Cleaned by: Julia Pappo
Transcribed by: Unknown

Interview date: October 18th 2017

Interviewer: Henry Green

Location: Montreal

Total time: 1:26: 55

Lily Daniel: Born July 28th 1965 in Baghdad, Iraq. Arrived in the Netherlands in 1976. Arrived in London, UK in 1985. Arrived in Montreal in 1986.

Lily Daniel

[00:00:15] Interviewer: What is your full name please? 

[00:00:17] Lily Daniel: Lily Daniel. Lily Najesala [ph] Daniel. 

[00:00:23] Interviewer: And what was your name at birth?

[00:00:25] Lily Daniel: Lily Najesala [ph] Daniel. 

[00:00:28] Interviewer: And where were you born? 

[00:00:29] Lily Daniel: Baghdad. 

[00:00:30] Interviewer: And when were you born? 

[00:00:32] Lily Daniel: 28th of July, 1965. 

[00:00:35] Interviewer: Okay so let me begin by just thanking you for participating in the Sephardi Voices Project. 

[00:00:41] Lily Daniel: You're welcome. 

[00:00:43] Interviewer: So the first question is really a very open question. Tell me something about your family's background. 

[00:00:51] Lily Daniel: Okay so my family, from both sides, from my father's side and mother's side were born in Baghdad. And so uh, and they were like any other family. Working...and uh having a Jewish life...back in Baghdad. 

[00:01:13] Interviewer: So your family's Baghdad, so what about your - let's ask about then your father's father. What was your father's father's name? Your grandfather. 

[00:01:24] Lily Daniel: Salah [ph] Daniel. 

[00:01:26] Interviewer: And his wife? 

[00:01:28] Lily Daniel: Uh...Loulou, I don't know her last name, sorry. 

[00:01:33] Interviewer: Maiden name? 

[00:01:34] Lily Daniel: No. 

[00:01:35] Interviewer: And so your grandfather was he born in Iraq also? Is there history of Iraq?

[00:01:42] Lily Daniel: They were in Iraq. Whether they were born in, like my grandmother for sure I was - I know that she was born in Basra. From Basra and my father's - father I don't exactly know. Maybe Tikrit? Maybe Tikrit. Because he had... or maybe ha was also from Basra but my father was born in Iraq, Baghdad. 

[00:02:08] Interviewer: and what did your grandfather do? 

[00:02:10] Lily Daniel: My grandfather was a jeweller. 

[00:02:12] Interviewer: A jeweller. 

[00:02:13] Lily Daniel: Yeah. 

[00:02:13] Interviewer: In Baghdad. 

[00:02:15] Lily Daniel: In Basra. 

[00:02:16] Interviewer: In Basra. 

[00:02:17] Lily Daniel: Yes. 

[00:02:18] Interviewer: Okay and do you remember meeting your grandfather or grandmother?

[00:02:21] Lily Daniel: [overlap] No, no. They emigrated to Israel long before I was born I think. 

[00:02:29] Interviewer: Okay and your mother's parents, your mother's father and mother?

[00:02:32] Lily Daniel: So my grandfather from my mother's side, his name is Selim Gabbai [ph]. And my mother is Horia [ph], last name it escapes me, I don't know really. 

[00:02:48] Interviewer: And...

[00:02:48] Lily Daniel: Because I never, I, I know but not her parents. I didn't know her parents. 

[00:02:56] Interviewer: So you knew your - 

[00:02:57] Lily Daniel: Only by, like I know Horia Gabbai [ph]

[00:03:01] Interviewer: But did you meet your grandparents? Your mother's parents? 

[00:03:04] Lily Daniel: Yes. 

[00:03:05] Interviewer: Where did you meet them? 

[00:03:05] Lily Daniel: In Baghdad. 

[00:03:06] Interviewer: In Baghdad. So do you have any stories you can tell me about them? 

[00:03:10] Lily Daniel: Uh, well I was young till, till uh then but I remember my uh, grandfather passed, passed away in 1971. And then my grandmother and my aunt left because they were alone then. They left in '73. '72 actually. '72. 

[00:03:32] Interviewer: Left to where? 

[00:03:33] Lily Daniel: To uh, London and then they went to Israel. 

[00:03:37] Interviewer: Do you remember how they left?

[00:03:39] Lily Daniel: Flying. 

[00:03:41] Interviewer: And from Baghdad?

[00:03:44] Lily Daniel: From Baghdad. Yeah, actually we took them to the airport. That I remember. 

[00:03:48] Interviewer: And did they have visas to leave?

[00:03:51] Lily Daniel: They had visas to leave, yes. Anybody that flew had visas to leave. 

[00:03:57] Interviewer: And what do you remember about that day? Was your grandmother living with you? Your aunt? 

[00:04:01] Lily Daniel: No. No, no, no. But my aunt used to come a lot to us. To our house. So no, they weren't living with us but we were close. Like my grandmother always came to us so we knew. 

[00:04:15] Interviewer: So what did you do with your grandma? Did she read to you? Did she cook with you? Did she...

[00:04:21] Lily Daniel: No, it wasn't like that back in Baghdad. Don't forget we were six siblings. Life is not the way it was, especially our situation like, you weren't that free. You weren't that free to walk around or do things in, in my family's uh, situation. If you ask me about it then I'll tell you what. 

[00:04:47] Interviewer: So do you have any like, one event with your grandmother that you remember as being special? 

[00:04:55] Lily Daniel: We loved our grandmother. Like, she always used to come in like with the, with food and whatever so that, as little kids, we, that's what we looked forward to and that's it. We loved her and I met her again in London. Like, she was in Israel then she came in - to live in London later on. But I left London. 

[00:05:18] Interviewer: Okay what about your parents? So your father is he growing in Basra then? Or is he ...

[00:05:26] Lily Daniel: He grew up in Basra but then he came to Baghdad. 

[00:05:29] Interviewer: Why did he go to Baghdad? 

[00:05:31] Lily Daniel: Business. He was a free-spirited actually in the 30's he was very young. He went at the time called Palestine but Israel by himself and then came back. He was uh, they were, like he was free-spirited and he, they were, we say [imdelel] which is spoiled in a way. 

[00:05:53] Interviewer: Was your - 

[00:05:54] Lily Daniel: He was the oldest as well. 

[00:05:55] Interviewer: What was your father's name? 

