Proofread by: Rebecca Lash
Transcribed by: Temi
Interview date: 5/1/2017
Interviewer: Lisette Shashoua
Location: Montreal, Canada
Total time: 1:57:55
Amy Hadid: Born in Baghdad, Iraq, January 21st 1953. Arrived in Iran 1970. Lived in London, England 1971-1974. Arrived in Montreal 1974
Lisette Shashoua (00:00:15):
Okay. Hello, Amy. Thank you for participating in, uh, Sephardi Voices and I'd like you to give me your full name, please.
Amy Hadid (00:00:25):
Amy Hadid, Zubaida Hadid. My maiden name is Zubaida. [LS: When were you born?] I was born, uh, 21st of January, 1953 in Baghdad, Iraq.
Lisette Shashoua (00:00:42):
Okay. Um, can you tell us something about your family's background?
Amy Hadid (00:00:50):
Hmm, well, we consist of my parents. They were alive then and, uh, my siblings, uh, we are, uh, two brothers and two sisters and, uh, the two sisters lived in Montreal and the two brothers in London. England. Can you give us their names? Well, uh, Sammy the eldest and then Samiya follows and then Sabah and then me, Amy.
Lisette Shashoua (00:01:22):
And, uh, how about, do you remember anything about your grandparents? [background communication] Can you tell us anything about your grandparents?
Amy Hadid (00:01:34):
The only grandparents when I was born, that I can recall was my maternal grandmother only. She's the only one that was around because I was born after tasqit. So I had other grandparents, but they are already in Israel. So the only grandmother I had maternal grandmother was a in Iraq. [LS: And your paternal] I had a paternal grandfather, but he was in Israel.
Lisette Shashoua (00:02:13):
So again, the tasqit is when the Jews [overlap]
Amy Hadid (00:02:17):
left. yes. Yeah. I'm not aware. I'm not, it wasn't in my year. So nobody really spoke about it much when I was born. Nobody talks about anything at the time. I think it was to protect us or, um, or just, they thought we were children. We're not supposed to know in those days. It's not like today children has to know everything. So, uh, we weren't, um, I wasn't really aware when I was very young. I wasn't aware of tasqit at all.
Lisette Shashoua (00:02:49):
Also maybe they didn't want us to be afraid.
Amy Hadid (00:02:52):
Exactly, exactly. The only thing I remember that we were very few and we all lived in one house and I was told because a lot of people left a lot of members of the family left. So they were feeling, you know, afraid they were feeling lonely. So actually my grandmother and my uncle with his family, his wife and my cousins, we all lived in the same house for a good year. [LS: And you remember] I remember it very well. [LS: How old were you?] I was maybe three. [LS: Tell me what you remember your earliest memories?] My earliest memories. Yeah, because it was nice that I had to live with my cousins in the same house. So we would play together. We would be mischievous together and the homes, it was an old home. So it had the courtyard in the, in the middle of the house. It's an open air and like all the balconies were on top and they're all, you could see them from the courtyard.
Amy Hadid (00:03:59):
And, um, yeah, we had, we had fun because we were all together sometimes, you know, even with go to the washroom together. Cause we were very little like, you know, my cousin, my brother was three years older than me. My other cousins were maybe a year older. One is younger a year. So we were, um, my grandmother was very, very naive, very sweet. You know, she would always tell us to be careful not to run, not to stay up late, to go to the movie early so that you can come early [laughs] and she would stand outside the house, waiting for everybody to show up. Cause she's so worried. [LS: How old were you by then still?] I mean, you know, that stretches from three years old. I was in this old house maybe for a year when we lived with my uncle and my cousin. But uh, afterwards we moved, we moved to a, um, you know, to the masbah, what they used to call.
Amy Hadid (00:05:07):
It's a, quite a nice area. It's quite affluent. And um, and we lived actually, uh, two houses away from my uncle's house. My father built a house on the land and my uncle did the same. [LS: His brother?] No, my mother's brother, actually all his brothers moved to, went with the tasqit to Israel. There are four boys. So my father was the only one who stayed in, uh, Iraq. And uh, some of my mother's sisters left and my mother had only one brother, that's the uncle. And he worked with my father, they worked together, they were contractors. So they would take a, um, a project like to asphalt the roads from, uh, Baghdad to, uh, I don't know, to the next village that was their um, the projects, it was big projects and they used to call it tender. So every time I remember my father would bring these big files, blueprints, and it was called tender and he would show it to my mother and my mother not always was happy to see these tenders because she was hoping she would leave Iraq soon.
Amy Hadid (00:06:25):
Cause she knew things are some days are good, some days aren't. But um, one of the projects actually that my father was involved in it, uh, to build a madinat al-thawra, the revolution city, uh, because a lot of, um, the Arabs, they were living in tents. So when Abd al-Karim Qasim came, he said he want them. He wants to build something for those people who lived in the tent. So my father was in charge of that project to build homes for these, we can call them homeless or gypsies. I don't know what do we call them? So nomads. So, um, so he actually was on TV showing with, uh, Abd al-Karim Qasim cutting the ribbon to that revolution city it's called. And um, so he was really very much into business, into, um, doing good things to the country. He was building a lot of things. They were actually five partners, two Christian engineers, one Muslim man that he didn't even know how to read or write.
Amy Hadid (00:07:44):
And he used to use his thumb because he was too, he was one of the investors. And then my father and my uncle. [LS: And when you say investors, they all invested money?] They all invested money. And they also like they needed the engineer. They need to, I think the Muslim guy wasn't really doing much. It was just investor. My uncle would be on the site when they're building. And my father was the accountant. He does the business part, you know, the, uh, the figures and um, and it was going well. But my mother knew that wasn't the place we should stay. You know, she knew one day is good. One day, is not good. So eventually things will go bad. And every time my father used to bring these blueprints, that's called tender. My mother would be in tears. She really did not want him to take any more projects and he keep on telling her, but we're here now.
Amy Hadid (00:08:43):
Things are good. We're making money. And I think also the problem was my uncle, my mother's brother didn't speak English and he was not comfortable leaving the country. And every time my father would speak to him about maybe we'll leave. Like the two of them, you always used to say, no, we're okay here. Why do you need to go? And you used to listen to him. And my mother used to be very upset. She was really upset at my uncle that he's always convincing my father to keep staying in, uh, Iraq. And as we know, the consequences weren't great, my mother was right.
Amy Hadid (00:09:30):
[LS: Do you remember madinat al-thawra? The city of the revolution that Abd al-Karim Qasim did that have been 1960?] Yeah. Maximum. [LS: Okay. How many homes were there? a thousand?] At least. [LS: And it's all your dad?] Yeah. He's the one who had the tender to build that? Yes. How about the streets in Baghdad? That they, they, uh, not in Baghdad itself, but when you go outside, say when you're going to the heli [ph], like outside Iraq, Baghdad, he used to be taking these, um, projects and yes. [overlap] Yes. And that's, I'm giving an example. Maybe Nasriye [ph], I don't know, like all these outside suburbs, he used to make the roads to connect because they used to be gravel at the time they weren't proper roads.
Amy Hadid (00:10:25):
So, um, he really contributed a lot to the country and he was a well respected man by everybody, by the Muslims, by the Christians, by the Jews. And you know, I mean, you even helped a lot of Jews in the sense, because he was well to do so he was helping people [LS: who didn't have enough money] Yeah. [LS: Helping them financially or work?] Yes. Helping them financially issuing, issuing checks to the, every one of them. And the only time we knew about it, even my mother didn't know that when he died, all these people are coming. Never seen them in our life Jews, of course. And they're like kissing my mother's feet and they're crying. They're crying because he died. And my mother said, what these people? They said, he gave us salaries. And this is the real mitzvah. This is how you do things. You do things. But you never say it. Even his own wife, because my parents were very close. They were like lovebirds. He never mentioned anything to my mother that he actually doing this. And also he used to help with the dowries of all these women that have to get married because in Iraq, you know, every Jewish girl have to have a dowry, otherwise she can't get married. So he would make sure he contribute himself. And he asked other people, affluent Jews in Iraq to participate, to contribute to this dowry so that this girl can get married.
Amy Hadid (00:12:09):
It's amazing. It's amazing. I mean, and I remember that only because I saw people coming after he died and all of these stories started to come up.
Lisette Shashoua (00:12:27):
Okay. Tell me about your parents. How did they meet? How did they get married?
Amy Hadid (00:12:32):
Honestly, I don't know much. The only thing I know my father, they are four boys, three of them married three of sisters, my mother and her two sisters. So three boys married three sisters. That's the only thing I know. And they all left to Israel, those sisters and the uncles. They're all left to Israel. So I honestly don't know much.
Lisette Shashoua (00:13:01):
And can you give us the names of your mom and dad?
Amy Hadid (00:13:05):
Yeah. My mother's name was Salema Nissan. That's her maiden name? And my father's name was Daoud. David. They call Daoud Zubaida
Lisette Shashoua (00:13:19):
Okay. And, uh, your mom, where was she born?
Amy Hadid (00:13:24):
They were both born in Baghdad. Iraq. Yeah.
Lisette Shashoua (00:13:28):
And your yeah. And your mother's name is Nissan. Uh, do you know how old she was when she got married? Your mom,
Amy Hadid (00:13:37):
honestly, no. It could be in her early twenties. That's all I can say.
Lisette Shashoua (00:13:45):
And she was at home. She didn't, did she work. Did she do anything?
