Frank Iny School at Baghdad, Iraq

Frank Iny School in Baghdad (בגדד, بغدد), Iraq (עיראק, العراق).


The Frank Iny School was founded in Baghdad Iraq in 1941. Frank Iny, after whom the school was named, constructed this school which went on to serve hundreds of Jewish children [1]. Former students of the Frank Iny School recall how the school's policies changed over time due to the shifts in the Iraqi government. Since most of Iraq's Jews fled the country in 1951 and the Iraqi monarchy fell in 1958, the few remaining Jews in the country felt pressure to safeguard their heritage and way of life. As such, the Frank Iny School, which had once hosted prominent and well-attended awards ceremonies and plays, became more discreet in order to avoid catching unwanted attention [2]. Although many Jewish schools had once operated in Iraq, often with the support of the local Jewish community, Iraqi government, or international Jewish organizations in Paris and London, these schools began to close in the 1940s. The Frank Iny School was thus the last Jewish school in Baghdad, but eventually closed in 1973 as the majority of the remaining Jews fled the country [3].

Baghdad was home to the largest Jewish community in Iraq possibly from as early as the city's founding in the eighth century. By 1908, the Jews of Baghdad numbered around 53,000, about a third of Baghdad's total population, and lived in many quarters--including al-Tawrat, Tahat it-Takyah, Abu Saifan, and Suq Hannun. Although Jews were involved in local politics, new tensions began to rise between Jews and Muslims--leading to an anti-Jewish riot on October 15, 1908--and World War I forced many Jews to flee the city. In 1948, the Jewish community in Baghdad numbered around 77,000; however, the Jewish community began to fear life in Baghdad after the Farhūd, a pogrom which occured on June 1, 1941, left 130 Jews killed and millions lost in property damage. The Farhūd inspired the growth of Zionism and Communism among a minority of Jews in Baghdad who felt increasingly disconnected from the Iraqi state. Bombings throughout the 1950s further estranged the Jewish community, and by 1952 after mass immigration to Israel, Europe, the United States and Canada, only about 6,000 Jews remained in Iraq. The Jewish community endured further violence throughout Saddam Husayn's regime, and by 2003 the last synagogue in Baghdad had closed [4].

Baghdad, Iraq

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