[00:05:57] Lily Daniel: Najeshala [ph] Daniel. 

[00:05:59] Interviewer: And he was the oldest of how many? 

[00:06:02] Lily Daniel: He was - they were five together. So, so two sons and three daughters. 

[00:06:08] Interviewer: And he told you the story of going to Palestine? 

[00:06:12] Lily Daniel: No, well, I overheard. That I know. Like uh, because the story was when we left, when we wanted to leave, that's the thing that my father didn't want to go to Israel because he had - like he didn't want with their mentality. He couldn't, he was too old for that. Completely different mentality. So...

[00:06:37] Interviewer: So when he went in the 30's, he went in the 30's you are saying - 

[00:06:40] Lily Daniel: He was single. 

[00:06:40] Interviewer: He was single. And he was a young man. 

[00:06:45] Lily Daniel: Young man. 

[00:06:46] Interviewer: And do you have any idea how he got there?

[00:06:48] Lily Daniel: No. No. No idea. 

[00:06:52] Interviewer: Did your father speak Hebrew?

[00:06:54] Lily Daniel: Well from the - he was a very - yeah. Very learned. 

[00:06:58] Interviewer: From the bible [overlap]

[00:07:00] Lily Daniel: Bible...yeah and he knew. He knew. Like a lot of things. like he was very um, learned man. Like, his English was perfect. 

[00:07:13] Interviewer: How did he learn his English?

[00:07:15] Lily Daniel: I don't know. From business? I don't know. Went to school. That, I have no idea. Because as I was born as, as a last child our life changed, since 1965. Like four months I was old and everything changed for a way. 

[00:07:35] Interviewer: And what kind of business did your father have? 

[00:07:37] Lily Daniel: He was a trader. Yeah he would -

[00:07:41] Interviewer: In what...material?

[00:07:41] Lily Daniel: [touches mic] In material. Really. 

[00:07:43] Interviewer: Textiles?

[00:07:44] Lily Daniel: Textiles, yeah. He would bring textiles through Japan, uh, all kind, I think Portugal at one point, I don't know. And uh, in 1965 everything...flipped. 

[00:07:57] Interviewer: So he imported stuff and then...

[00:07:59] Lily Daniel: and then he would give it to, to...

[00:08:03] Interviewer: Wholesale or...

[00:08:04] Lily Daniel: As a wholesale to the - and they sell it. 

[00:08:08] Interviewer: And your mother, what is - she came from Baghdad you said. 

[00:08:13] Lily Daniel: She was born in Baghdad. 

[00:08:15] Interviewer: And what was her name? 

[00:08:16] Lily Daniel: Marcelle Gabbai [ph]. 

[00:08:19] Interviewer: And what do you know about her background? Growing up. Do you know anything about her growing up? 

[00:08:27] Lily Daniel: She, growing, not really. All she told me, she was really like, she was brought up more because they, they were how many sibling did she have? Uh, they were nine altogether I think. Nine altogether. Three girls and six boys. So she was more with her grandmother so to speak. So...

[00:08:53] Interviewer: She was one of the older ones? 

[00:08:54] Lily Daniel: Yes. She was second oldest. 

[00:08:56] Interviewer: She was second oldest. And do you know the story of your parents meeting? 

[00:09:01] Lily Daniel: No. I have no idea. No idea. 

[00:09:06] Interviewer: No idea at all. 

[00:09:07] Lily Daniel: None. I'm sure it was fixed. I don't know. I have no idea. It wasn't important for us growing up at that time. 

[00:09:18] Interviewer: Okay so you said you have a number of siblings. Okay so, and you were the youngest I think you said. So can you - who is the oldest and what's his name? 

[00:09:26] Lily Daniel: So it's a girl, Hilda [ph]. And then Orna [ph] was born. And then Gracie my dau - my third sister. Then my two brothers Sallah, Yosef [ph] and then me. 1965 I was born. 

[00:09:42] Interviewer: And the, the oldest, Hilda was born what year? 

[00:09:45] Lily Daniel: In 1958. 

[00:09:48] Interviewer: So in seven years there are six of you. 

[00:09:49] Lily Daniel: Yes. 

[00:09:50] Interviewer: Your mother is busy. 

[00:09:52] Lily Daniel: Very busy. [laughs]

[00:09:54] Interviewer: What neighbourhood did you live in? And you lived in, you said, Baghdad. 

[00:09:58] Lily Daniel: Baghdad. In the Alawi. 

[00:10:00] Interviewer: In the Alawi, okay. And what kind of house were you living in? 

[00:10:06] Lily Daniel: Um I - it was, I remember, as I remember it was like a house by itself. It wasn't a big house. Uh, me growing up in there. Because in 1965, as I said, after four months my father was in prison. He was imprisoned. So that's where our life changed everything. So, since I was born I opened my eyes, things changed. [00:10:33] So before that I don't know. 

[00:10:36] Interviewer: Let's – there are some things you would know. That house, for example. 

[00:10:39] Lily Daniel: Right. 

[00:10:39] Interviewer: Okay, so did you have help in the house? 

[00:10:41] Lily Daniel: Yes. For sure, we two helps. One was Christian, one was Kurdish. 

[00:10:48] Interviewer: One was Kurdish. They were girls. 

[00:10:50] Lily Daniel: Women. 

[00:10:51] Interviewer: Women, and did they live with you or not? 

[00:10:52] Lily Daniel: One of them would go and come and the other, the Kurdish was staying with us all the time. 

[00:10:58] Interviewer: So you lived in that house until you left Iraq?

[00:11:02] Lily Daniel: No. We uh, we left in 1976. We stayed in that house until 1975. 

[00:11:12] Interviewer: Okay so, for, you say, so you're born in '65.

[00:11:14] Lily Daniel: [overlap] '74, '75 I would say. 

[00:11:18] Interviewer: So '65 to '75. So you have lots of memories of that house. 

[00:11:21] Lily Daniel: Yes. 

[00:11:22] Interviewer: So did you live in a room with your sisters?

[00:11:25] Lily Daniel: No. I was, my sisters the three sisters were in one room and me, my two brothers and parents were in a different room. 

[00:11:37] Interviewer: A different room. 

[00:11:37] Lily Daniel: Yes. But most, like in Baghdad, as you know like in the summer we all lived on the roof. And that's the fondest memory that we have of Baghdad, that's all. Nothing else. 

[00:11:50] Interviewer: So tell me about the roof. 

