Israelis have never heard of the Farhud

Hundreds of  thousands of Israelis have great grandparents or grandparents of Iraqi-Jewish descent. Yet very few have heard of the Farhud, the Iraqi Kristallnacht, Tabby Refael writes in Jewish Journal. Her findings correspond to a recent poll, which concluded that 93 percent of those polled knew nothing of Mizrahi history or heritage.  (With thanks: Edwin B) :

Tabby Refael
Tabby Refael

Last week, I conducted an informal survey: I asked five Ashkenazi friends and five Iranian-Jewish friends in Los Angeles if they had heard of Kristallnacht, the antisemitic pogrom that occurred in Germany in 1938. All of them said yes. 

I then asked if they had heard of the Farhud, a deadly pogrom against Iraqi Jews during June 1-2, 1941, in which hundreds were murdered and raped. Out of ten friends in Los Angeles, nine of them had not heard of the Farhud.

And then, a strange thing happened: I asked ten friends in Israel if they had ever heard of the Farhud, given that hundreds of thousands of Israelis have grandparents or great-grandparents of Iraqi Jewish descent. Nine of them also responded that they didn’t know what it was. 

I’m not an Iraqi Jew (I’m a neighboring cousin from Iran), but as of the 81st anniversary of the Farhud last week, I’m on a mission to expose as many Jews and non-Jews to the atrocities that were committed against this once-vibrant community as a result of a heinous combination of Muslim antisemitism and Nazi propaganda. 

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  • The lack of knowledge about the Farhud is worse than you describe. I once asked someone I know from shul about the Farhud and he had no idea what I was talking about. After several times of telling him to ask his parents, he finally did so.

    His grandparents experienced the Farhud and he finally heard what his family had experienced.

  • I think you mean your mission is “to explain to as many Jews etc., about the atrocities”. I certainly hope you don’t want to expose anyone to those atrocities!

    Otherwise, thank you for your great work!


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