IraqThe Mizrahi Project

Daniel's Story - “No Way Back: The Journey of a Jew From Baghdad”

IraqThe Mizrahi Project
Daniel's Story - “No Way Back: The Journey of a Jew From Baghdad”

Watch Daniel's Story

J. Daniel Khazzoom was born in 1933, in Baghdad, Iraq. When Daniel was only eight years old, the Farhud of Baghdad took place. On the 1st and 2nd of June, in 1941 Iraqi Muslims — encouraged by Nazi propaganda — led a pogrom against Jews living in the capital city. Hundreds of Jews were murdered, thousands injured, and countless homes and businesses were burned. Upon witnessing the horror taking place, Daniel and his family hid in their home for several days — fearing for their lives.

In 1951, when he was 18, Daniel left his family, fleeing Iraq for the safety of Israel. Once there he would join the Israel Defense Force, and enrolled at Tel Aviv University to study economics. For several years, Daniel had no communication with his family who remained in Iraq, for fear of putting them in danger. In later years, Daniel’s family would make the decision to join him in Israel. 

In 1957, Daniel graduated college and was accepted to graduate school at Harvard University. The following year, Daniel left for the United States.

In 2000, after achieving a long and successful career in academia, Daniel retired from University of California’s Berkeley campus department of economics, where he served as a Professor. 

Daniel is an author, writing a memoir titled “No Way Back: The Journey of a Jew from Baghdad”, published in 2010. He still resides in California, where he serves as a former Board Member and speaker for JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to The Middle East and North Africa).