Remember the Farhud

80 years ago, on June 1, 1941, celebrating the Shavuot holiday, a group of Jews in Baghdad were ambushed by an armed Arab mob. The attacks and rioting went on for two days. While the exact figure is not known, it is estimated that at least 180 Jews were killed in Baghdad and Basra, perhaps as many as 600, and hundreds more were wounded. Jewish women were gang raped and mutilated. Jewish shops and homes were looted and then torched. Synagogues were looted and Torah scrolls burned. Afraid to give the dead a proper burial, the corpses were buried in a large mass grave.

Light a virtual candle below to commemorate the 180 Jews murdered during 1941 in Iraq 

This pogrom was named the Farhud, which in Arabic means violent dispossession. The Farhud marked an irrevocable loss for Jewish life in Iraq and paved the way for the dissolution of the 2,600-year-old Jewish community 10 years later. Forced out by fear of a second Farhud and denationalizing legislation that made them stateless refugees, the overwhelming majority of Iraq's Jewish community immigrated to Israel after 1948. Others held on for a few more decades, but today, the historic Jewish community of Iraq, which gave us Ezra the Scribe, the academies of Sura and Pumbedita, and the Babylonian Talmud, is no more.

Unfortunately, this important moment in Jewish history is little known. It is crucial that Jews and non-Jews around the world commemorate the Farhud as an event which ended thousands of years of Jewish culture, civilization and learning.

Massacre of Iraqi Jews, June 1-2, 1941

Listen to the testimony of Daniel Khazoom, an eyewitness to the Farhud

On the 80th anniversary of the Farhud, we are asking people around the world to light a virtual candle in memory of those who were killed and the community that was shattered.

By filling out the details in the form below you are adding your name in commemoration to those killed in the Farhud.

We also ask that you add a specially created frame to your Facebook profile in the lead up to June 1st to spread awareness of this event and express solidarity with the families who mourn those who were killed during the Farhud.

Add a frame to your Facebook >>