Watch Widad's Story
Widad Shiri was born in Iraq, in 1940. When she was growing up the Hizb Al Ba’ath regime was in power. The regime held great animosity toward Jews and would find excuses to attack, jail, and even execute Jewish citizens. Widad recalls eleven men being rounded up and hanged, without trial and without being given any reason for their execution.
After Widad got married, she and her husband opened a pharmacy — one day, they were informed that their business would be one of seven Jewish owned businesses to be shut down.
In 1965, Widad and her family drove from Baghdad to Basra, where they paid someone to smuggle them out of Iraq. Widad and her family traveled for several hours, by boat, finally making it to Iran. They took a plane to Tehran where they stayed until receiving permission to immigrate to Canada.
Having grown up surrounded by violence and uncertainty, Widad is uplifted by Israel’s existence. As long as there is Israel, Widad takes comfort in knowing that Jews will have a place to go and be protected.