Marina Benjamin is first generation British, born in London to Iraqi-Jewish parents. As a young woman she embraced her British identity, but rebelled from her Iraqi roots. When she gave birth to her own daughter and as she watched the approach of the war in Iraq, she was drawn back to her family’s past – and to the figure of her late grandmother, Regina.
Regina’s life mirrored the fate of Iraq’s Jewish community. Over the course of the twentieth century they moved from being a large, prosperous and culturally significant ethnic group to a persecuted minority, effectively expelled from the country.
Jenni talks to Marina Benjamin about how her once privileged grandmother became the resourceful woman who evaded the authorities to escape with her children to 1950s London.
Last Days in Babylon: The story of the Jews of Baghdad by Marina Benjamin is published by Bloomsbury, ISDN: 978-0747586920