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In 1956, synagogues and Jewish schools were closed. A 200-year-old cemetery was destroyed and its tombs desecrated. Source: Freedman, Warren. World Guide for the Jewish Traveler. NY: E.P. Dutton Inc, 1984. Extracted by Bernard Kouchel [March 1994]

[There is a] ... "remnant of a once viable Iraqi-Jewish community that numbered more than 150,000. There are now less than one hundred Jews living in Iraq." Source: Nu? What's New" Avotaynu newsletter [August 2003]

Jewish community history [January 2010]

Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery "...is 800 metres beyond the North Gate of the City of Baghdad on the south-eastern side of the road to Baguba. Within the cemetery is the Baghdad (North Gate)(Khanaquin)Memorial. The Commission, at their 480th meeting in September 1965 approved a proposal for the erection of a memorial in Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery to commemorate 107 Commonwealth and 438 Polish burials of the 1939/45 Warin Khanaquin War Cemetery which, owing to difficulty of access, could not be fully constructed or properly maintained. A memorial has also been erected at Khanaqin. ... ARBASHI PRISONERS OF

WAR CEMETERY: 145 graves. The cemetery also contains two Special Memorials to two soldiers of the United KIngdom buried in BAGHDAD EAST JEWISH CEMETERY, which lies within the city bund on the East side." Source [January 2010]

Sadr City Jewish Cemetery: The two-acre Jewish cemetery is behind tall concrete walls with a metal door. Source. [August 2009]

"With some 3,200 graves, the large overgrown cemetery lies on the eastern edge of the capital. It is adjacent to Sadr City, a sprawling slum of more than two million Shi'ite Muslims, many of whom have been battling the US soldiers in their midst and blaming the Jews for the war." Source [January 2010] "Visitors to the Jewish cemetery in the turbulent Shia neighborhood of Sadr City, the scene of some of the most vicious fighting ... stoned more than once by school children. But the day I visited with Levy, we were peacefully received. Like the synagogue in Betaween, the cemetery lies hidden behind towering concrete walls and can only be entered via a thick metal door. There are 3,200 graves here, lying side by side in hundreds of neat rows and, one by one, each grave is being carefully remolded in concrete. Muslim laborers who have been at work here for the past three months already have repaired roughly a quarter of the graves, and so far the Jewish community has spent 20 million Dinar ($15,000) on the renovations./ The cemetery has suffered more than 30 years of neglect, because in Saddam's time, we could do nothing. We couldn't even visit the graves to pay our respects to the dead," Levy explains. Under Saddam, Baghdad's Jews were not actively persecuted. Indeed, it was said that the former dictator had a soft spot for the Jews because his destitute mother was taken in by a Jewish family in Tikrit in 1937 when she was pregnant with the future dictator. But the Jews nonetheless lived in constant fear that Saddam's regime would repeat the Ba'athist witch hunts of the 1960s, which culminated in the public hanging of nine Jews in 1969. At the time, Jews were arbitrarily arrested on trumped-up charges, deprived of their business licenses and passports; telephone lines to Jewish households were cut permanently. / For years, Levy, who is convinced that Saddam's secret police had him tailed for much of the 1980s and 1990s, was too frightened to visit his own mother's grave. Now he faithfully offers her a prayer. Pointing out the marble tablets affixed to each grave on which peoples' names and dates are engraved, he tells me that this is the only Hebrew writing publicly displayed in all of Baghdad. Some tablets are just fragments, not much bigger than postage stamps. Some bear only half a name, or just a date, and some tablets have eroded away completely. All in all, it's a meager testament to a once vibrant community that played so vital a role in building Iraq." Source [January 2010]

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