Pictures of Jewish Communities in Iraq: Early 20th Century

December 31, 2013  

Jewish scribes at the “Tomb of Ezekiel” near Babylon, Kefil,Mesopotamia (Iraq)  (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock, University of California, Riverside)

The Jews of Iraq

The vast Keystone-Mast Collection at the California Museum of Photography contains many photographs of Jewish communities — now extinct — from across the Muslim world. 

We believe most of the undated pictures in the University of California – Riverside Archives were taken between 1898 and 1930 

“Jewish Cobblers Repairing Shoes for  Arabs, near Mosul, Mesopotamia”

 Suffering from pogroms, persecution, and confiscation of property, most of the Jews of Iraq left the country by 1951. 

Jews of Mosul (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography at UCR)

Inside Ezekiel’s Tomb (circa 1931, Libraryof Congress). Also view Israel Daily Picture feature on Ezekiel’s Tomb

Persian ceiling of ancient synagogue at Ezekiel’s Tomb (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection, California Museum of Photography at UCR)

“Principal Street, Baghdad, Where the Jews and Moslems Throng, Mesopotamia.” Prior to World War II, 80,000 Jews lived in Baghdad. (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection,California Museum  of Photography at UCR)

“Picturesque homes of wealthy Jews along the Tigris River in North Baghdad, Mesopotamia.” Note the woman in the window and the boat, a “kufas” row boat on the Tigris. (Credit: Keystone-Mast  Collection,California Museum of Photography at UCR)

“Jewish families of the well-to-do at the wharf, Baghdad, Mesopotamia.” (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection,California Museum of Photography at UCR)

Building a “kufas” boat.  (Credit: Keystone-Mast Collection,California Museum  of Photography at UCR)

 

In 2003, a U.S. Defense Department analyst, Harold Rhode, uncovered a vast cache of ancient Jewish documents in the flooded basement of the Iraqi Intelligence Headquarters. He led an effort to save the historical documents and bring them to the United States for restoration. The restoration has been completed, but Iraqi Jews around the world are protesting the U.S. Government’s plan to return the documents to the Iraq government.


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1 COMMENT

  1. By maccabette, January 7, 2014

    I am Iraqi-Jewish 🙂
    These are such awesome pics of my ancestors.

    Reply

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