[00:11:52] Lily Daniel: The roof like, in Baghdad in the summer, that's where we lived. Like we would sleep upstairs on the roof and it's, it's a desert right? So it was coolish, it was, we look at the stars, we count the stars. So that was nice. 

[00:12:08] Interviewer: Were you close to the Tigress? To the river at all?

[00:12:11] Lily Daniel: Um...did - yeah. Not, not far. Not far because we lived next to djindil majuul [ph] so it was walking distance actually. 

[00:12:25] Interviewer: And did you ever go down to the river?

[00:12:26] Lily Daniel: Oh yeah, yeah, like my father used to take us in the morning. This is how we learned to swim. 

[00:12:32] Interviewer: Tell me about it. 

[00:12:32] Lily Daniel: At six o'clock in the morning, he takes all the kids and he taught us like, he used to put, we call it [kahalab] which is like a tube but has uh, like you can take one weight out every time you got better in swimming. So, until you were free to swim. So that's, my father did everything with us actually. He taught us how to ride bicycles, everything. [00:12:58] He was very involved in that way. 

[00:13:00] Interviewer: And so his hours of working were more flexible or...?

[00:13:04] Lily Daniel: Well, you have to understand, after '65, ever though he was not working really like, I um, they took everything away. So whatever we had and whatever connection he had, that's what we lived on. But we never felt anything. [touches mic] as kids, never felt anything. 

[00:13:27] Interviewer: So I'm trying to you know, just to get the sense of uh, okay he took you to the water, took you bicycling. Did you learn to swim? Are you a good swimmer& 

[00:13:37] Lily Daniel: Yeah, yeah we learned to swim. Like it's...

[00:13:40] Interviewer: And your, in your house you had some help, Kurdish and a Christian, did you help your mother in the kitchen? Or did you help with cooking? Or...

[00:13:55] Lily Daniel: No. Not when I was in that house. Later on, when my sisters left in '73, that's when I came in to help. And uh, don't forget, I was like uh, 8 years old, 9 years old when they left so...

[00:14:10] Interviewer: Do you remember your father going to a café and drinking coffee? 

[00:14:17] Lily Daniel: Playing shesh besh. 

[00:14:18] Interviewer: Playing shesh besh. 

[00:14:19] Lily Daniel: Yes. In, but that was later on, like not when '69. '69 he was in prison again actually and I have vivid memories of that, when he came out in '69. 

[00:14:34] Interviewer: Did you go with him to play shesh besh? Would you watch him? 

[00:14:36] Lily Daniel: I uh...I think I went with my brothers actually. We saw him like, we needed my father because it was very scary for us as Jews. We, if he was a little bit late we didn't know...were he would be. So...

[00:14:54] Interviewer: And your mother, would your mother go shopping in the souk? Or would you, or would it be the help? 

[00:14:59] Lily Daniel: No, my father used to shop. 

[00:15:01] Interviewer: [overlap] Your father would go to the souk. 

[00:15:02] Lily Daniel: And then bring all the...all the stuff like watermelon I remember the whole sides he would bring like, 20 watermelons. Don't forget, we are six kids. 

[00:15:14] Interviewer: Right. And did you ever go with him to the souk?

[00:15:17] Lily Daniel: Uh, not really no. No. 

[00:15:22] Interviewer: So your life was one where you're born in '65 and you're, the way you're talking about your life was your father was around, except when he was in jail, he was around. 

[00:15:32] Lily Daniel: He was around. 

[00:15:32] Interviewer: And he did a lot of things with you guys. 

[00:15:34] Lily Daniel: Yeah, he did but he went to work like under the, Muslims. Right? Because his business was taken over by a Muslim because, as a Jew, he wasn't allowed. So...

[00:15:46] Interviewer: And it was very sort of protective life in the house and with...

[00:15:54] Lily Daniel: Um...okay so where we lived actually, when the Ba'ath Party came in uh, actually, Saddam Hussein's half-brother Sabawi...had a house across like, they got that house across the street from us. So they were, we had to be careful then. Like, it wasn't like we could play outside on the street or, we had to be watched. [00:16:27] Because one of them, at one point they said, even me at six years old was making faces to them. So anything they can make excuses...uh, you had to be careful. So, so we were not even allowed to go outside anymore. 

[00:16:46] Interviewer: Did you have a yard? 

[00:16:47] Lily Daniel: Yes, we had a garden. 

[00:16:49] Interviewer: So you could go out to the garden. 

[00:16:50] Lily Daniel: We had to, the garden was in the back. In the front was the garage like where the car use to get in but we had like all kind of uh, games actually, outside games like, we had everything in that house like uh, swings and uh, all kind. And the bicycles we went back and forth but then we were more sheltered actually after that incident. I remember like my father said, don't you go outside. [00:17:17] Because we used to walk. I could go to the, uh, like to the end of the street and there was like a dépanneur, which is you can buy stuff. 

[00:17:28] Interviewer: A convenience store. 

[00:17:30] Lily Daniel: A convenience store. So we couldn't do that anymore. 

[00:17:34] Interviewer: Did, it just sort of came, did you have a favourite doll? 

[00:17:39] Lily Daniel: No, it was, I got a doll but that was hand-me-down from my six, from my first one to the - hand-me-down. 

[00:17:50] Interviewer: Do you remember her name?

[00:17:50] Lily Daniel: No. We didn't give them names. We didn't give them...No. That's the last thing on our mind. 

[00:17:59] Interviewer: So there weren't many Jewish people then living in your neighbourhood where you lived. 

[00:18:06] Lily Daniel: Yes, there were. 

[00:18:07] Interviewer: There were. 

[00:18:08] Lily Daniel: But they started leaving, of course. And in, in 1973, a week before Yom Kippur war broke out, my, thankfully my sisters made it to Israel, through Turkey. 

[00:18:24] Interviewer: Through Turkey. 

[00:18:24] Lily Daniel: Yes. 

[00:18:25] Interviewer: So they, did they escape through the border or did they...

