An Iraqi Jewish survivor, who endured the brutal Farhud pogrom in Baghdad 82 years ago, has voiced his alarm over the recent actions of Hamas. The October 7 attack by Hamas, which involved the murder of entire families and other atrocities, has rekindled painful memories for those who experienced similar horrors in the past. This survivor’s account serves as a chilling reminder of the potential consequences of unchecked extremism.
The Farhud: A Dark Chapter in Iraqi History
The survivor recounts the harrowing events of June 1 and 2, 1941, during the Farhud in Baghdad. Following a pro-Nazi coup, mobs, along with police and soldiers, committed unspeakable acts of violence against the Jewish community. The pogrom, marked by murder, looting, and rape, left an indelible scar on the Jewish community, which had been integral to Iraqi society for millennia.
A Personal Tale of Survival and Loss
The survivor shares a personal story involving his older brother Eliyahu, who narrowly escaped the violence while cycling through the city. The vivid descriptions of the atrocities witnessed by his brother highlight the depth of the horror experienced by the Jewish community during the Farhud.
Lessons in Humanity Amidst Chaos
Despite the violence, there were also stories of heroism and compassion. The survivor recalls how some courageous Muslim individuals risked their lives to protect their Jewish neighbors. These acts of bravery and humanity offered a glimmer of hope amidst the darkness and taught the survivor valuable lessons about judging individuals based on their actions rather than their group identity.
Reflections on the Current Conflict
Drawing parallels between the past and present, the survivor expresses concerns over the recent pro-Hamas demonstrations and the potential repercussions of Hamas’ extremism. He recalls the fears and uncertainties faced by Iraqi Jews during the partition of Palestine and the subsequent Arab-Israeli conflict, emphasizing the complex and often painful history shared by Jews and Arabs in the region.
The Journey to Freedom and the Plight of Refugees
The survivor’s personal journey, from escaping Iraq to becoming a refugee in Israel, illustrates the challenges and resilience of those forced to flee their homes. He reflects on the broader experience of Jewish refugees from Arab lands, emphasizing the importance of moving forward while acknowledging past sufferings.
A Call for Courage and Change
In conclusion, the survivor appeals for courage and change, hoping for a future where extremism gives way to democracy and peace. His story is a testament to the enduring human spirit and the possibility of overcoming adversity and hatred through understanding, solidarity, and a commitment to justice.