New “How I Got Here” Series: #1 Being a Jew in Baghdad wasn’t safe anymore

ESPMI Network

346 Zigi Ben-Haim in the Bay Area, 1973

I was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1945. When I was four, it started to get dangerous for my parents to continue to live there. The authorities were after my father. This forced us to leave the country in a hurry. To make sure our house help wouldn’t suspect our plans, we made the breakfast table look as if we were ready to eat in the morning. But by time the sun rose, we were gone.

We escaped our house through a hole we dug under the exterior walls the night before. Leaving through the main door would have aroused too much suspicion. A car was waiting to take us away when we crawled out. We left behind our property, all our possessions and wealth. The smuggler was well-paid. He added us to a group of Shia pilgrims who were on their way…

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