IraqThe Mizrahi Project

Joe's Story - We Are Jews Who Escaped Iraq

IraqThe Mizrahi Project
Joe's Story - We Are Jews Who Escaped Iraq

Watch Joe's Story

In 1930, Joseph Samuels was born in the old city of Baghdad, Iraq. Joseph had seven siblings, six brothers and one sister. He grew up with a family that could trace their ancestry back to 586 B.C.E during the Babylonian destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem.

In 1941, Joseph was only eleven when he witnessed the trauma of Muslim mobs and government officials murder, rape and burn Jewish homes and businesses.

Joseph was enthusiastic about higher education. In 1948, he was accepted to three U.S. universities. Unfortunately, he was denied an exit visa from Iraq because he was Jewish, so higher education was no longer an option.

In 1950, Joseph arrived in Israel as a refugee. Where he eventually joined the Israeli Navy and served for three years.

After serving in the Israeli Navy, Joseph moved to Canada to pursue higher education. He got into real estate and later married Rebecca. Frank and Rebecca had three children, and eventually moved their family to Santa Monica, California, in 1978.

Having been subjected to conflict from such a young age, as well as the hardship of being denied the pursuit of higher education, and the difficulties he faced being a refugee, Joseph still illuminates his gratefulness to God for his freedom and good life today.

Joseph and Rebecca still reside in Santa Monica, California.