Monday, February 3, 2014

A Stamp in a book of an Iraqi Jew in CAMP ADEN, A Refugee Camp for Yemenite Jews enroute to Israel, in 1947

I found in a copy of שבחי ר חיים וויטאל a fascinating stamp of Zacharia Yahoo Hayeem Hassan, General Merchant Street No. 4, Camp Aden

The stamp appears to be of an Iraqi Jewish Merchant who traveled across the British Empire to sell his wares and found himself in Camp Aden.

During the Second World War, Jews from Yemen flocked in large numbers into the Colony of Aden while en route to Palestine, where they were placed in refugee camps, primarily for their own safety. However conditions in the camps were difficult and in 1942 there was an outbreak of Typhus. The need for the camps was apparent when in December 1947, following the UN declaration for the creation of a Jewish state, there were serious riots in Aden Town, where at least 70 Jews were killed and much of the Jewish Quarter was burnt and looted. Until this point nearly all the refugees had been from Yemen and the Aden Protectorate, but now after the growing violence against Jews in the Town itself, most tried to leave. This was shown by the population figures which from a high of roughly 4,500 in 1947 less than 500 were left in 1963. "The 1947 incident found Government policies at odds with the whole Arab community, including those who manned the police forces".(1)

In 1948, due to the Arab-Israeli War immigration into Israel was very difficult, as the Red Sea and Suez Canal were closed by the Egyptian government. By 1949 and after the declaration of a cease fire, 12,000 Jews from Yemen, Aden and the Protectorate were gathered in camps, from where they were airlifted on average 300 a day to Israel, in Operation Magic Carpet.

(1) R. J. Gavin. Aden Under British Rule. p.323. & Wikipedia


  1. Can you comment re the Yahoo part of his name? What does it mean? Is that name known among Mizrachim? It is a personal name?

    No connection with I assume. ;-)

    1. I have seen אליהו spelled by Iraqi Jews as EliYahoo. I would suspect it is a shorter version of Eliyahoo, perhaps to refrain from writing out G-ds Name.

      Iraqi Jews often used their ancestors' names as second and third names, so that Yahoo would be his father's name, Hayeem his grandfather etc

  2. Why the stretch? Couldn't his name have been "זכריהו"? It's a common feineh Yiddishe Iraqisheh numen.

    1. Then it'd be spelled Zechariahoo or Zecharyahoo, but definitely not Zechariayahoo or, technically, Zecharia Yahoo, as it is spelled here. Shoved together it's זכריהיהו.