The Farhoud of June 1941, in which rioting mobs murdered some 180 of Iraq's Jewish citizens (as well as injuring, raping and pillaging) was premeditated, Salim Fattal's documentary film on the modern history of the Jews of Iraq, The land that devours the inhabitants thereof, clearly reveals.
In the interval between the deposing of Rashid Ali, the pro-Nazi Prime Minister who had seized power in a coup, and the arrival of the pro-British Regent in the Iraqi capital, Muslim houses in Baghdad were daubed 'Muslim', while Jewish homes were marked with the 'Hamsa' (hand). When the Chief Rabbi of Iraq went to the authorities to voice his safety concerns, he was told that the Jews should barricade themselves in their houses with enough food for three days.
Eye-witnesses described how minibuses of Jews were emptied and their passengers slaughtered. The rioting started on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot and went on for two days.
The British army, who were encamped on the outskirts of Baghdad, could have intervened to stop the death and destruction. A Jewish translator working with them was told that the British army had no 'instructions' to intervene. It was only when the rioting began to endanger the established Muslim quarters of Baghdad that the British army swiftly quelled the disturbances.
The dead were buried hurriedly in a mass grave without the usual Jewish mourning practices. The Farhoud had a traumatic effect and marked the beginning of the end of the Jewish commmunity, which traced its history back to 586 BC. Within 10 years all but 6,000 of Iraq's 150,000 Jews had fled.