Amy Hadid (00:13:49):
No. It wasn't a, the thing for women to work, even the educate, like the people who went to university, they didn't work because they felt it wasn't safe. You know? So most of the women in Iraq really, I would say everyone never worked and again, the husbands were the providers [background noise]
Lisette Shashoua (00:14:24):
okay. Can you tell us about, can you tell us about when you were growing up with it with your brothers and sisters, what was, what did you do with them? [background noise]
Lisette Shashoua (00:14:46):
So please tell me about growing up with your brothers and sisters. Can you tell us how it was, how close you were to each other playing each other? Y.
Amy Hadid (00:14:56):
Yeah, well, my sister is, um, you know, a bit older than me, so, um, it's like, I didn't play with her. She was quite, she was studying, she was going to university. She was in medicine and, um, my brother, he was three years older than me. So he's the one that I mostly, um, you know, played with and my cousins who now they are next door almost. So we always used to get together on a Saturday or on, in the holidays. And, uh, we would play with them. And then, um, every Saturday night Motza'ei Shabbat, but the whole family come to my house, to my parents' house because I had there already two aunts and an uncle and another aunt who wasn't marreid who was stayign with my uncle and my grandmother was staying with my uncle.
Amy Hadid (00:16:02):
So everyone would come to um after Shabbat finishes, they come and my mother always have a big table with all the goodies. And sometimes even some close friends of my mother, they come also. So this was a ritual every Saturday night after Shabbat. Not that we observed Shabbat, my father worked with, uh, it's a Muslim country. So all his workers were Muslims. So his day off was Friday. So on Saturday he would, you know, go to work and then come home. But we're very traditional. So we did everything. [LS: Did your mom do the cooking or did you have somebody?] No, we always had somebody that actually they stay years, the same person. So at the beginning, whenever they're new my mother would train them how to cook, what to do. And then they take over because my mother had a very busy social life.
Amy Hadid (00:17:06):
She had no time to cook. She was always out during the day with other ladies and at night, um, my parents, they always were out, either with friends that they're playing cards or, uh, even on Friday when my father was off, we used to be in school because it's a Jewish school. So our day off was Saturday. So Friday would be still at school, but my father was off. So my parents, they would go to, um, little picnics. They always went together. My mother drove at the time. She knew how to drive. So my father had a driver at all time during the week. But on Friday the driver was a Muslim. So he takes off and then my mother would chauffeur my father and herself. So they would go places together [LS: where] picnics [LS: where, you know?] I don't remember to be honest with you, but like not too far places they would spend the day together.
Amy Hadid (00:18:13):
Sometimes they would just go to hotel Baghdad and just sit there and have an ice cream and a tutti fruitti. I remember. I used to go with them after Friday night dinner. We used to make Shabbat at home and everything. We do the kiddush, we do the hamozti we do everything. And then afterwards, after we finish eating, my parents take off and they go through Hotel Baghdad. [LS: alone?] Yeah, the two of them, sometimes I used to join or sometimes no, I stay home. [LS: so real lovebirds] I am telling you, yeah, they had a swing in the balcony and they would always sit together and sip their tea in that swing like lovebirds. Yeah. It's really, um, it was a special relationship. They had very respectful, very loving. Yeah. I grew up in a very loving home and um, yeah, I don't know. It's um, I was always with my brother.
Amy Hadid (00:19:18):
Yes, I was. Cause you know, I mean we're close in age and um, I don't remember going out because I suppose I was very young still, but I know he used to go out with his friends cause he was older when we were like in our teen years, but I don't remember going much. We used to have like parties in homes mostly, and that I would attend or people would come to me. But, uh, besides that I was still young, not in that, um, stage [LS: parties boys and girls?] Yes. And actually the most parties I remember was my sister's parties because all her friends from school, from university, they used to come to our house and um, of course the dinners are always there. One of them Shaoul Bilbul. He still remember it was a classmate of my sister and he said, I never forget. We were always at your house and your mother would put out the table. And um, so I remember her parties and I remember all our friends that they are now all over in London and in Montreal, in Israel, in New York. I remember her friends and especially in university, she had non Jewish friends of course. And then too, I remember them and um, I see them sometime, [background communication]
Lisette Shashoua (00:20:54):
Okay. And, okay, so you were telling me about all the friends of your sister, you see them all over and tell me now about the friends that she had at university you were talking about.
Amy Hadid (00:21:09):
She had some Muslims, some Christians, um, I mean, uh, her husband right now that he's her husband. He was, uh, her classmate in medical school and um, yeah, but all the others weren't Jews. But I remember when she was in high school, in the Jewish system, she had all her friends for parties. So, um, I don't remember that too much about university friends. They used to come, but because they used to study together also. So [LS: the non Jews?] The non-jews. Yeah. [LS: Muslims, Christians?], Christians. Yeah. Yeah.
Amy Hadid (00:21:56):
Some of them actually one Christian girl. I remember vaguely. She was, uh, imprisoned because she was, um, what do you call it? Socialist in a, I don't know which, which time of which era, I don't remember. Bas I remember she was in prison and my sister, she would bring us little purses that, beaded, that this girl she used to make in prison, I suppose, you know, like they used to be riots or something and maybe she was involved at one point, but it wasn't like serious, you know, she would come out after a few months from prison, you know, because, um, I don't remember. It must have been during abd Al-Qasim I don't know. Cause that's when she went to university.
Lisette Shashoua (00:22:48):
And, uh, your sister graduated from university, what year? [AH: Oh my God] Before the war. 67 war.
Amy Hadid (00:22:55):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Uh, well, uh, she graduated maybe in 65, I would say. Yeah, I think that's the year 64, 65. She got married.
Lisette Shashoua (00:23:08):
So they, they liked each other from university.
Amy Hadid (00:23:11):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Also, yeah. [LS: From school too?] From that I think so. I think so I'm really very vague about that. I don't remember, but I think so.
Lisette Shashoua (00:23:25):
Okay. Uh, do you have any, what's your earliest memories about your childhood? Anything specific?
Amy Hadid (00:23:34):
No, only thing I had a very happy childhood, really happy childhood. I was loved. I was like I said, we shared the house with my uncle, my cousins and my grandmother. So we were one happy, big family and I love people. So for me, that's all I needed. [LS: Do you, did you have any non Jewish friends yourself?] No, because I went to the Jewish system, but I have to give you some memories from the old days. Yes. Very, very, really cute memories. One of them how they used to bring the milk, they used to bring it on the donkey, the bottles on the donkey. And I had an aunt, my mother's sister lived like close by, so I would ride the donkey and I go with the guy that is pulling the donkey and we got to my aunt's house and deliver her milk. And then he brings me back home. So these were very precious memories and I loved it as a child, as a two, three year old to sit on a donkey and have a ride and deliver milk. It was really, um, very special. These memories Unique. Exactly. Exactly. [LS: Anything else?] Yes. We had a, well, they're not as cute, but also like they used to every year, somebody used to come and refresh all the cotton in our duvet because a, so the guy used to come over. [background communication]
Amy Hadid (00:25:21):
[LS: The day will come. When we get compensation] Really? You have high hopes. [LS: As I said, my children, my grandchildren. Moi je n'ai pas d'enfants, c'est pour ca que je blague (inaudible) Okay. Sorry. You were saying] yep. So I was saying, um, I don't know what they used to be called in English. The guy that used to come and um, yes [background communication]
Amy Hadid (00:25:51):
[LS: Yes. You were saying again, what, what you said, what you remember, you were saying you have beautiful memories] Yeah. Yeah. Well, I was saying about the, um, how they used to fluff the, um, the duvet covers and that was nice memories, you know, as a child, like, it was all interesting. Somebody is coming to the house and he's fluffing all the duvets [laughs] [LS: He used to jump on them?] Uh, yes, yes, yes. And of course there was the other memories when somebody used to come and clean the sewers. And that I remember because I was a child and I was fascinated. He used to go in all naked the guy [laughs] naked [overlap] nothing I'm telling you [laughs]. Yes. Yes. Because it was an old home. And I don't know if they had sewers in those days. No, no. I think the sewers only came in 19, 1960. I think.
Amy Hadid (00:27:04):
I mean that was a very old home. [LS: Why did they go naked?] Well, they tried to poke to, you know, to clean it and if it doesn't work, they have to go in, [LS: but why naked?] well, they don't want to dirty their clothes [laughs]
Amy Hadid (00:27:24):
[LS: And how do they wash when they come out?] That I don't remember. [laughs] So, I mean, it's all really amazing memories, you know?
Amy Hadid (00:27:40):
At least 85. [LS: 86] Really?
Amy Hadid (00:27:46):
[LS: Inshallah. Her, her parents all lived (inaudible) Oh, okay. Now, uh, continue. Do you have other memories? Did you use to make a dry, uh, uh, dried tomatoes? Did you make a date syrup? Did you make manna (ph)?] Yeah, we used to make date syrup yes. I remember during Passover. I mean, this is amazing memories because the whole house, first of all, has to be cleaned, you know? So they used, I don't know if it was just for Passover or because really it's the spring. And we used to have Persian rugs all over the house, including on the couches. So, it's so hot every year it has to be removed every single one of them, the ones on the couches, the ones on the floor, the one on the staircase, no matter where there is a Persian rug has to be cleaned and put away. So that's the time they do it during Paso, before Passover.
Amy Hadid (00:28:48):
So they would do that part. And then they literally would hose the house. Cause everything was tiles, it was ceramic tile. So you can actually hose it. So they used to hose the walls, move the furniture, hose the walls, hose, the floor, you know? And, um, it was really a spring cleaning and [LS: how did they clean the carpets?] Oh the carpets They used to get to take it to the roof where they would somebody specialty just to come. And, uh, first of all, if it needs real washing, like actually with soap and water, they, they alternate every year they do one or two like that. And then the rest, they will just bang on it to, um, to take the dust out and put these, um, moth balls and put them away, roll them up and put them away. And um, yeah, and then they start getting ready for the holiday for Passover.
