The Last Jews Of Iraq

Tuesday 29 November

8.00pm-8.40pm

BBC RADIO 4

Alan Yentob investigates a 2,600 year old community, now almost disappeared – the Jewish community of Baghdad.

In 1917 a third of Baghdad's population was Jewish, now only seven remain. Jewish people were an integral part of the community, living peacefully with Arab neighbours.

For centuries it was the centre of Jewish learning. But in the 1940s, everything changed. Nazism, Arab-nationalism and anti-Zionist feeling created a wave of anti-Semitism. Violent pogroms flared up, young Jewish men were publically hanged and Jews were forced from jobs.

By the 1970s nearly all had left, many in 1951 when 110,000 people were flown to safety in Israel.

Now those few Jews who remain are hidden away. They will certainly be the last of the ancient Babylonian Jewish line, says Canon Andrew White, the 'Vicar of Baghdad'.

Alan Yentob, himself the child of Iraqi Jewish immigrants, uncovers the hidden history of the Jews of Iraq.

Presenter/Alan Yentob, Producer/Hannah Marshall for Loftus Audio

BBC Radio 4 Publicity