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lives in focus

Lives in Focus

Our Lives in Focus series showcases highlights from individual interviews

Exploring The Past

Our Exploring the Past series brings together multiple voices to take a deeper look into events and issues that have touched the lives of our interviewees.

The Last Jews of Iraq

This film tells the story of the Jews of Iraq from 1967 to the mid-1970s. Featuring Sephardi Voices UK interviewees.  

Produced in conjunction with for the annual 30 November Commemoration of Jews from Arab Lands at JW3. This film contains material that some may find distressing. 

The Suez Crisis

In the autumn of 1956, Britain and France colluded with Israel in a  failed attempt to reverse, by military force, Egyptian President Gamal  Abdul Nasser’s nationalisation of the Suez Canal. British and French nationals in Egypt, including many Jews, were placed under house arrest for the duration of the campaign. Within a few weeks they received expulsion orders, given between 24 hours and a fortnight to leave the country. 

Commissioned by

Coexistence and Cosmopolitanism

In this film, eight of our interviewees recall living in multi-cultural, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic urban environments in the Middle East and North Africa. Whilst some remember a childhood or peaceful coexistence, for others this was an unthinkable dream.

Seeking Refuge

To honour World Refugee Day we have created a short film, ‘Seeking Refuge’. Many of our interviewees left their home countries as refugees. They describe leaving their homes, their friends and their families behind, and landing in a new country where they were greeted by unfamiliar sounds, smells and sights. Children and adults alike struggled to adapt in countries where they could not speak the language, trying to fit in at school or build a new career from scratch.

Women Who Inspire

We have interviewed many extraordinary and inspiring women. In this film we have featured just five of them.

The Alliance Israélite Universelle

This film celebrates 120 years of the Alliance Israélite Universelle schools, and brings together memories of old pupils from Morocco, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq.

Commissioned by 

Seven Stories

Our 'Seven Stories' film includes extracts from seven interviewees and gives you a flavour of our interview content.

Pesach: Then and Now

Discover Passover through the eyes of our interviewees. In this film learn explore how some of our interviewees and their families prepared and celebrated Pesach in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Iran.

Words of Wisdom

At the end of every interview we ask our interviewees a question: If they could send a message to the future, what would it be?

This video features five answers.

Exploring Identity

Towards the end of our interviews we ask our interviewees a difficult question: 'How would you describe your identity?' 

It's deeply personal, and often hard to answer. 

In this video we are honoured to share some of our interviewee's responses.

Remembering the Farhud

In the spring of 1941, the Iraqi Prime Minister, Rashid Ali, declared independence from the British Empire and announced his allegiance to Hitler. After a month and a half of fighting, British forces regained control and the Iraqi government surrendered, fleeing the country. However, the British Army did not immediately reclaim Baghdad.

For 48 hours, British forces remained on the outskirts of the city, encamped by the Al Khurr Bridge, leaving Baghdad without a government. During those 48 hours, on June 1st 1941 - the first night of the Jewish festival of Shavuot - a pogrom broke out in the city. This pogrom is known as the Farhud.

Official figures state that 2,500 homes and businesses were looted, 600 people were injured and 179 people were killed. The true figures are likely to be far higher.

This video brings together testimonies from the Sephardi Voices UK  archive, together with testimonies from Sephardi Voices International  and private family archives.

exploring the past

Full interviews can be accessed and viewed in person at:

If you are a researcher who would like to digitally access our full archive please get in touch.

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