Amy Hadid (00:29:46):
So they would start with the silan, how they do the, uh, it was a long procedure, how they do the dates. I mean, we have a regular help at all times, but I think we used to employ even more people to do that, was a big job. Oh. And the tamr used to come from Um Khalil. Um Khalil she's the woman who had actually, um, [LS: a big garden] no, not a big garden. She had like, um, what do you call it? Not a forest. She had somewhere where they had date trees and they used to collect them and she used to distribute to all her friends. So we used to get those dates from her, from Um Khalil that they used to be squeezed and processed, [LS: do you remember how many bushels?] No, a lot. A lot. So, um, [LS: did you remember which kind of date it was?] No. You know how many kind of dates used to be?
Amy Hadid (00:30:45):
I don't know. No. [LS: So can you remember the process?] Not so much. I remember cleaning my feet and standing on a big thing, a barrel where, you know, we squeeze the, um, [LS: it's like grapes] It's like grapes. Exactly. Because there were so many of them and then they have to, I really don't remember the procedure, but you know, they have to boil it. They have to, it's a lot, it's a lot of work and they used to do the same thing with the grapes cause. You know, everything was homemade. We didn't have anything kosher, so everything had to be kosher. So even the grapes, like the, um, raisins so that they can make their grape juice from it. It's also a long procedure, but the best part and the most delicious part and much cleaner than that was making sherbet [ph]. Sherbet is, um, a concentrate of orange juice of a lime juice, lemon juice.
Amy Hadid (00:31:48):
So they would make a concentrate of all this. So this way, during the holiday, the way we drink it, they would put a little bit in the cup, in the glass and fill it up with water and ice. And it was delicious that I remember. And of course all the almond cookies, the coconut cookies that they used to make for Passover. And, um, and the massa [ph] actually, we had somebody at home that would make it, we had a tanoor [ph] at home and we had the woman that worked for us on a regular basis. Mind, you know, we used to have a matzah all year round because we liked, it was very thin bread. Not during the high holiday. I remember we used to bring it from the synagogue. They used to make it in the synagogue. So it's kosher and they would bring it in baskets.
Amy Hadid (00:32:45):
And that's when we had for matzah. [LS: What did you call it?] Djadaq [ph] Yeah, but we had it all year round. We used to do it at home. Cause we had a tanoor in our backyard and the woman used to make us djadaq at all times, it was really very, very nice memories because my family, they did everything traditional. We weren't religious, but everything was traditional. We never missed on an event. Big Friday night, be it Saturday before my father goes to work, we would make kiddush and we would eat the [inaudible] atbit [ph], the brown eggs. And then when he comes home, we'll eat tbeet. So we were very, very, very traditional. And the Passover was two nights. We used to make one night by us, one night at my uncle, you know? And um, there was one very cute memory.
Amy Hadid (00:33:45):
We used to eat a lamb, not beef because, um, as kosher, they only slaughtered lamb, not beef. So now the lamb, we used to eat every part of the body, not like here, you're not allowed to eat certain parts. Why? And I remember vividly, even though I was very young and I didn't know anything about meat, you know because that wasn't my job, but I was the messenger. I would take a piece of meat from the kitchen in our house. I was told to take it to my uncle's wife because she's an expert in knowing where is the non-kosher piece? It's like a membrane. So she would take the piece that I brought her. And as a young girl, she would show it to me. She would tell me, Amy, I don't understand how come your mother can't find it, it's right here. So she was, so to me, it's a very thin membrane and that's the part that is not kosher. And that's why the butchers today, whether in Montreal, whether in London, where we lived for about four or five years, me and my mother, that they don't use that part. And that is the leg. They don't use it because of that membrane. But when you know how to clean it in Baghdad, they all knew how to clean it. So it was kosher,
Amy Hadid (00:35:25):
Did you know that part? [LS: not at all] And I was the messengers [speaking in Arabic] [And did you learn, could you tell now if you see this piece?] I was like less than 10 [overlap] very see through. A see through membrane. Yes. I know. I know. It's amazing. So I was the little one that always take this piece to my aunt. It's like literally next door, there was two houses away from us. [LS: Isn't it incredible how every family had a different life too, even though, you know, I mean], because when they used to bring [background communication] when they used to bring the meat, which is once a week or once every two weeks, they have to do things with them. I mean, they bring them and they have to kosher them. They have to salt it themselves.
Amy Hadid (00:36:30):
The butcher just brings it a slaughtered kosher, but that's, it, it hasn't been kosherized yet. So it was a big day when the meat comes because they have to kosher it salt it and then mince some of it and put it away and make it into pieces. Other pi- things make kibbah [ph]with it. So it was a big day when they, the meat comes [LS: and the chicken?] Yeah. And the chicken and the [overlap] I don't remember. I remember more about the meat. [LS: Who was the slaughterer?] I don't remember, but the messenger was Ali. [LS: I think he was the slaughterer] he's Muslim. How could you be? [LS: But he was the slaughterer] La, La, it can't be. I don't think so, no no, it has to be mashkiyach [ph] [LS: I think he was] really, a shohet, sorry. [LS: Yeah. Well, he was taught by Jews. I think] really? I know he used to deliver on his motorcycle that I remember, but who slaughtered it? I don't remember [LS: who would know?] Good question. I don't know [overlap] yeah, if Lynn would know, but I remember Kippur when we, they used to slaughter the chicken for Kippariyot [ph]. They used to bring it to our house and do it. And the one who does the, put it around our head was Yacoub [overlap] Sraj. And he's the one who used to shohet, he was a shohet. So he used to kill them and um, and then they have to, um, they have to take off the feather. They have to really clean them at home.
Amy Hadid (00:38:20):
So, uh, these were big jobs, but they always had a lot of help. I mean, our woman that worked for us for years and slept over, she never had to do washing laundry. We had a special woman that comes once a week. That does that, that wasn't her job. She has too much to do this woman. So they used to have somebody once a week that come and do the laundry. She's the one who does the washing and the ironing. She does everything. [LS: So now what, what religion were these people? Were they Jewish?] The people who worked for us? No, they were Christians in my days, but apparently before my days they were Jews and they were called tilkef [ph] They're from the North and they're always blonde and blue eyes and they stay with us. Like they sleep by us. They stay for years.
Amy Hadid (00:39:11):
Ah but when I was very little, I had the Muslim one, her name was Fatima. Fatma was a young girl when she started with us. So when I start like open my eyes, she was there. She was the one who was always there. And she became so attached to us that you would fast on Yom Kippur with us. She would follow all our holidays. She didn't even want to go to her parents anymore because she was still young. She wasn't married. She was in her teens. And you know what I mean? Of course we treat them very well. And um, she got very attached to us and only the time she left, when she got married, [LS: she used to come visit?] Yes, always [LS: what happened at the end?] I don't remember. I really don't remember. You know, maybe they were afraid after a while to come to a Jewish house.
Amy Hadid (00:40:04):
I mean, I never even asked, never even questioned, you know there, you never questioned anything [laughs] you're told and that's it. [LS: What kind of social circles did your parents belong to?] Oh they had a very big social circle. They had, they always had dinner parties. They would invited to, they would invite, uh, my parents were one of the rare people that never played cards, but yet they were always invited to card games and they would go, but we never hosted any card games in our house because my parents don't play, which was very unusual, but they always had parties. My mother had parties during the day where she had ladies over who used to be called bool, kabool [ph]. So, um, they had an amazing life. [LS: Can you tell us what a kabool is?] Kabool When all the ladies get together in one house and uh, they eat and they socialize. [LS: It's an open house?] No, no. It's invitation. No, it's always by invitation, never an open house. You have your circle and that's who you socialized with. And then, you know, they reciprocate, then she goes to other people and so on. And then at night also they had a social life like that once in a while they would be invited or they would invite.
Lisette Shashoua (00:41:36):
What language did you speak at home?
Amy Hadid (00:41:39):
Lisette Shashoua (00:41:41):
and your parents.
Amy Hadid (00:41:43):
Lisette Shashoua (00:41:44):
Do you know your grandparents? Do you, can you, do you know if they were all from Babylonian times? Do you know?
Amy Hadid (00:41:53):
I think they were, no, but I know my mother, I think her father was from Iran. He wasn't from Iraq,
Lisette Shashoua (00:42:01):
but Iraq, Iran, but Iraqi Jew origin went to Iran.
Amy Hadid (00:42:06):
Um, I really don't know. I don't know. [LS: She did have, did she have Iranian identification?] No, not her, but I do know that because she has cousins. When they left Iraq, they had problems. Uh, they said, uh, their parent or their father was Iranian. I don't remember really vaguely. I don't remember. So, I mean, my mother never spoke about it. It was never brought up, but I think so, but I have a feeling, they were Iraqi Iranians. They weren't [inaudible] Iranian
Lisette Shashoua (00:42:46):
Okay. Can you tell me about your school?
Amy Hadid (00:42:51):
Yeah. I went to Menhem Daniel for elementary till uh, a third grade, and then I moved to Frank Iny because you know, my brother finished elementary. So once he went to high school, uh, I was moved automatically this way. When they do a carpool, they don't have to go to two schools. They would go just one school drop and pick up. And, uh, yeah, so this was my [LS: what kind of schools were they?] They were Jewish schools. They were Jewish schools, both of them, the elementary and the high school, but Frank Iny had elementary also, but I wasn't, um, there from the beginning, I got there fourth grade to Frank Iny.
Lisette Shashoua (00:43:39):
And, uh, tell me if you belong to any sports or any clubs, sports clubs, social clubs.