[00:18:28] Lily Daniel: No, they went by plane actually when my father was imprisoned again in [qasra Nasiriyah] which means the end, the palace that is the end, that you don't come out. I don't know how he came out. He wouldn’t, I asked him many times, he passed away, I asked him many time, tell me about your experiences and he said they never touched him. [00:18:52] Which, I doubt, but he, he came of course differently. I remember in '69 he came differently, out differently. And then in '72, '72 they wanted, as I said, the Ba'ath Party came and Saddam Hussein's half brother was living and they used to make parties. They can do anything and you can't say anything, right? And they wanted to kidnap my second sister Orna. [00:19:22] So that's where uh, their neighbour came and told us in the middle of the night, told my mother, you better get these daughters out. So when he was in '69, they put a memnoy [ph]. He had no visa. Automatically they put on us, we were with my mother, like the kids were with my mother in the same passport. My father was alone. [00:19:47] So when they put memnoy for him not to go, not allowed to leave, they put it on us too. 1970 we went to Kurd, to the north. Everybody there, and there Barazani told my father, I can cross you over. My father was one of the first ones. He says, I can't do that. He was just out of prison and he was too scared. He said, we left everything, we can't. We had a chance to leave then. But then my father was too scared so we came back, '72 they wanted to kidnap my sister. [00:20:22] She was at the time, '72 she was born in 1959. So she was 13, he had, they went and got a passport out, like my mother went and made like a claim like, they had, she says I don't know how I got the courage and said, "My husband has the memnoy, why do you put it on us? We have nowhere to feed our daughters. I want to leave, give them like, to fly them to London to my family so they can be brought up." [00:20:59] And this is when they gave them the visas and they left. 14, 13 and 12. 

[00:21:08] Interviewer: That's when they went to Istanbul. 

[00:21:09] Lily Daniel: Istanbul, Turkey yeah, and then they arrived in Israel knowing nobody and uh, they made their life. 

[00:21:19] Interviewer: Since we're talking about these stories with your father or whatever, let's go back, okay? So you're born in '65. And you say four months later life changed. Right? Because your father was arrested.

[00:21:33] Lily Daniel: He was in prison for months. 

[00:21:34] Interviewer: Why was he arrested? 

[00:21:36] Lily Daniel: Very simple reason: espionage. Jewish espionage. That's what they said. 

[00:21:43] Interviewer: That's what they said. That's what your, your ultimately your father told you or...

[00:21:47] Lily Daniel: Yeah, that's for sure. 

[00:21:49] Interviewer: So your father said...

[00:21:50] Lily Daniel: Espionage. 

[00:21:51] Interviewer: Espionage so he goes, he's put in prison, you're a little child. 

[00:21:55] Lily Daniel: I was four months old. So I don't remember. I was a baby. 

[00:21:58] Interviewer: And how long was he in jail for? 

[00:22:00] Lily Daniel: Four months. 

[00:22:00] Interviewer: Four months. Was he tortured at all?

[00:22:02] Lily Daniel: He'll never talk about it. 

[00:22:04] Interviewer: Did he, so you would not really know because he's so young. Okay. So I'm gonna go through just a bit of the history here. Okay so, '65, now '67 you're two years old. It's the Six-Day War. 

[00:22:19] Lily Daniel: That's right. 

[00:22:19] Interviewer: Do you remember any of that at all?

[00:22:20] Lily Daniel: No I don't but I actually happened to speak to my mother. This is it. So '65 they took his business so he, he gave it to two of his workers, workers not even partners. They were working. '67, they close it down. His business, completely so there was no money coming in anymore. So '67 that was everything that changed as well for a lot of Jews. 

[00:22:49] Interviewer: Now when you're, you're two years old so you maybe not remember but there wasn't any, you don't have any memories of how tension or things...

[00:22:58] Lily Daniel: No. 

[00:22:58] Interviewer: Okay. So after '67. 

[00:23:01] Lily Daniel: '69. 

[00:23:02] Interviewer: Okay so let's go to '69. Now you're four years old.

 [00:23:05] Lily Daniel: Four years old. 

[00:23:05] Interviewer: And '69 several things happen. The hangings. 

[00:23:09] Lily Daniel: That's right. 

[00:23:09] Interviewer: Do you remember any of this? Do you?

[00:23:11] Lily Daniel: No, I don't remember the hangings but there was always, I remember we had to be quiet. We had to be quiet everything like, "shh" like anything. But I do remember that my, when my father came out and I didn't know where we - 

[00:23:27] Interviewer: Came out...again.

[00:23:27] Lily Daniel: [overlap] From - again, from a prison again. 

[00:23:30] Interviewer: So '69 he goes to prison again. 

[00:23:31] Lily Daniel: Again, and that's the, [inaudible]. Okay?

[00:23:36] Interviewer: and how long is he there for?

[00:23:36] Lily Daniel: Four months again. 

[00:23:38] Interviewer: Four months again. 

[00:23:39] Lily Daniel: And when he came out, why do I remember it? And I remember exactly where I sat next to him, he smelled of smoke, this smoke was like...overwhelming. Like he was smoking, chain-smoking I think. So that I remember and it stayed in my mind. So later on in life I knew he was in prison. They didn't tell you. Like, my parents didn't, they didn't have time, they had hardly time to feed us or make sure that we have food on the table than telling us these stories. 

[00:24:16] Interviewer: So you were the youngest so therefore you're...and your oldest, if you were four years old, your other, oldest, Hilda is it? 

[00:24:24] Lily Daniel: Yes. 

[00:24:25] Interviewer: Would have been ten. Or eleven then. 

[00:24:27] Lily Daniel: No, twelve. She's almost eight years. 

[00:24:31] Interviewer: So you know the way children, the older children tell the younger children in the family different stories of what's happening to keep, to keep everything okay. did your older siblings tell you things?

[00:24:46] Lily Daniel: No. No. No, it wasn't like something we spoke about really that...

[00:24:51] Interviewer: And you were still sleeping in a room where your parents were in? 

[00:24:54] Lily Daniel: Yeah. 

[00:24:57] Interviewer: And what did you do for food? How did you eat?

[00:24:59] Lily Daniel: As I said, we never felt as kids growing up, I never felt that it was hard. We had everything. We had the nicest clothes. My mother used to, to sew for us. I mean, we never felt anything. 

[00:25:16] Interviewer: Did you have a car still?

[00:25:17] Lily Daniel: Uh, at that time yes. In 1970 we had. 

[00:25:21] Interviewer: Still had a car. 

[00:25:22] Lily Daniel: And then I think they took it in '72 like. 

[00:25:25] Interviewer: So you had a car and meanwhile '69, '70 you have more people leaving, going up to um, Erbil and up to the Kurd area and leaving. So when...

