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Highest Jewish population: c.3,000

The Jewish community of Myanmar (then Burma) was first established towards the end of the 1800s as Jews from Iraq and India settled in the British colony. They established businesses, integrated fully into the local community and lived peacefully in the country. This Jewish population is largely seen as a branch of the Baghdadi Jewish community. At its peak, the Jewish population in the country reached nearly 3,000 people.

In 1942 the Japanese army invaded. Fearful of being branded British spies or collaborators, many members of the Jewish community fled to India.

In 1948 Burma gained independence from Britain and quickly established close ties with Israel. In 1962 a military coup seized control of the county and all businesses were nationalised in 1964. This prompted the vast majority of Jews living in the country to leave. 

In 1989 Burma changed its name to Myanmar. There is a small but active community of about 20 permanent Jewish residents in Myanmar, and the synagogue in Yangon regularly holds services for Jewish tourists and travellers.

Country Interviewees


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