Amy Hadid (00:43:47):
When then? Well, we had the, uh, mallab [ph] it's a, was a, um, a social venue where actually I remember more than my time, because by my time we were scared already, like when I say my time, I mean, my early teenage years, that's when I say my time, things were already little shaky, but I remember before that my sister always played tennis in that club. She would go, you know, in the hot days. And she would be playing tennis [LS: and the mallab was?] It was, uh, all Jews. It had, um, tennis courts, it had uh ping pong tables. It was like a social club for the young ones of all ages. So I remember I used to go to the mallab to that club. Uh, but I wasn't so much involved because I was still too young, so I really did not belong to anything, but I used to go and see my friends, some of them, not many, but, but I, I remember it was more for the older. [LS: Do you know what happened to that mallab?] No, no clue. I would presume it's closed.
Lisette Shashoua (00:45:04):
It was closed. Uh, I think at the time of, uh, the Baath party, when the party came, it was confiscated
Amy Hadid (00:45:13):
Possible. Yeah. I don't know. Like, I really remember, um, going there, but I wasn't involved because I was too young. Still to be involved in any, any of the activities
Lisette Shashoua (00:45:31):
now, the area where you lived that was mixed or was it a Jewish area?
Amy Hadid (00:45:35):
No. No, it wasn't actually, it wasn't a Jewish area at all. It was more where all the embassies were and, um, high end people lived in that area. It was a very exclusive area actually at the time. Um, no, there maybe there was some Jews, but not, uh, it wasn't like, uh, an area where all the Jews were. I don't think so to my knowledge.
Lisette Shashoua (00:46:05):
Okay. How about the clothes? What did they dress like? Did, was there a special dress code? Was there a special dress code for Shabbat? For [inadudible]?
Amy Hadid (00:46:16):
No, we wore ordinary clothes. Like everybody else, you know, when um, when the fashion was mini, where we'd be dressed in mini or when the pants came out, we would be wearing them also, not often because it wasn't the thing to do those days, but we were very liberal in our clothing [LS: and the parents and grandparents?] And the parents. Absolutely. And the grandparents, my grandmother was on the religious side. So she always would put a little scarf on her head when she goes out, not when she's in the house, you know? So, uh, no, they were very modern. All the dresses, all the outfits, the skirts, we had a department store called Rose Debach [ph] and we used to go to that and buy all our clothes. Or we would have them made by a couturier. And, um, no, it was very modern. Nobody actually used to dress into even, even the Muslims and Christians, they were all dressed modern.
Amy Hadid (00:47:25):
The ones that had, you know, more than that, like, uh, modern religious people, it was in the east end. So really we never got to see them. [LS: You're talking about the religious Muslims?] Muslims. Yeah. [LS: Because all the Jews] no, they were very secular. Most of them. I mean, in my days, maybe before the tasqit there was some religious Jews, but in my days everybody was secular, but we always went to synagogue, high holidays. We did, we did everything [LS: Shabbat?] Like I said, my father had to work on Saturday. So he never really went to synagogue on Saturday, but a high holidays Passover, Purim. Actually I have very nice memories from Purim because I used to go with my dad as a little girl. And uh, he bought me a little, a pistol little gun where I could, uh, shoot Haman. They used to make a little scarecrow outside the synagogue where all the kids would go around and shoot haman with this little pistol. Yeah. Yeah. It was nice memories. No, we would go to synagogue and, um, on occasion [LS: do you remember which one you went to?] I think Meir Taweig [ph], this was our synagogue. I mean, we started because it was close to us at the time with our old house. But even after we moved up town, we still went there. We still went to that synagogue.
Amy Hadid (00:49:02):
[LS: could you, could you remember anything else from the synagogue,any, anything else you did in your acute poor when your parents were fasting? What did you do?] Yeah, I was playing around in the yard outside and uh, I remember actually for, um, what is it called? You know, the day before Kippur, when you go to the synagogue to seek, um, uh, what is it called to seek a pardon? So mostly the women used to go to the synagogue. It has a name. Now they do it in our synagogue here, mostly, uh, hatarah [ph], hatarah. I remember I used to go with my mother and uh, of course the men used to go, but a lot of women used to go like around lunchtime to, to seek forgiveness, you know, before Yom Kippur. Because before the day of atonement, [LS: do you do it still here?]
Amy Hadid (00:49:59):
I don't. But [LS: your husband dose?] Well the Lebanese do it early in the morning. The eve of, uh, of Kippur. The day before they go, like at six, seven in the morning or [LS: to the synagogue or to some water?] No, no. synagogue. No, no, no. In a Kippur there's no water. [LS: The Ashkenaz I think go for water to water] Yeah, on Kippur? [LS: Yeah. It's supposed to be between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippor to throw away all your sins] No, but this is just the day before Yom Kippur. They do it. [overlap] It's called hatarah They do it here, mostly the Lebanese. They're the one in charge. They do it the day before, uh, Kippur and they make a breakfast and um, a lot of Iraqis that believe in it, they go, I never really go, but Eli goes, my husband goes, [LS: and they did it in Baghdad] Yes. And I remember going to synagogue to do that before the actual fasting, like in around 1:00 PM, we will be going.
Lisette Shashoua (00:51:05):
Tell me about the bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs then
Amy Hadid (00:51:09):
I don't remember anything because, um, I don't know. I don't remember going to one or I don't think bat mitzvah existed, but bar mitzvah did obviously, but I did not see any myself, even my brother who was 13 and was supposed to be bar mitzvah. He never was because they always liked to make big parties. And they said, Oh, the situation, political situation is not good now. So we're not going to give him bar mitzvah yet. We'll wait until things will get better. So this way we can do it properly with the party and everything. So as a matter of fact, when my father was killed at the time, my brother had to read Kaddish, but he couldn't until they put on him in the synagogue, the tefillin, the spot, they had to put it on him with no party with nothing because he's in mourning. He had to read kaddish for my father. He was the only boy there at the time. So, uh, that's what, uh, how he ended up putting on tefillin and reading Kaddish for my father.
Lisette Shashoua (00:52:25):
How about brit milah, wedding celebrations?
Amy Hadid (00:52:30):
Yeah.Tthere was a lot of hennas that I went to when I was young with my parents. Well, the biggest was my sister. Yeah. I mean, [LS: tell us about that] yeah, like she had a huge henna. [LS: What year was that?] It must have been also just before she left. She left in 65, I think 64 or 65. No, it must have been 64 maybe. Anyway. Uh, so, you know, she had a huge henna, it was talk of the town. 500 people were invited. The, [LS: where was it?] it was in our house in our garden. You could, you could, we can fit that many people. We had like a round tables with chairs that we rented. And, uh, we had entertainment Nazem al-Ghazali, Salim Amrad. These are very famous, famous Arabic singers. And we brought a belly dancer. I don't remember who she was, but also a famous one. And also the dinner was served on the rooftop of the house.
Amy Hadid (00:53:40):
They had to serve dinner there because for 500 people, they're not going to take away the chairs from the garden. So they had to direct everybody up the stairs to the roof. [LS: it was a buffet style?]. It was buffet style, of course. And I mean, I remember there was like 16 fish that were grilled. There was like five lambs that were stuffed. Cause you know, we had cooks in the backyard where they were cooking at home. Everything was done at home [overlap]. The fish too, everything was done at home. It wasn't the thing to take out. I don't think it existed. I don't know. Maybe I don't know. They brought everything. They brought, like they made a barbecue in one side of the garden. How did they do the lamb? How did they make it? It was at home. I remember seeing it. [LS: Can you describe lamb and how they made it] Yeah.
Amy Hadid (00:54:37):
They put it like on the two sides. It's a, there is a bar in the middle and they would be grilling it first. They would stuff it, of course. And then they would grill it. And honestly, I don't know, what's the rest, but it was delicious. And they had all the Iraqi cooking, of course the kabab, kibbeh shwanda [ph], kibbeh bamiya [ph], kibba burughal [ph] uh, tibeet, it was for 500 people. So you can imagine, [laughs], so eat- people ate very well. And it was really, everybody remembers that henni [ph] at the time my sister changed her dress twice. And uh, there's always, [LS: why?] It's a tradition that you change your outfit. You don't stay in the same dress. And also we always have a big candle in a henna, thick, big one. And whoever is like next to be married, we'd have to light that a henna candle. So one of them was my young aunt because she wasn't married yet.
Amy Hadid (00:55:45):
There was very little difference between her and Samia in age. No, not little. There was a good 10 years I would say. And so she wasn't married yet. And also my brother-in-law, uh, the groom, his sister wasn't married yet, Lydia, so both of them had to like that big henna candles. [LS: So what they turn it off and they light it again?] No no no, they lit it at the same time [LS: Oh they lit it together together] together at the same time. [LS: there's no pictures of them?] Unfortunately, no, there was a video taken, there were many picture taken and I don't know what happened, unfortunately, because it was really the henni of the century, really in every sense, in every sense, people were there till four or five in the morning and the music was still going on and people were still there. You know, it's, my father made money, but he liked to spend it. Some Iraqis Jews that have a lot of money, but they don't have that attitude that they spend the money.