[00:25:38] Lily Daniel: But I didn't know. 

[00:25:40] Interviewer: You didn't know but now 1970, so you're five years old and you go up to the Kurdish area. Your parents, is it like a vacation?

[00:25:49] Lily Daniel: Vacation. It was absolutely vacation, yeah. My father used to take us always to vacations like Habbaniya to Taq-E Kisra all of these things, like, we travelled always. So I didn't feel there was anything. Even the hanging. But I remember that was very, very quiet in the house. Very quiet. 

[00:26:09] Interviewer: Do you remember watching it on television? Or anything? 

[00:26:11] Lily Daniel: Uh, no. No, not me. 

[00:26:14] Interviewer: Okay so you, so during this period 0 to 5 you're also not going to school. You're just, you begin uh, school, when in 1970? When you're about 5? 

[00:26:27] Lily Daniel: I guess - no, before. Because in 1970, yeah, maybe, yeah, pre-k. Pre-k. 

[00:26:35] Interviewer: And what school did you go to?

[00:26:36] Lily Daniel: Menahem Saleh Daniel [ph]. 

[00:26:38] Interviewer: And how many kids were in the school at this time? 

[00:26:42] Lily Daniel: I don't know. It was mixed. It was like, full school but it was -

[00:26:46] Interviewer: Full school. 

[00:26:47] Lily Daniel: Yeah, but it was Jews, Muslims, Armenians, Christians, anything. 

[00:26:54] Interviewer: And what did you, what language did you learn in school? 

[00:26:58] Lily Daniel: Arabic. Arabic and English. 

[00:27:01] Interviewer: And English. 

[00:27:01] Lily Daniel: Yes. 

[00:27:02] Interviewer: So you were learning English too. 

[00:27:03] Lily Daniel: A little bit, like, really a little bit. 

[00:27:07] Interviewer: At home, what language did you speak? 

[00:27:08] Lily Daniel: Arabic. 

[00:27:09] Interviewer: Arabic. 

[00:27:09] Lily Daniel: Yes. And Jewish dialect. 

[00:27:13] Interviewer: Right, Judeo-Arabic. 

[00:27:13] Lily Daniel: Yeah, Jewish dialect Arabic and at school, the Muslim Arabic. 

[00:27:19] Interviewer: Muslim Arabic. So you went to a Muslim school?

[00:27:22] Lily Daniel: Yes. Well no, it's a Jewish school. 

[00:27:24] Interviewer: It was a Jewish school. 

[00:27:25] Lily Daniel: It was a Jewish school. 

[00:27:26] Interviewer: And you didn't learn any prayers, or Hebrew or anything?

[00:27:30] Lily Daniel: Well, I remember my father used to take us uh, to learn Hebrew, no, no, no, not at school. To learn Hebrew at the synagogue [synagogue name]. We had somebody that taught us, especially when my brothers were becoming bar mitzvahs. Not that we did bar mitzvahs for them but they were teaching us and I used to go along and learn the shema yisrael to read and...

[00:27:56] Interviewer: So you leaned how to read Hebrew?

[00:27:57] Lily Daniel: Uh, a little bit yeah, there until I went to Holland. 

[00:28:01] Interviewer: So your father, you said, knew Hebrew. So how did, do you know how your father knew it at all 

[00:28:07] Lily Daniel: No, I think, I don't know. I really have no idea. 

[00:28:09] Interviewer: Did you father pray in the morning? Or in the evening?

[00:28:12] Lily Daniel: Yes, he prayed at, put a t'filin on and...

[00:28:15] Interviewer: Put a t'filin on...every morning?

[00:28:17] Lily Daniel: Every morning. 

[00:28:18] Interviewer: At home? Or [inaudible]

[00:28:21] Lily Daniel: No, at home he put it. He put it at home. I have fond - whether it was every day I have no idea. Like, you know. 

[00:28:28] Interviewer: But you were, you remember him, seeing him do this. 

[00:28:30] Lily Daniel: Yes. Yeah. 

[00:28:32] Interviewer: So let's talk then about Shabbat. What would happen on Shabbat in your home? 

[00:28:39] Lily Daniel: Shabbat I don't remember whether they used to go to synagogue but I remember it's like a traditional Iraqi food. Like we had the t’bit and the [inaudible]. Like the eggs, the brown eggs so we were, grow - I mean, we were sheltered in a way that I didn't feel anything. Whether my siblings felt, that's something else. Because they were older. 

[00:29:02] Interviewer: I understand that but let's just talk about Shabbat. So Shabbat, you know, it gets dark and so you have Shabbat. Did your father, did you go around the table and you'd have Kiddush and [overlap]

[00:29:13] Lily Daniel: No, no, no. None of that. We are not, we are traditional Jews. Like, we weren't, but Rosh Hashanah and Pessah and those we -

[00:29:23] Interviewer: So tell me about Pessah. What would Pessah be like? You're a little girl, Pessah...

[00:29:28] Lily Daniel: Well for sure but what it was, actually, I mean we had nowhere to go right? So my mother used to sew for us pyjamas. 

[00:29:38] Interviewer: [laughs]

[00:29:39] Lily Daniel: So wear pyjamas, that's why they call them Iraqi pyjama right? So we were, we had our pyjamas on and we sit and we do the Brachot. My, my father and mother. and they knew it by heart somehow. Like, my mother till now she knows it by heart all the, she doesn't read the Sidduch but she knows it by heart. And maybe that's the upbringing back in Baghdad, all of them, maybe, I don't know. 

[00:30:05] Interviewer: Was your mother literate? Could she read?

[00:30:07] Lily Daniel: No, no, she, yes. She reads. 

[00:30:09] Interviewer: But not in Hebrew. 

[00:30:10] Lily Daniel: Not in Hebrew, I don't know Hebrew but for sure French. She went to the Alliance. So she spoke...

[00:30:16] Interviewer: She spoke French. 

[00:30:17] Lily Daniel: French. 

[00:30:19] Interviewer: Okay so your father spoke English. 

[00:30:22] Lily Daniel: Yes. 

[00:30:22] Interviewer: Your mother spoke French. 

[00:30:23] Lily Daniel: Yeah. 

[00:30:24] Interviewer: Kids are speaking Arabic at home. 

[00:30:26] Lily Daniel: Yeah. 

[00:30:27] Interviewer: Did you not speak any of her French or English?

