The Photo

Out of the few family photos that have survived there’s one that I love in particular. Its of my maternal grandmother and some of her children sitting on a swing in their garden in Baghdad. My mother, aunt Flora and uncle Eli are in the photo, perhaps my uncle Nessim was behind the camera, and maybe little aunt Louise was playing elsewhere.

We think this photo was taken in 1947 before the majority of Jews left Iraq, emblematic of happier times. I like to remember them this way. They look so serene and carefree in their little oasis of calm away from the political and social turmoil outside their garden gate. By then they had moved from their house in the cramped old Jewish Quarter to a new villa in the Karrada district of Baghdad, near to the Tigris river. My aunt Flora, who had been stranded in Occupied France for four, long, unknowable years during the war whilst on a school trip, was safely home and the family was back together again. But not for long.

Hay family, Baghdad c 1947

This photo also appears in The Wolf of Baghdad motion comic and is the only non-drawn image in the book. (Short video below, press play to view.)



Upcoming performances of The Wolf of Baghdad motion comic with music:

  • Sunday 17th February at the Ahbab Festival in Cambridge. Booking details here
  • Monday 18th February at Brunei Gallery, SOAS, in London. SOLD OUT

Following both performances there will be a panel discussion from leading academic experts on the subjects of Iraq, its music and the legacy of its Jewish communities. They will be chaired by Dr Merav Rosenfeld-Hadad of the Woolf Institute at Cambridge University. (See previous post for more details.)


Baghdad villa, illustration ©The Surreal McCoy 2019


One thought on “The Photo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s