Lev Hakak, Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature at UCLA, edits Hador, the longest continuously published journal of Hebrew letters and culture in the United States. Only now have we become aware that he wrote this review of Memories of Eden in the 2009 annual volume. Many thanks, Professor!
This is the story of Baghdad in the first half of the 20th century. The author is born in 1912 and through her story the reader learns about the history, customs, and the way of life of the Babylonian Jewish community in general.
The book is based on letters, notes,memories and photographs sent to the author’s daughter Mira during a period of 20 years.
During the author’s childhood Babylon was under the Ottoman rule when harmonious relations prevailed among the different ethnic minorities.
In due course when Iraq was reborn under the British rule, the family of the author moved to a new house on the banks of the Tigris river.
The period of the 30s was different, the supporters of the Nazis proliferated, and in 1941 there was a pogrom , called “Farhud”, of the Jewish residents of Baghdad.
In the last part of the book Tony Rocca, the husband of Mira, writes the story of the Farhud, when the camped British forces have not lift a finger to stop the riots.
(Thanks to Mira’s cousin, Avner Muallem, for the translation)