[00:30:29] Lily Daniel: No, they learned it by, no, no. They don't speak. It doesn't work that way, no. 

[00:30:34] Interviewer: Your father, did he speak French?

[00:30:36] Lily Daniel: No. 

[00:30:37] Interviewer: And your mother spoke French. Okay. 

[00:30:39] Lily Daniel: It depends which school they went to. 

[00:30:41] Interviewer: So your mother went to Alliance. And your father went to...

[00:30:44] Lily Daniel: I have no idea. 

[00:30:45] Interviewer: No idea. And you went to Menahem. [laughs]

[00:30:48] Lily Daniel: And my siblings went to Frank Eny, all of them. 

[00:30:51] Interviewer: They all went to Frank Eny. 

[00:30:53] Lily Daniel: All of them. To Frank Eny. 

[00:30:56] Interviewer: So the for Pessah there would be, would there be anyone else at the table?

[00:31:02] Lily Daniel: No, no. 

[00:31:02] Interviewer: Just the family. 

[00:31:03] Lily Daniel: the family. And I remember only one when, after my sisters left. 

[00:31:08] Interviewer: Only after when your sisters left. 

[00:31:10] Lily Daniel: Yeah, I don't remember before. 

[00:31:13] Interviewer: And did, would you be the one that would be saying [inaudible] and the questions? Would they ask you to do this or would your father say it?

[00:31:21] Lily Daniel: No. 

[00:31:23] Interviewer: Do you remember?

[00:31:23] Lily Daniel: No I don't. That was just praying and then we were ready to eat. 

[00:31:27] Interviewer: Did you go to synagogue for Pessah?

[00:31:29] Lily Daniel: Yeah, or not Pessah, no. Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippur. 

[00:31:34] Interviewer: You would go to synagogue. 

[00:31:35] Lily Daniel: Yeah. Kippur we used to have that calèche, like the horse with the thing before coming to pick us up and go there. 

[00:31:45] Interviewer: And were there, by the time of the '70's there weren't many people left I don't think. 

[00:31:49] Lily Daniel: No. No. And not many Jews right? So that's why my Arabic there were like a lot of the words that I speak in Arabic, the Jewish dialect, it's more Muslim. 

[00:32:01] Interviewer: It's more Muslim. 

[00:32:03] Lily Daniel: It's more Muslim like when I came here people were saying, what is it? What are - because there weren't many Jews left. 

[00:32:11] Interviewer: Right, there would have been very, very few Jews. Did…you had a tv in your house?

[00:32:18] Lily Daniel: Yeah, black and white. [laughs]

[00:32:23] Interviewer: So you had a black and white TV. 

[00:32:24] Lily Daniel: Small. 

[00:32:26] Interviewer: And you had a radio in your house. 

[00:32:28] Lily Daniel: Yes. 

[00:32:29] Interviewer: So did you ever try to, was anything about Israel or Zionism ever talked about in your house?

[00:32:35] Lily Daniel: No. No. Actually, um, we didn't speak about it until when I went to Holland actually. And even the Holocaust, who's is gonna speak about it? We were like sheltered. We were like, I don't know whatever you wand to call it. But when I went into Holland I went to Jewish school and they showed us the Holocaust and it was like, for me, a shock. [00:33:00] I started asking -actually, when I was in Iraq, when the Ba'ath Party took the Jewish school over, which is in 1975, '76, our principal uh, Sit Marcelle [ph] we used to call her, became the vice-principal and they put a Ba'ath principal, so it belonged to the Ba'ath party. [00:33:25] And she thought I was a Muslim. I was very active, very smart and very dark. And uh, she liked me so she goes, you, you go and uh, raise the flag, the Iraqi flag. So every Thursday I would go and I looked at the Jewish principal, I knew there was something wrong. I looked at her and she goes, yeah, just do it. Like, don't talk. Just do it. [00:33:48] So every Thursday I would go and raise it. So anyway, when I, we went to  Holland started like one of the things like, you have to understand, I didn't speak the language still. And the little English I spoke, the little Dutch I spoke I had to get by and they started talking about Zionism. And I go...hello? Zionism, Zionist? It's, it's our enemy. [inaudible]. And that was, and I never told my parents that's what was getting into our brain until slowly, slowly get it out of your brain. [00:34:32] I mean, they brainwash you. 

[00:34:33] Interviewer: So you sort of like were in some way schizoid. On the one hand you were Jewish and you were afraid of smiling if you went out the front door with your neighbour across the street. 

[00:34:43] Lily Daniel: Couldn't. 

[00:34:45] Interviewer: And on the other hand, side you're raising the flag and you have these two different...

[00:34:51] Lily Daniel: That's right. And I, I remember going like, to school. You see, I had no fear. I don't know why it is. I remember I was walking and they go, ah, [Arabic]. Like, there is the Jew. But I would look at them but I wasn't scared, somehow. I don't know why. Don't ask me. 

[00:35:11] Interviewer: And you walked to school yourself? Or with your siblings?

[00:35:14] Lily Daniel: with my si - no my siblings after they had to leave to another school to high school. I was still in elementary. And they went to  non-Jewish because it didn't exist any Jewish high schools. So they went - and it was just a very short period. Because we left in October. 

[00:35:33] Interviewer: But you’re going, how did you get to school? you walked to school?

[00:35:37] Lily Daniel: Uh...

[00:35:37] Interviewer: Or did your father take you in the car?

[00:35:39] Lily Daniel: No, no, we had no car anymore. Um...we walked to school actually. Towards like, we used to walk and then sometimes by bus. The bus used to come and take us. 

[00:35:52] Interviewer: And so, but everyone knew you were Jewish. 

[00:35:54] Lily Daniel: Everybody knew I was Jewish.

[00:35:56] Interviewer: But your...teacher. 

[00:35:58] Lily Daniel: No, that was the principal. She was just new. 

[00:36:02] Interviewer: She was just new. 

[00:36:03] Lily Daniel: Okay and we didn't stay long. Because they closed it. We didn't stay long and they moved us to another school to, and I remember like three of us sitting on one like, little bench. We didn't even have time, like place to, to put our books. But then we left after a month. 

[00:36:22] Interviewer: But there would have been very few Jewish people by then. 

[00:36:25] Lily Daniel: Very few. 

[00:36:26] Interviewer: So you would have stood out as a Jew if - 

[00:36:32] Lily Daniel: They put us in a Christian...