Amy Hadid (00:56:57):
He always spent his money. Twice we went to Europe before that, and that was very unusual for a whole family to travel to Europe in 1960 and in 1963, we traveled to Europe. [LS: Where? Oh, we go to Lebanon. That's always our first stop, beautiful Lebanon. And then we went to, uh, Paris. We went to Germany, we you went to, um, what else did we go? We went to Greece, of course, to London. And my brother was already there in London. He's been there since 1956. So of course when we go to London, we see him. And, uh, yeah, so my father was very generous and like to spend his money and enjoy it. He made it himself. He did not inherit it. It was all his own work that he made the money and he really loved to enjoy it and to give whoever needs very generous, very generous, to his family and outside his family. And actually my father was the, uh, problem solving in the family, whatever. Uh, if one of my cousins were acting up, you would be talking to him if, uh, my aunt and her husband have little problems, he, they come to him and he would, uh, talk to them and give them advice. So he was really a very, um, a man of all trades. I would say people come to him for advice. And of course for money in case people need help.
Amy Hadid (00:58:45):
So he was a very unique.
Lisette Shashoua (00:58:57):
Okay. Sorry. Okay. Uh, what, uh, what Jewish locations do you remember? The uh, was there any mikvahs?
Amy Hadid (00:59:07):
I don't remember. Nobody went to mikvah in my days. I don't know. Even it exists or what, what it was in those days [laughs]
Lisette Shashoua (00:59:18):
Um, was there any unique superstitions that you remember?
Amy Hadid (00:59:23):
Not in my family, not in my family. I think maybe there was, but not in my family. [LS: Any religious figures that you remember or in the family?] Uh, you mean religious people in the family? [LS: No. Religious figures. Like maybe a rabbi or] no, not in my days. I think by my days, a lot of them left. I wouldn't remember anything.
Amy Hadid (00:59:49):
[LS: Can you remember any prominent Jewish organizations, religious or none?] No. [LS Any Zionist organizations?] No, not in my days. This is really way before. There was really very few Jews left after the tasqit [LS: and the tasqit is] that's when all the Jews were told they can leave, but they lose identity and they lose whatever they own, everything has to stay and they can go, they're free to go [overlap] leaving everything behind homes, whatever inside the homes, their money properties, whatever they want. But it was like really not in my days. I mean, I hear about it. And that's how I know [LS: that was the year you were born 51?] No, I'm born in 53. So really it was passed. So I don't remember much because I don't know, but I was told, you know, everything is, they tell us things. [LS: What were the family views on Zionism?]
Amy Hadid (01:01:02):
We were too scared to talk. [phone rings] [LS: Okay. what were your family's views about Zionism?] Um, there was none. [LS: Did they? What did they think about Israel?] They were even afraid to mention the name Israel. They were really were very, um, very scared. We wouldn't mention Israel or even the family that are in Israel. We can't talk about it. You know, even when we talk, we whisper at home, if it ever comes up. [LS: So now tell us your experience with persecution against the Jews, anti-Jewish laws. Tell us your experience] I mean, it, um, as far as I know my brother, my eldest brother, he had to leave Iraq in 1956 because Jews in those days weren't accepted in universities. So he had to go to London, England, and to be able to go to university. So that was one of the things. I mean, I don't even remember him.
Amy Hadid (01:02:17):
I was too small when he left for me to remember him well. And, um, and after that we had the revolution where they killed the King and [LS: what year was that?] 58, I think. Yeah, it was 58 that I remember things because I see it on TV. Like I see how they were throwing books from the, from the castle, that I remember not many things, but I remember all these precious books that you, it was all in the river, they threw it. And, um, I don't know. Now I'm getting confused. It was the King that I saw him getting pulled on the streets. Yeah. It was the King. It's his uncle that was, uh, killed and pulled down the street in a car. His body was dragged.
Amy Hadid (01:03:16):
And, um, I don't remember much about that period. I was still too young and, but like, they didn't do anything to hurt us, but were always careful not to say anything, not to wear any, you know, like the Star of David or any Jewish, um, uh, symbols. Nothing of course, no kippahs. I mean, since I was born, we know that we have to be careful. We don't do these things. It doesn't exist. So then, uh, Abd al-Karim Qasim came, he's, uh, you know, and he they killed the King or the uncle of the King and the King, of course. And then, um, things were good for the Jews. Actually. He was, uh, an army man, Abd al-Karim Qasim. He always dressed in an army suit and he never had castles. He slept with the soldiers. He was a very humble man. So he really did a lot of good things to everybody, to everybody, including the Jews. My sister, when she graduated high school, she was able to go to medical school in his time because of him. So always depends on the regime, which regime come. One of them allow passports. One of them doesn't. And I think before Abd al-Kareem, I'm not sure if we were allowed to have to travel. [LS: That's when you went to Europe] No, I went to Europe in 1960, already Abd al-Karim Qasim was there. That's why we were able to go.
Amy Hadid (01:05:00):
So when Abd al-Karim Qasim came, we were able to travel freely with a passport and, um, Jews were able to go to university. So a lot of them who graduated high school, that time they went to universities and they graduated. And um, yeah, and then of course they had to turn over the regime, the Baath came after that. And, uh, they killed Abd al-Karim Qasim and they dragged him down the street, that I remember. And, um, then things really started to go downhill from there. Unfortunately things were really, really bad. So they started to cut the phones, the home phones. You couldn't talk on the phone. Uh, you were very restricted. You can't travel. Definitely no traveling, but even watched all the time restricted. Um, of course Jews weren't allowed to go to university by then again, cause I remember my brother graduated, um, and he couldn't go to university.
Amy Hadid (01:06:09):
[LS: Was this before or after the six day war?] Um, good question. I think it was after. Yeah. What year was that? Well, the six day war was 67. So I presume around that time, things were really bad because, uh, you know, they started to, uh, prison people, Jews, non Jews. And um, then they started to accuse Jews of being spies and they hanged, uh, some of them in 1969, isn't it? That's when they hanged people. And that's the same year that they came and picked up my father from the house in the middle of the night. And they took him for questioning. But my father, when he left the house, he said, I'm not coming back. He knew, he knew that was the end and why they were doing this because they were trying to take all the affluent people being Jews or non Jews.
Amy Hadid (01:07:11):
So that to scare people I think, but they accusing them to be spice. So w you know, we were frantically the next day looking which prison he would be in my father asking around, trying to find somebody who knows something. Nobody knew nothing. Within five days, somebody come at the door, I opened the door, myself, rang the doorbell. I went out and I, um, and he said, uh, come and take your father's body. And it was like, I'm dreaming. And I was at the time, maybe 15, 15 years old. And I had, I mean, it was like, I was dreaming. I don't know what is he sayng? But I understood because I know my father was missing. So he said, come and take his body.
Amy Hadid (01:08:10):
Even at that age, I had to act very mature. I can't cry. I have to go inside the house and tell my mother. So I had to think .so I didn't even go inside the house. I went to my uncle's house, which was two houses away. Oh. And at the time they took my uncle also that night, they also took my uncle. Same night. Yes. But my uncle so far was safe. Nobody said anything about him. So I went to my uncle's house, asking my cousins, my, my, my uncle's wife to come and help me tell my mother, how am I going to tell her this? That actually my father is dead and they want us to go and pick up the body
Amy Hadid (01:09:01):
so my cousin. My, uh, my aunt was living with my uncle at the time. They all came with me. And this is how we had to break the news to my mother. [LS: what year was this?] in 69 [LS: after the hanging?] After the hanging yeah, it was July. I remember the night before we went out, there was fireworks by the river [LS: July 14] Yeah. And that's the night they came and they took him. That's why I'm not crazy about fireworks. It gives me very bad memories. That was the night they took him. [LS: He came to see the fireworks with you] Yeah. They came the middle of the night. We were fast asleep, bsatth [ph] on the roof. We're fast asleep. [LS: What excuse did they have?] Oh, we just want to question him. We'll bring him back. But we know by then, when they take people, when this black car comes and take people, they're taking them to torture them, to prison them.
Amy Hadid (01:10:05):
And maybe they kill them. I mean, still, it wasn't easy on us, but at least we had the body. Some people were missing and they never had the bodies. At least we were lucky that we had the body and we're able to bury it and actually start mourning. Other Jews that happened to them. They said, Oh, they're missing. Or they escaped from prison. So that is worse because you really, you know, you don't know what to do. You can't presume that they are dead and start mourning. So in that sense, imagine I'm saying we're lucky. Imagine. [LS: So could you tell why he died?] No, no. I don't think I was told and I never wanted to know, but he was tortured, obviously. That's how he died. [LS: with all the good that he did. Yeah. [LS: with all the mitzvah that he did]. Yeah. It's very hard to stay a believer. Very hard. I, struggle with that every day. [LS: still?] Still. Cause remember now you're saying it yourself with all the mitzvah that he did, give him a heart attack. Right? Not torture him.
Amy Hadid (01:11:30):
It's um, yeah. And I was the youngest and I was quite spoiled by him. You know, I was always the spoiled one because I'm little and it was very hard on me. It was very hard. I did not speak about it for the longest time. I was in London for five years, I went to college. I had a good friend with me. She was Jewish. She never knew a thing. And I don't know how it came up once. Her parents were asking me, I was visiting her at her house. And her parents asked me about parents. And that's when it came up. I told them, no, my father was killed. And her name was Jane. She looked at me and she said, I never knew this. I know you so many years. I never heard a thing. You never mentioned it. I said to her, I don't like to talk about it. It's very painful. [LS: And was she Jewish?] Yeah. Yeah. My friend was Jewish. Actually. She's a doctor now. [LS: You're still in touch?] Yeah. When I go to London, I see her
Amy Hadid (01:12:36):
[LS: How did your family uh, cope?] Well, my mother was very devastated because like I told you, they were lovebirds. [LS: How old was he?] I don't think he was 60 yet. I don't think he was 60, 58 or 59. Yeah. [overlap] Yeah. Not much younger. Maybe a couple of years younger. That's why when we escaped, that's another chapter when we escape, and we went to London, we were living there for a few years. Not many years, maybe four or five years. She died from a heart attack. Not long after, she was too sad. She was too devastated to stay alive without him. So she also died very young. Maybe she was 60. Maybe. [LS: You were still in London?] Actually. I came visiting my sister here and she was with me when we came in the summer of 1974, we came and then she said, Oh, why don't you stay here a little longer with your sister?
