The Demons of the Farhud Pogrom Are With Us Still

(Huffington Post) Lyn Julius - On 1 June 1941, the two-day Baghdad pogrom known as the Farhud erupted. As Salim Fattal describes in his vivid memoir In the Alleys of Baghdad: "Helpless Jews had been cornered in their homes and fallen easy prey to robbers, murderers and rapists, who abused their victims to their heart's content, with no let or hindrance. They slit throats, slashed off limbs, smashed skulls. They made no distinction between women, children and old people. In that gory scene, blind hatred of Jews and the joy of murder for its own sake reinforced each other." The Farhud (meaning "violent dispossession") paved the way for the dissolution of the 2,600-year-old Jewish community of 140,000 Jews within ten years. Jews had comprised a fifth of Baghdad. But the Farhud was not just another anti-Jewish pogrom. The Nazi supporters who planned it had a more sinister objective: the round-up, deportation and extermination in desert camps of the Baghdadi Jews. Days before the Farhud broke out, the proto-Nazi youth movement, the Futuwwa, went around daubing Jewish homes with a red palm print. Six months after the end of World War II, and before Israel was established, vicious riots broke out in Egypt and Libya - the latter claimed more than 130 lives. Every Arab state adopted anti-Jewish measures. The result was the exodus of nearly a million Jews from the Arab world.

2015-05-29 00:00:00

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