[00:36:35] Interviewer: Christian. 

[00:36:35] Lily Daniel: In a Christian school. So, and then I left and that was erased completely. So I don't have any history there. Like, we didn't even study by the way. I was like, three weeks, three only. 

[00:36:50] Interviewer: So when you were, you know, in school from age five to then, did you do any activities? Any sports? Any drama? Anything?

[00:36:58] Lily Daniel: Uh...sports yeah, like soccer. Actually, when I went to Holland it was like a boy competing against girls. I won all the medals. I was good at ping-pong like table tennis. Very good. So that took over in Holland as well so all the medals, basketball, soccer I was very good. And our favourite game...well, it was not a school like back home, it was like a little tire with a stick going behind it. A lot, so, the little that we could do. Third-world. 

[00:37:39] Interviewer: Okay so, when we're going back here, let me go back to, so you talked about your father being in jail against in '69. The hangings. And then you're leading up to and, and people are leaving very much in, after the hangings in '70 and '71. 

[00:37:59] Lily Daniel: Because they had visas. 

[00:38:01] Interviewer: Because - well many were also escaping. 

[00:38:02] Lily Daniel: Escaping through, yeah. We had that chance. 

[00:38:07] Interviewer: So you had the chance, you went on vacation and your father - but of course you would not know this at all. You only found out later. 

[00:38:12] Lily Daniel: Later. Yeah. 

[00:38:12] Interviewer: And um...

[00:38:16] Lily Daniel: But my father couldn't. He didn't know. Like, he was just out of prison and he was up north really with another two friends of ours like, two families and uh, and he came to us. He says like, "I can cross you over." But my father was too scared. 

[00:38:34] Interviewer: Did they go?

[00:38:35] Lily Daniel: No. They came back and they left. One of them, one of the families did leave after. 

[00:38:42] Interviewer: But yours did not. 

[00:38:44] Lily Daniel: No. 

[00:38:45] Interviewer: So between 1970 and 1973 life got harder. 

[00:38:50] Lily Daniel: Sure. 

[00:38:51] Interviewer: Was your father arrested again?

[00:38:52] Lily Daniel: No. 

[00:38:54] Interviewer: And your - okay so the war comes in 1973. Do you remember this at all? The Israeli war or the  [inaudible] war? 

[00:39:02] Lily Daniel: Uh...I don't remember but all I remember is the middle of the night, my father with the radio, like very, very quietly but I didn't know. Don't forget like, uh, if you, like before, like a week before my sisters left so the house was empty as well. 

[00:39:20] Interviewer: Where were your brothers?

[00:39:21] Lily Daniel: With me. 

[00:39:22] Interviewer: With you. They were still there. 

[00:39:23] Lily Daniel: Yes. So two brothers and me stayed behind. 

[00:39:28] Interviewer: And had your brothers, were they bar mitzvah age yet or no by that time?

[00:39:33] Lily Daniel: In, not yet. 

[00:39:38] Interviewer: Not yet. So did they have a bar mitzvah later on in the house or something like that?

[00:39:42] Lily Daniel: No. No. 

[00:39:44] Interviewer: So after '73 there could have been, what? Maybe a thousand Jewish families, very few. 

[00:39:48] Lily Daniel: No, not even, I don't think so. 

[00:39:52] Interviewer: Even less. 

[00:39:52] Lily Daniel: Yeah. 

[00:39:53] Interviewer: So, and your father, your father never talked about leaving or not leaving? 

[00:39:57] Lily Daniel: No, he was having that hope uh, and uh, that...his business was taken over after by, okay, and thy shut it down and he started uh, having contacts because yeah, he worked all his life. He wasn't he was hoping that he's gonna go back to work and work and make money and leave because you have to understand. [00:40:23] Of course, that didn't happen. They used him until he realized like, he did a deal for one of the Muslim and he told him what's my portion? He told him what you think you are collecting? Like you are inheriting money? So my father came to realize that there is no hope here anymore. Which was  a little bit too late actually in '76. [00:40:49] Until they made - so my mother went and uh, was because my father, one of his family was married, his cousin, I don't know, he had connections with Tikrit. Tikrit was where Saddam Hussein was born, came from. And my father used to visit them back then, like before. [00:41:13] And he became friendly with the uncle of Saddam. So they went, my mother and father, to the [name] that's what his name, and he told - he said uh, like uh, they begged him to give us the visas and to make us like, leave. And that's when we got it and we left. It was very fast. Like we left everything like furniture, nothing. [00:41:41] We went with [overlap]

[00:41:42] Interviewer: He would have had to bribe the person. 

[00:41:44] Lily Daniel: No. It was like family. Like the Arabs work on Sharaf [ph], which is if I have connections like he knew him from childhood so uh, like my father and he remember oh [inaudible]. At the time it was good. In the '50's it was okay. you have to understand that so when he, everything, your neighbour was your friend like, it's not, and you're a Muslim, you're Jewish. So, so he made us, he gave us and we went out alive. [00:42:14] Many didn't. 

[00:42:16] Interviewer: So I'm trying to understand this in a different kind of way. Your father is born in 1913 you said. 

[00:42:22] Lily Daniel: Yes. 

[00:42:23] Interviewer: So in 1973 he's already 50 years old. 

[00:42:28] Lily Daniel: Yeah. 

[00:42:29] Interviewer: I mean so he, he's a smart guy, he's seen everything changing, this Jewish community that in 1950, before 1953 was 150 000 or whatever. By 1953 there's 18 000 left. By the time you're up in the, with the Kurds in 1970 on vacation there's 1000, I mean, why do you think your father did not see the writing on the wall? 

[00:42:57] Lily Daniel: It's exactly like in the Holocaust. did anybody think anything is gonna change in, like in Holland even, did they know that they're gonna be attacked? No. They, they thought the Nazis are their brothers, Germany was their brothers. They weren't supposed to attack them. [00:43:15] It's a hopeful thinking. Wishful thinking. You know? So he was thinking that he's gonna make some money and get out with a little bit of money. Right? And it didn't happen. We went as refugees actually to Holland. 

[00:43:33] Interviewer: As refugees. 

[00:43:34] Lily Daniel: As refugees. You have to understand, with nothing, just luggage. 

[00:43:40] Interviewer: One suitcase? More?