Amy Hadid (01:13:52):
I said, fine. Why not? And when she went back, actually I lost my uncle the same year. He died in 74, the end of 74. And my mother died in January 75. [LS: So the brother and sister passed], yes, they passed away. Um, my uncle actually made it out of prison. Very surprising. Because of course they tortured him too. And my uncle had a lot of health issues. Whereas my father didn't, my father didn't have any health issue, but my uncle did, he was diabetic. He had, he had many, many, he had kidney problems. And yet he came out. [LS: Was he with your dad?] Nope. He never saw him, [LS: but did he? Know, your dad was in prison too?] Because he knew how did he know? Did he know? Honestly, I don't know if he knew. Cause I think they were taking the same night and I'm sure not in the same car. I am sure not in he same car. So he was tortured and that I remember him telling us and um, but he came out after a couple of months, he came out [LS: and these were people who served the country?] Absolutely. Absolutely. [LS: They built homes] they bought homes for the homeless. They build streets. Roads. Yeah. That was their, they were contractors. That's what they did. [LS: And that's how they were repaid]. Yeah.
Amy Hadid (01:15:38):
[LS: Whatever happened to your, the people your dad worked with, his workers, the Muslims, these partners, after he passed away, did you hear from them? Did they come to the Shiva?] Um, honestly I do not remember, but we think anyway, we think that the Muslim partner, one of his sons might have really told on my dad, we think. So [LS: what did he think he's going to inherit the business?] No, no. I think maybe he was jealous. He was, I really don't know. I don't know. We think one of his kids, I mean he had few wives, the Muslim partner and he has a few kids. Some of them were grown up. Some of them were babies. We think, I don't know why. I remember somebody saying something, but I'm not a hundred percent sure. So no, we never saw any one of them. [LS: And your sister Samiya]
Amy Hadid (01:16:46):
She was already in Montreal. Yeah. The only ones and my other brother, Sammy, the eldest, he was in London. The only one was with me was my brother Sabah, who is three, three years older than me. [LS: The protected ones]. Yes [laughs]. [LS: The protected ones ended up having the brunt] Yeah. And brother was really very good. Every day. He went to read Kaddish day and night for my father. And he was maybe 17, 17, 18. Yeah. It was very, very tough. And at this point we really wanted to leave. You know, like people started to leave, uh, illegal, uh, katchah [ph]. And we really, my mother, you know, she was so depressed. She couldn't care less. What happened to anybody anymore. She's always mourning. So me and my brother Sabah, we were really very anxious to leave. We want to go and start a life somewhere else because this is not a life anymore.
Amy Hadid (01:17:54):
We can't do this. We can't do that. There is no telephone. There is, we are restricted. There are no jobs anymore for Jews, whoever want to apply forget it. Businesses are closed. Jewish businesses are closed. So really [overlap] no university. You can't go to university. So really what are we sitting there for? We had to leave. [LS: So tell us about that] So anyway like people started, we're hearing people who were starting to escape [LS: how?] Through, uh, of course illegally through, uh, because we couldn't go by passport, going to the north and then crossing to Iran. And that was the route, the route for most people, you know, like people went to, I don't remember where we went in the north, but we were taken with a car. Once we decided we give money to somebody that he would send us a driver and you will take us from the house that morning. And he will drop us somewhere in the north. And from there, somebody, one of the Kurds will cross us the border, cross the border. So I really don't know much details about that. But I remember sitting in the car, first of all, we left the house spotless as it is with two cars in the driveways, full of Persian rugs, everything was there. And we left early in the morning with my mom and my brother and in the car, we had another young man and a young woman [LS: who?]
Amy Hadid (01:19:34):
[whispering] I don't remember. I know Maurice, Maurice, the cousin of [inaudible] Shuker, Aboudi. And the other one, I am, I thought it was you, but it wasn't you. somebody in [LS: Hilda?] Maybe, maybe it was her, somebody in that category, you know? So, uh, so we were five people in the car. They gave us a abaya, you know, the black, uh, cover, [LS: oh so you didn't buy it beforehand] no, they give it to us. They give us abaya, me and my mother and the other young woman who was with us. So we put it on and they gave us a false ID, different names.
Amy Hadid (01:20:17):
[LS: They give you an actual paper?] Yes. Yes they did. They did. [LS: That was, what year was that?] 70, October, November. [LS: You must have been after me because I saw Maurice in Iran. So it must have been November. November, December] No, I think more November than December [LS: I left in November six] So maybe we are at the end. I don't remember exact date. [LS: Yes. I remember, I remember Maurice, I don't remember you] Yeah.
Amy Hadid (01:20:55):
So they took us in the car, the guy who was driving, half drunk, a Muslim guy. And then as he's driving, he started to threaten us. He wanted a, um, what did he want? Oh, he made a, the young woman sit next to him.
Lisette Shashoua (01:21:15):
I think it's Hilda [Salem] or is it a Lydia? [AH: Lydia who?] Lydia? I forget but she lives in London now. [AH: I don't even remember. I was thought it was you. I don't know why]
Amy Hadid (01:21:31):
anyways. So, um, so we started to go through crossings because as you're traveling to the north, there is a lot of barriers you have to pass and you have to show your IDs. Checkpoint exactly. [LS: eight of them] I don't remember the number, but there was a few. [LS: I remember] Yeah. So him, he started to, uh, um, you know, to, to go like this with the girl near him. And uh, then he started to bring a bottle from under his chair and drink and then we saw a gun near him. And I don't remember why he started to say, you know what? I can take you back right now. Like he was really scaring us as we are with him. I don't know why [LS: was he a Kurd or?] Or no, no, no, no. We're not with the Kurds yet. He was not a Kurd. Then, you know, we drove all day with all this unknown destiny of ours, if we were going to get there or not, by the end, he dropped us. It was dark, dark, dark, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. And he said, you see that little light on top of the mountain? [LS: That's Iran] No, we're still up north. That's where you supposed to go. He dropped us there. We had very little luggage with us and we had to climb up a mountain in the dark and go to that little light.
Amy Hadid (01:23:01):
So we knock the door. The people were like really surprised to see us. I don't think they were expecting us. I don't think so. I don't think it's a well done plan. Something went wrong. I don't know. Anyway, you know, the Kurds are always hospitable. I mean, right away, they throw us inside because they're afraid that the neighbors, somebody would see them. Maybe he did send us to the right place. Maybe he did because I don't know because I mean, they were surprised to see us. They weren't expecting us. Maybe they're expecting other people, but we went in and they heard the story. That's how we left. And the guy that left us in, you know, right. Just before the mountain and he made us climb. [LS: How long did it take you to get there from the minute he dropped you to climb?] I really don't remember.
Amy Hadid (01:23:58):
I don't remember. [LS: And there was no roads] No, no, [LS: no lights] no lights, no roads. Except that one light we're looking to go there. So we went in and we were expecting them to actually have a car for us to actually cross to Iran right there. And then. They said, Nope, we don't know about you. I don't know who sent you here. And so on and so forth. And you know, there, they sat us on the floor because they don't have furniture. They only have Persian rugs and they have the samawar [ph] where they make their tea. It's always there on the side with their, uh, kand [ph] the pieces of sugar. And they start to bring us food. Cause it was the night they started to bring us food. And they're talking to us as we're eating, trying to understand what's going on. And then [LS: who were they, like a man, a woman, family, woman, and man, what were they?] They saw was scared. So all the women and the children and the men, they all came and they sat on the floor to make us feel comfortable. Because they saw us. We were very scared.
Amy Hadid (01:25:09):
We're really, really scared. We didn't know what's going to happen [LS: so they were Kurds] Yeah, they were Kurds, and they were very hospitable, very nice to us. And they tried to understand the story and what are we there for? And uh, but I think they know that this is happening. I mean, they're aware, but they didn't know that we were coming because obviously the other plans are made better than the one we had. And uh, we were just left, at time it was Naim Attagh [ph] who did our arrangement, and we paid him big money [LS: how much?] I think it was 3000 dinars at the time [LS: each?] I don't remember. Again, I don't remember each or all together. I don't remember.
Amy Hadid (01:25:59):
Anyway so we were there and we're crying and we're asking them to please help us cross. They said, um, okay, eat now. And uh, we'll see, at midnight, like later, like in the middle of the night, one, two in the morning, they will take us. Okay. We finished eating and we're waiting [LS: did they have telephones? the Kurds?] I don't remember. No, no, [LS: they didn't have telephones either] So anyway, they said, okay, let's go. They brought some donkeys. So we went on top of the donkeys, [LS: mules] mules, I suppose mules, it was pitch, pitch, dark, and we're going on a mountain. And apparently there are cliffs, very, very [overlap] steep cliff that we are not aware of because we can see. But as we are on the mule, the guide who is guiding the mule, walking, he keep pushing him to the side because he knows any little move we're going to end up in the ditch.
Amy Hadid (01:27:11):
So, um, so we were on the donkey on the mule, maybe an hour. I really, it's a vague memory. And then there was shooting. We hear shooting. So they were scared. So right away, they got us off the mules and we start hiding because there was a road. And I suppose that's what they were hoping to go. I don't know what was their plan with the, with the mules? Where are we going? I don't know. So we heard some gunshots because it was Ramadan. And I suppose the guards on the border were up because they are eating and uh, they start shooting when they heard noise.
