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Forgotten Refugees, The (DVD)

A film about the mass exodus of Jews from Arab countries and Iran in the 20th century

Authors: Harif, Jimena

Product code: D117

Explores the history and destruction of Middle Eastern Jewish communities; some over 2500 years old. Using extensive testimony of refugees it recounts the stories of joy and suffering that nearly one million individuals have carried with them for so long.

Segments on the contributions of Middle Eastern Jews to politics, business and music testify to the enormously rich cultures which fleeing Jews left behind. 

The film weaves personal stories with dramatic archival footage of rescue missions, historic images of exodus and resettlement, and analyses of contemporary scholars to tell the story of how and why the Arab world’s Jewish population declined from one million in 1945 to only several thousand today.

“The Forgotten Refugees is an essential corrective to the false impression that only the Arabs of Palestine suffered as a consequence of Israel’s War of Independence. The reality is that entire Jewish communities, in some instances predating not only Islam but Christianity, were destroyed with innocent Jews scattered across the world. This dramatic story is vividly recalled in rare documentary footage and in the personal accounts of those who endured this trauma, but succeeded in rebuilding their lives in Israel and elsewhere.”
Professor S Ilan Troen, Stoll Family Chair in Israel Studies, Brandeis University

About the Authors


HARIF is a UK association representing Jews from North Africa and the Middle East, and dedicated to promoting their history, culture and heritage.


JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa is an organization headquartered in San Francisco, California that is dedicated to the preservation of Mizrahi and Sephardi culture and history, and seeks recognition for the nearly one million Jews indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa who were displaced from their country of origin in the 20th century.

JIMENA endeavors to address the existing gaps in the historical narrative of the Middle East and North Africa by sharing the Mizrahi and Sephardi story of oppression, plight and displacement.