Friday, February 9, 2018

World War I in the Middle East Included Major Campaigns in "Mesopotamia" --
Researching the Battles of Kut Reveals Jewish Community

During World War I, the British Army and their Indian allies suffered a devastating defeat in Kut, south of Baghdad.  The Ottoman army laid siege to the British force from December 7, 1915 to April 29, 1916. Thousands of soldiers died in combat and from disease. and after the British surrender, more soldiers died in captivity as they were marched to Aleppo in Syria.  The British recaptured Kut in February 1917. 

"Jewish and Mohammedan refugees of Baghdad are furnished with employment (sewing) at the Base ordnance
Depot by the Military Authorities." (IWM, Q24539,1917)
That is the historical background to a series of photos of Jews in Amarah found in the British Imperial War Museum. "Amara" in the IWM photographs is "Kut al Amara" or just "Kut" of World War I battle reports.

"Jewish refugees on the foreshore at Amarah, 1917." (IWM, Q56907) 

"Jewish and Christian refugees disembarking from steamers and returning to their homes at Basra, 1917."  (IWM Q2230) 

"Jewish women on New Street, Baghdad" (IWM, Q24465)

"Jewish woman and child of poor class" (IWM, Q24472)

Veiled girl on left is a betrothed Jewess, then mother, younger daughter and child (IWM, Q24476)
Click here to see previous postings on the Jews of Baghdad, Iraq.


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