Monday, August 29, 2011
'Voices of the Farhud' now accessible online
Now available on Youtube is a powerful short documentary in two parts by David Kahtan, a young man of Iraqi-Jewish origin. The film was shown for the first time at a Harif event in London commemorating the 70th anniversary of the massacre, rape and dispossession of at least 145 Jews, although the exact figure will never be known.
David's father Moshe tells how his parents threw him, a small child, across their rooftop to safety on to the house next door. Eileen and Maurice Khalastchi contribute their memories. Professor Shmuel Moreh explains that the massacre was pre-planned - the milkman opposite the family home warned Shmuel's father not to got to work on the day the Farhud began. The looting was so extreme that 'Waka mazal'em! ( may their luck run out, a typically Jewish curse) the mob even stole brooms from Jewish homes'.
Editor of Memories of Eden Tony Rocca explains that the British failed to stop what they considered an 'internal matter' even though the Jewish victims had faithfully served the British colonial administration; after the pogrom, the British ambassador Cornwallis was said to have callously remarked to British army officers over a candlelit dinner - "to think that just two days ago 2,000 Jews were killed in Baghdad!" Author of Farewell Babylon Naim Kattan describes how pro-Nazi ideology was rampant in Iraq at the time.
When it was all over, trust could never be re-established between Jews and Muslims: 10 years later, over 90 percent of the community fled to Israel.