establishment of the State of Israel.

The Farhud was a pogrom in Iraq in 1 and 2 June 1941 and the
phrase was coined by the Iraqi Kurdish population. It means
“violent dispossession”, referring to the attacks on the
Jewish community in Baghdad. Conservative estimates put the
number of those murdered around 178, including 142 in Baghdad
alone in the pogrom. Looting of Jewish property took place;
900 Jewish homes were destroyed and there were also rapes.
A synagogue was invaded and its Torahs burned.
Afraid to give the dead a proper burial, the corpses were
buried in a mass grave.

The Farhud was an extraordinary development in the history of
Iraq as there has been a Jewish presence there for more than
2,600 years, dating back to the destruction of the first
temple in 586 BCE. At the beginning of the twentieth century,
the Jewish population of Iraq was estimated to be around
250,000, although it had decreased to 150,000 by the middle of
the century.

From 1950 to 1952 up to 130,000 Jews were airlifted out of
Iraq to Israel. They faced much discrimination, persecution
and anti-Semitism after the establishment of the State of
Israel and most were forced to flee from Iraq. The Sydney
commemoration was a solemn and dignified affair.

I congratulate the Sephardi community and its president, Mr
Shaul Meir Ezekiel, on organising the event. The Sydney
Sephardi community spiritual leader, Rabbi Michael Chriqui,
read a psalm.

One of the other highlights was chatting and
meeting the award-winning British-Bukharan Jewish poet,
translator and barrister, Yvonne Green, who read from her
work, The Farhud. The poem was commissioned for the
seventy-fifth anniversary of the Farhudand was recited in the
Israeli Knesset when it commemorated it.

Finally, I look forward to accepting the invitation from Mr
Shaul Meir Ezekiel to visit the Sephardi Synagogue at Bondi
Junction in the near future. I thank the House for its
consideration.”

Read article in full 

Yvonne’s journey to celebrate the power of poetry (Plus 61)

Articles in the Hebrew and Arabic Press:

The third generation battles to preserve the memory of the Farhud (Makor Rishon :with thanks, Yoel)

Why does the state not recognise the Farhud victims as victims of the Nazis (Nissim Kazzaz) (Makor Rishon)

Article inAl- Alamby Tsionit Fattal Kuperwasser

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