Amy Hadid (01:28:03):
So we are all scattered. I was taken away from my mother. We were completely different directions. One guy took me here and my mother, another guy took her there [LS: and the mules are where?] I have no clue. I don't remember all this dark, dark, dark. So at the end we start walking back. Now we're going back to the same house. We're not crossing anymore. So I go into that house maybe another hour or I don't, I don't know really how long it took. We were in that house again. And my mother is in tears. She thought she lost me. She didn't know where I was because she didn't see me when we got off the mules and the shooting was going on. So she was very scared. So she was crying when I came in, she was happy to see me, but she's not happy about the situation that we're still there.
Amy Hadid (01:28:58):
[LS: And Sabah where was he?] also, he was, he was with her. Sabah was with my mother. So at least that part, she was okay with it. So now we said, we're write a letter to Barzani to send us a car because this is, it's not a situation. We can't do that. And we know that the Barzani is helping a lot of Jews to cross to Iran. [LS: Whose idea was it to write ]either us or them? I don't want to remember again, but we wrote a letter and we it was delivered by one of these people. And we waited til the next day. And of course it was very hard [background communication] So now we send a letter to the Barzani to ask him, to send us a car and to tell him who we are, you know, because I think they know what was happening in Baghdad, that all these people who were killed, you know, and I don't know why we had the connection with Barzani. I don't know why we felt we had the connection. Why? I don't know. Maybe it's just my imagination. I don't know. So anyway. So we told him we are the, um, we are the [background communication].
Amy Hadid (01:31:07):
Yeah. So we sent the letter and then of course, you know, even to go to the washroom because they don't have washrooms inside the house, they were so scared to let us out to go outside. And it was November. So there was snow. So we're not used to that. We're not equipped. [LS: did you have boots?] No. of course not. Who has boots in Iraq? It's a hot country. Who's going to have boots? So, anyway so just to go to the washroom outside, they had to really sort of hide us to get there because they're afraid from neighbors or something. I don't know. [LS: Were there many neighbors around?] Yes. Yes. Not very close, but there were, you know, so they were very, very careful that not to show, not to let anybody know that there are people there, [LS: even other Kurds].
Amy Hadid (01:32:04):
Yes. Because that's what there is there. They're all Kurds. Yeah. So anyway, we're waiting, waiting all day and we're really in tears because nothing is happening and we're left in that house. We don't know what's going to happen to us at this point. All of a sudden at night comes a car full of people. Iraqi Jews. Some of them, I don't even know them, with twins. There was a woman and her husband with twins. I don't know who they were. [LS: How old were they?] I don't remember. I don't know these people, [LS: but young twins?] Babies, babies. They were babies. Yeah. I remember Maurice took one of them already. He's very motherly. Maurice. He's very good at that. He took out already a baby and he was holding him, you know, helping them out. So as soon as they came, they came in. But then we all went in the car.
Amy Hadid (01:33:04):
It was like a Jeep. And that was it. They crossed us. I don't know what happened. Oh, everything was, is like in a, in a, in seconds. They came in, they went out again and sat in the car. We sat with them. It's very vague, I really do not remember [LS: do you remember any of them?] None. None. I don't remember anybody. You know, it's really long time. [LS: So those Iraqi Jews came to the same house] Yes. [LS: So this was like a house] obviously, but they, but they seem to know about these people that they came after us. [LS: But you they didn't know] But us they didn't know, it wasn't planned properly. And uh, yeah. So then we crossed, we sat in the Jeep and it was like minutes, minutes. We were there. Somebody opened the, the gate, it was like a metal, a chain. [LS: was it a metal chair or a piece of wood?] No.
Amy Hadid (01:34:03):
A metal chain. I remember it was a metal [overalp] Maybe not. I knew I, so, uh, maybe it was a piece of wood. I remember a chain. I don't know why. So we crossed. And then, you know, we felt very relieved. At least we are in Iran now. At least we are safe. Nobody's going to tell us, oh, go back. At least we are somewhere. But you know, we are far away from, from where we supposed to be. You know that [LS: civilization] exactly. You know, we had to take buses, we had to take trains and sleep at somebody's house. They fed us. They, we stayed there and then we took a train after, until we got to Tehran, took us maybe two days until we got there. And then of course the agency, they were all there on the, on the train station, including what's his name? [inaudible]
Amy Hadid (01:35:04):
No. What's his name? The one that Evelyn mentioned? Ben-Porat? [LS: Ben-Porat or Salah Chitayat (ph)?] No, it was an Israeli guy, and he had an Israeli name. And I think it was, [LS: I think I remember there was another one called Kattan or Dallal] You're sure it wasn't Ben-Porat? [LS: No, I don't think, I don't know. But there was an Israeli guy in the sachnut who was receiving people] yes he was right there in the train station [LS: and they put you in] They put us in a hotel, [LS: but they took you by taxi or what? which hotel?] I don't remember. There was two [LS: the sargat (ph)] And the other one? [LS: I forget] maybe the other one. Cause I remember there was two, somewhere in that, somewhere in the other, [LS: how many people were in the hotel when you got there?] A lot, oh my God. I don't remember, but a lot, but we stayed like two months in the hotel because we were going to London. We're waiting for my brother, Sammy to actually, you know, made a form for us and asking that we should come. And uh, of course, you know, being, uh, English by now, they lost our application and we're sitting ducks in, uh, in Iran, in Tehran, waiting for our papers. And meanwhile, also we sent here to Montreal, to Canada to be sponsored. Also. We said, whichever comes first. We'll do it. We'll go wherever. So anyway, we had to sort of nudge my brother again and tell him, please go look into it. It doesn't make sense. People who had applied, they already gone and we're still there [laughs].
Amy Hadid (01:36:57):
So anyway, eventually it happened and um, we went to London. Yeah. But the people who weren't going, who were going to Israel [overlap] right away. Literally within a week, maybe two maximum. Yeah. But also like, I think we had to pay for our accommodation, people who weren't going to Israel. We had to pay. Yes. [LS: You paid for two months?] Yes. [LS: where did you get the money from, you had with you?] No, but we had accounts. My father already sent money before, when he was working, he was very smart, man. He sent money, even though it costed him a lot. If I am not mistaken, mistaken, they were, I was told it like 50% of the money the guy was taking. [LS: Yeah. And like, if you are sending a thousand pounds, you end up with 500 pounds, you lose $500] Exactly. But even then he sent money. He, he really was a, was smart.
Amy Hadid (01:38:00):
He was a very smart man. And he was very smart man. And he would have made a lot more money had he left. Because at the time there was Kattan here that knew him already. And the Kattan in London that knew him already. And they were all sending him letters at the time to tell him Daoud, asqat sawih [ph] you know, come, you will make a lot of money. You have, you, you have the knowhow, you are a businessman. And there is so much opportunities here. And as I told you before, my mother is hearing all this and she's telling my father, what are we doing here? So really it's, it's a shame that, and he would have been able to leave. He knows a lot of people, we would have been able to escape at the time, we would have been. And you know with money everything goes with bribes. I remember my mother is the funniest story she drove, but he had to bribe to get her driver's license. She would have never got herself, a driver license [laughs]. He bribed and he got her a license. It used to be the shift. She would put it on one of them, one or two. And she kept driving. Never change [laughs]
Amy Hadid (01:39:20):
But she drove. And she was okay. She never had an accident. She was careful driver. She was good [laughs]. Imagine. [LS: what else do you remember?] Well, I remember, I mean, childhood, I have to say I had a great childhood. I have lovely memories. We used to go to the river and learn how to swim. Yeah. [overlap] That was amazing. It was amazing. We used to have, um, somebody that um not what's his name, not, we went also with the big crowd with [overlap] Hai [ph], we went with Hai, but that at the same time, or before that we used to go with somebody across the river on the other side that we used to get private lessons with him. So we would wake up early in the morning and we would go on a boat and we would jump out of the boat and you know, learn how to swim. [LS: did you have to wear the, the] yes.
Amy Hadid (01:40:18):
A block of wood. It was wood. [LS: ]t was a block of wood from the Palm tree. Yeah. But it was nicely done so that it doesn't scratch. So we used to start with three as a beginner, one in the front and two in the back. And then as we get better, they remove one and the other, but it was very hard swimming in the river because you have a current, it's not like an ocean or a Lake. It's a current. So you had to always keep up. You have to really struggle to get from point a to point a. It wasn't easy, but this is how we learned. It was great memories. Great memories. [LS: I wanted to just backtrack. Cause you were saying when your dad passed people came, were you able to have a proper shiva and the people who came to, to tell you, they're sorry.
Amy Hadid (01:41:13):
Were there any non Jews that worked for him that came?] I don't remember. [LS: You don't remember?] It's all like a blur. I remember the house was packed. People were outside and you remember how big our house was? Our living room. Uh, both living rooms were packed and people were standing outside. To read the Kaddish, you know, [LS: so they were able to have a proper shiva because say the ones who were hanged they couldn't even have a shiva]. Exactly. So really, no, that's why we are grateful. At least for that, that we're able to bury him and actually start mourning properly and do the prayers I remember it was packed with people. You tell me who and what I do not remember.
