On January 21, 2005, the Los Angeles Holocaust Memorial Museums and California State University’s Center for Excellence on the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, Human Rights, and Tolerance simultaneously announced that they would officially recognize and remember “the Farhud” as a forgotten Holocaust pogrom. They urged all Holocaust museums and educational courses worldwide to do likewise. Their joint action was applauded by numerous Jewish communal, Sephardic, and Holocaust organizations, as well as organizations for the study of genocide and tolerance.
The Holocaust was perpetrated beyond the confines of Europe and into the entire Arab world, where Jews had lived in peace for some 3,000 years before the Hitler-Arab Axis. The principal actor in the Axis was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who had relocated to oil-rich Iraq from 1939-1941, and Berlin for the rest of the War.
The entire Jewish world has heard of Kristallnacht, yet few have heard of the Farhud, where Arabs trained by the Nazis in Baghdad, killed, maimed and committed numerous atrocities against the Jewish population on the two days on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot in 1941. The Farhud was the beginning of the end of 2,600 years of Jewish life in Iraq. This event commenced with a rampage of mass murder, mutilation, rape, burning and looting. The carnage would be forever seared upon the collective Iraqi Jewish consciousness.
Until now, the term “Farhud” and the riots and subsequent persecution of the Iraqi Jews during Holocaust and has been completely omitted from virtually all Holocaust study and memorials. This turning point event–the Farhud–was recently resurrected, during the fall of 2004, by a series of Iraqi community seminars, an award-winning bestselling book by author Edwin Black, as well as recent lectures and articles on the subject.