Jewish Organization Applauds Recognition of Forgotten Holocaust Event that Occurred in Iraq

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Jewish organization applauds both The Los Angeles Holocaust Museum and the California State University for recognizing the Farhud, an event that was the culmination of the Hitler-Arab Axis to destroy the Iraqi Jews.

Two California Holocaust organizations have jointly announced that henceforth they will recognize “the Farhud” against Iraqi Jewry as a Holocaust-era pogrom that needs to be taught in future Holocaust and genocidal education programs and be explored in Holocaust museum exhibits, noted Shelomo Alfassa, executive director of the International Society for Sephardic Progress.

The two California institutions taking the lead in recognizing the Farhud are the State of California Center for Excellence on the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, Human Rights, and Tolerance and the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. The two organizations made their joint announcement January 21, 2005 at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in press conference supported by other institutions across the country, called upon all Holocaust educators and museums worldwide to do likewise.

“The Farhud” was the vicious June 1, 1941 pogrom against Iraqi Jews, launched in conjunction with an Iraqi-Nazi alliance. Hundreds of Iraqi Jews were killed, maimed and raped, as their homes and businesses were torched and looted during a 48-hour pogrom. The forgotten Farhud was the result of an Arab-Nazi axis, organized by the Mufti of Jerusalem while headquartered in Baghdad, which traded Iraqi oil for Hitler’s invasion of Russia in exchange for the annihilation of Jews in Palestine and Eastern Europe. The turning point incident was the beginning of the end of the Iraqi Jewish Community, which thrived for 2,600 years. Within a decade some 120,000, all but a few thousand, were expelled to Israel. “The Farhud,” in Arabic means “violent dispossession.”

Memory of the Farhud was resurrected by the recent award-winning book 'Banking on Baghdad' by Edwin Black, and by his many associated articles and lectures around the country. The result was the Farhud Recognition Project launched by Sephardic Jewish groups and Holocaust organizations.

In the coming week, Black will speak on the Farhud at an Iraqi Jewish synagogue in Los Angeles, as well as other Jewish congregations and university campuses in California, and the nation’s largest Holocaust museum, the Detroit Holocaust Memorial Center.

“We are grateful to Edwin Black for telling the world what happened to this important Jewish community, and for documenting how Hitler’s Holocaust was not confined to Europe but was intended as a world war against the Jews,” stated Alfassa.

He continued, “After nearly 65 years, this forgotten event of the Holocaust which enveloped the Jewish people, will now—finally—be recognized and studied,” added Alfassa.

The ISFSP welcomes the statement of the two California based institutions, and looks forward to other organizations and institutions coming forward to do the same and join the Farhud Recognition Project.

Persons wanting to learn more about the Farhud can visit the Farhud Recognition Project at http://www.farhud.org or Black’s website at http://www.bankingonbaghdad.com.

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