Amy Hadid (01:42:03):
You know, it's really like 47 years ago, 47, 48. It's a lifetime. I was just telling a Hugo. Yeah, Hugo. That's sometimes when I say it, I think I saw a movie as if it's not me. As if I'm telling a story of someone else, it's very hard to keep in touch. You know, this is mine. Yeah. [LS: So what year did you arrive to Canada?] Oh, I was first in England, so I was living in London from 1971 until 1974. [LS: And then you came here to visit your sister?] Yeah. I came here to visit my sister and I stayed. [LS And your mom passed away] while you were while I'm here. And my mother passed away. Yeah. Shortly after that visit. [LS: And you met your] I met my husband, I think beginning of 75. My mother was still alive, but like she didn't know because I was just going out. It's a boyfriend. It wasn't really serious. [LS: She passed away before] before. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It was very fresh at the time. Um, there was no nothing. [LS: So you were going out for a while?] A year and a half altogether because, um, a year later we got engaged and the year we got engaged, we got married in 76. We got engaged, uh, actually on, uh, in March or in February. And then in June we got married.
Lisette Shashoua (01:44:00):
So you came obviously by plane from both, uh, from Iraq to London. From London.
Amy Hadid (01:44:10):
Yeah. And, uh, before I think, or once we went to London, we went back. No, we didn't go back. We went to Israel. It was our first visit to see the family there, to see my aunts on my mother's side and my uncles on my father's side to see cousin. I mean all these uncles and aunts, I never knew them because they left before I was born. No grandparents were there by the- by then. Um, and uh, yeah, we just wanted to see everyone. And then we went and settled in London.
Lisette Shashoua (01:44:45):
And uh, you came here. What was your first impressions of London and of here?
Amy Hadid (01:44:51):
Well, number one, I think on every, you know, immigrant or any, uh, body, who leaves those countries, the Arab countries is freedom. That's really, the only thing you can think of is freedom. And I really very grateful whether in London or whether in Canada that we are free,and I make sure I remind my kids every day, don't take freedom for granted. You are very lucky kids. You were born in a free country. That's why I find it very hard when people don't want to learn French, don't want to learn English. They're free people. Why, why not? You're in a freedom land, learn everything that you can, why not,
Amy Hadid (01:45:44):
but you know what? It's when you have it so hard, then you start appreciating everything. Like a language is not an issue. You learn it. But as it happened, we were lucky. We came with English very well spoken English and very well spoken French. And that was very lucky. And I think that was the motto of every Jewish school to teach the student everything, the, you know, languages or any other subjects they arm us before we leave. We're very well armed in every way in education and education. No, no. I mean education armed. Yes. So we're very lucky people, you know, we're very grateful for these countries to take us, but I have to say we helped ourselves. The community helped us and we took off. We didn't have to depend on any government on anybody.
Lisette Shashoua (01:46:42):
When you say community help, you mean [overlap] support?
Amy Hadid (01:46:44):
mentally, support, [LS: not financially] No, no, thank God we didn't need. But I know of people like my husband, when he came from Lebanon, he came with zero dollar. So when he needed to go to university, he needed to have a place to stay. And the Jewish agency, they gave him an interest free loan. It's never giving money, it's loan, but interest free, for students or for newcomers. So he was able to use that money carefully and work in the summer and make more money. And then when he was able, he paid back his, uh, his dues, but in our case, thank God we didn't need money. But, uh, we picked up, we got, uh, you know, uh, in the sense, like we learned the customs, the habits and were very well adjusted very quickly. We didn't feel like we had to go a long way to learn things, thanks to the languages that we know already, English and French. And, um, and we really appreciate freedom. This is a word that, um, people can't say it because they didn't go through what we went through. [LS: So the Jews here did not come as refugees they were not dependent. We were refugees really but we did not. act as refugees, we did not, we did not ask for money from the country that hosted us]. No, Nope. Not at all. Like I said, even my husband, there was Jewish agencies. That were helping, not the government.
Amy Hadid (01:48:36):
[LS: And we served the country. Your husband is working now] Absolutely. He has a business and he's contributing, he had employees now he's semi-retired, but he had the employees and then he had a business going and he did very well. [LS: And tell me about your children now] My children are great, they're lucky. They were all born here in a free country. Very important. And uh, yeah, they went to Jewish schools and they worked very hard. My eldest he's a doctor. I'm a proud mother. And then the second one, Jason, my first one, his name is David. Now he's 37. He lives in Vancouver, a doctor he's married to a doctor also and has a child. And my second one, Jason, he is a lawyer. That he's in Montreal. And right now he works for hydro Quebec. And my daughter, Amanda, she also went to the Jewish system, Jewish schools, and now she an accountant in, um, accounting firm, KPMG, very smart. All of them. Thank God. I'm the luckiest mother. That's all I want. And I'm hoping that my kids will have a good life and a better life than what I went through. And they're very lucky people to be born in this beautiful country.
Lisette Shashoua (01:50:22):
That beautiful. Okay. Did you join a synagogue or a Jewish organization?
Amy Hadid (01:50:26):
Yes. Yes. Yeah. We got married in, uh, the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue and um,
Amy Hadid (01:50:37):
we, we, that's what we belong. That's where we go for the high holidays for all the occasions. We weren't very much involved in the synagogue cause we're still young. You know, we're working, my husband didn't go to synagogue on Shabbat, but my kids went to Jewish schools, but now we are very involved in our synagogue, the Spanish and Portuguese. We are on the board and we are members and on the executive and we participate, we volunteer and this is our synagogue and we're very proud of it.
Lisette Shashoua (01:51:09):
Do you preserve your Sephardi heritage? [AH: Absolutely] And what about the children?
Amy Hadid (01:51:14):
The children. They're very proud of it. I'm really very impressed. I mean, we didn't feel, we had to pretend we are someone else. I think that's helped. We were always very proud to be Iraqi Jews, you know, and we weren't ashamed of it or, or felt any other way, you know, compared to other Jews. And um, no, my kids are very proud and very, some of them, some of the kids speak the language, not very well. Some of them just understand it, but they enjoy the, uh, the food that Iraqi cooking. They love it. And they love all our friends and their kids because we have similar values and customs. And um, they have a lot of Iraqi friends as, um, as you know, like them being young. We have our friends, but they have their friends too.
Lisette Shashoua (01:52:17):
And uh, what about the traditions? Have you kept the traditions? The Sephardi ones? The celebrations? prayers?
Amy Hadid (01:52:27):
Absolutely. Everything is the same. holidays. We follow everything. We have the books and I'm lucky that my husband come from a religious family and that helped in keeping the tradition. Maybe if he came from more of a secular, maybe we wouldn't have been as observed observant like we drive on Shabbat. We are not observant, but then the sense, like we keep traditions and uh, yeah. And we are very proud of it and we enjoy it.
Lisette Shashoua (01:52:58):
How would you describe yourself, your identity? What is your identity?
Amy Hadid (01:53:04):
I am an Iraqi Jew, born Iraqi Jew and lives in Canada as a Canadian I'm very lucky to have a Canadian identity too.
Lisette Shashoua (01:53:18):
Do you consider yourself a refugee or migrant?
Amy Hadid (01:53:24):
I don't know. I would say migrant. I don't know. What does entitle refugee. What's the difference?
Amy Hadid (01:53:31):
I guess the refugee is someone who escapes from a bad situation. So maybe we can, I can call myself refugee. I don't know [laughs] [LS: And where is home for you?] Canada. Montreal. [LS: What identity do you want to pass onto your children and grandchildren? Remember your grandchild, what would you like to teach that young little adorable da- granddaughter?]
Amy Hadid (01:54:02):
Again, I emphasize very lucky to be in a free country. This is something that we can all hold to and remember forever. And that we are multicultured in this family. We are Canadians. My daughter in law is Chinese. So she has her other side of the story also. And, um, we are Iraqis. My husband is Lebanese. So really multicultural people.
Lisette Shashoua (01:54:33):
And your son, Jason is dating.
Amy Hadid (01:54:36):
Yeah. And my son, Jason is dating a Canadian also. So, um, I really don't know, I think let them be happy, let them be free and good luck to everyone. And I'm very proud of them. [LS: and what language do you speak to your children?] English. [LS: some French?] Ah, very little, but they learned it in school. So they are very well spoken. They speak very good French.
Lisette Shashoua (01:55:05):
What impact did this refugee migration experience have on your life?
Amy Hadid (01:55:14):
Honestly, I didn't feel anything. I fitted right in. I did not feel I'm stranger. I did not feel I don't belong maybe because I am Jewish. And that's why like, there is always Jews be it Middle Eastern, being Canadian, Ashkenaz, I really never felt, um, different.
Lisette Shashoua (01:55:43):
And, uh, it's a, it's a funny question. What would your life have been different if you hadn't left?
Amy Hadid (01:55:54):
[laughs] Not good life. That's all I can say [laughs] If we had survived, if we had survived. Exactly. That's number one. [LS: We wouldn't have met our husbands] and we wouldn't have met our husbands. Yeah.
Lisette Shashoua (01:56:07):
Have you ever been back? It's an absurd question.
Amy Hadid (01:56:09):
No, never. And I don't have the desire, even if it's a free country. I still don't want to go. I don't have, unfortunately, as a child I had great memories, but I left with very sad bitter memories and uh, I really don't care anymore.
Lisette Shashoua (01:56:29):
Okay. What message. That's the last question? What message would you like to give to anyone who might listen to this interview?
Amy Hadid (01:56:42):
Again, just be grateful for what you have ,the family around you, try to appreciate them, not take them for granted. And again, you're free. That's very important. You know, maybe they don't feel it because they born in a free country, but this is the message I would say it over and over. You're lucky people so use it.
Lisette Shashoua (01:57:11):
That's beautiful. Thank you so much, Amy, for participating in Sephardi voices. Thank you for giving us such beautiful memories. And when you have a chance, we'll get your pictures, letters, memories, whatever you have.
Amy Hadid (01:57:25):
Thank you, Lisa. That was very nice. You worked very hard. Thank you.
Lisette Shashoua (01:57:32):
So did you. But yours was a very rich interview.