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08 March 2011

The House of Battat of Baghdad, Iraq

To study the House of Battat, is to study the history of Babylonian Jews. They both share a long, rich history. In his work titled "A Genealogy of the House of Battat (FHL Film #1031332 item 1), Ezra M. Battat, documents this incredible family. The Battat family first took a surname in 1750 when Reuben Ezekial Battat and his sons began to use the name. As Mr Battat writes "Among the possessions of Reuben Battat was a farm in whose midst was a pond in which he raised ducks and geese- "bat" in Arabic"
Even though the members of the family are based in Iraq, they are spread over many countries including Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, Burma and the United States. Amongst the notables members of the family are:
  • Reuben Ezekiel Battat (1750-1855). Born and died in Baghdad, he was a prosperous landowner and merchant. His son;
  • Abdallah Reuben Ezekiel Battat (1770-1820). Born in Baghdad, he was hanged by the Ottomans in about 1820. A banker, he was hanged for "economic sabotage against the Sultan". His grandson;
  • Mozes Ezra Reuben Bassat (1840-1919). Born in Baghdad and died in Basra. He was an importer of pearls, amber and corals. He was head of the Great Synagogue of Baghdad which he helped build.

This book is a great source for anyone wanting to know more about their own family from this time. The history of this family is truly inspirational. The records of this family have been added to The Knowles Collection- Jews of Africa and the Orient database.

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