[00:43:41] Lily Daniel: Uh, maybe five suitcases but one thing he did...and was very smart my father at the time, right? He, he had some papers from work because his contacts I mean, he’s not gonna remember. He had papers and what he took a chance by is taking a cactus plant and putting all this papers around the cactus plant as we were - and I remember that. [00:44:08] That at the airport, when we were going thorough the customs the guy goes, "What is this?" and he came and it pricked him. And he goes, my father goes, "thank god he didn't open the papers." He says, "What is this?" He says, "This is a memory from Beledna Aziz [ph], which is our beloved country, homeland. Beloved, okay? So to speak. And that's why when we went to Holland as refugees my father could work. [00:44:37] He made his contacts again and...and went on. 

[00:44:42] Interviewer: Did your mother never uh, do you ever remember your father and mother having a discussion, arguing where she would say, "We have to leave" and he says - 

[00:44:51] Lily Daniel: No. 

[00:44:51] Interviewer: No. 

[00:44:52] Lily Daniel: No, no, no. Nothing. None of that. Maybe they did in the house while I was playing outside, I don't know. So no. that I don't. 

[00:45:01] Interviewer: So between '73 and '76, the Israeli war, Yom Kippur War, so you're now eight years old. Your have enough memories, what was life like between age eight and you left '76 you said so...

[00:45:14] Lily Daniel: Eleven. 

[00:45:16] Interviewer: So you have memories of this. What was it - 

[00:45:17] Lily Daniel: That's, the memory was going to school, doing well in school and whatever but yet I know I had to be very aware. Like, I'm Jewish. Like I remember like, walking down the street even to  go to the convenience store saying, "Ah that's Jew - " but then our neighbours were protecting us like in a way. Like, we became like a family because we went into an apartment...building. [00:45:45] Like uh, and uh, we  were like, like "safe". 

[00:45:51] Interviewer: Did you have any personal incidents of anti-Semitism? Or anti - anti-Jewish? 

[00:45:57] Lily Daniel: Yeah, like Jewish, no, like hitting us whatever? No. But I remember there was no food actually. that you had to stand in line to get like, bananas or eggs. There wasn't - there was scarce. And to this day I, I don't understand. It's a rich country and they didn't have that. It's not only us Jews, everybody. 

[00:46:20] Interviewer: Everybody. But you were called on the street one would say you're a Jew. 

[00:46:26] Lily Daniel: [Arabic] That's a Jew. 

[00:46:27] Interviewer: And at school they would do the same? 

[00:46:29] Lily Daniel: No. 

[00:46:29] Interviewer: Not at school. 

[00:46:30] Lily Daniel: My best friend was a Muslim Shia Armenian, we were three Jews actually. 

[00:46:40] Interviewer: Did these friends come to your house?

[00:46:42] Lily Daniel: To my house? Yes. 

[00:46:45] Interviewer: So the Shia girl - 

[00:46:48] Lily Daniel: Boy. 

[00:46:48] Interviewer: Boy, he would come to the house. 

[00:46:49] Lily Daniel: Yes. 

[00:46:50] Interviewer: And the uh, and would you go to his house?

[00:46:54] Lily Daniel: Uh, for birthdays. Yes.

[00:46:56] Interviewer: For birthdays. But otherwise...

[00:46:57] Lily Daniel: But the Jews, the girl would come and the boy, as well. Because the family were friends. 

[00:47:03] Interviewer: Right, so the Jewish would come but this one Shia boy would come...

[00:47:08] Lily Daniel: To my house if I had, to play no but I did go to his house. Yes, for a birthday party. 

[00:47:15] Interviewer: But it wasn't like uh, like the Jewish friends coming. 

[00:47:17] Lily Daniel: No. 

[00:47:19] Interviewer: You were much more um, protected and...

[00:47:22] Lily Daniel: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We were in a, in a bubble with the Jews. 

[00:47:27] Interviewer: So when you left in '76, what's your memory of that day? Getting up. You knew you were leaving? Did your father say you were going to be leaving?

[00:47:35] Lily Daniel: Yeah we knew. We knew we were leaving. 

[00:47:34] Interviewer: [overlap] advance. 

[00:47:40] Lily Daniel: Maybe a week in advance. 

[00:47:41] Interviewer: So what did you - that last week, what were you thinking?

[00:47:44] Lily Daniel: Oh we were very happy. Oh, like uh, like I knew because I remembered that, when my sisters left. So we were happy to leave. There was and every - everybody, all my friends came to say good bye the night before and whatever and we left. [00:48:02] So once we went to [place name]. When we landed we were still scared. We were - I knew like, my parents why did, like, they are scared who comes in, in the airplane, because we just stayed in the airplane, we didn't get off. Stayed and the door opens and they are scared like they're gonna come and take us until we got into Holland. 

[00:48:25] Interviewer: So did you, so that last day, when you're leaving, do you, when you woke up did you walk around the apartment? Did you look at things? 

[00:48:34] Lily Daniel: No. We were happy to leave. 

[00:48:36] Interviewer: Just happy to leave. 

[00:48:36] Lily Daniel: Bye bye. Yeah. Nothing to take away with us just happy to be alive really. 

[00:48:42] Interviewer: Did you take any special like, you don't have your doll but did you take anything - 

[00:48:47] Lily Daniel: No. Nothing. Nothing. No. What memories? No. Yeah, the cactus that saved us. Well, we knew about killings by the way. I did know about the killing because there were two that were uh, tailors. they were across our house when my sisters were living. [00:49:07] They took them never to come back. We all knew. But it was not talked about. It's not like "Oh they killed them" or - we knew. 

[00:49:17] Interviewer: So there was this sense of like um...

[00:49:19] Lily Daniel: You know 

[00:49:19] Interviewer: Everyone knew what was going on. 

[00:49:21] Lily Daniel: Everybody but you don't talk. 

[00:49:23] Interviewer: this kind of tension. 

[00:49:25] Lily Daniel: Tension, yeah. You knew, you have to, you are, you grow up much faster than everybody here. Like...

[00:49:33] Interviewer: So you had a kind of maturity of self-preservation maybe. 

[00:49:38] Lily Daniel: Well, we were more mature, for sure. We, we saw more. It's like when people are at war they are, they grow us differently than our own kids in this beautiful country, like in Canada, right? My kids don't know like, an eleven years old, the same experience as me? No.

[00:50:01] Interviewer: Did soldiers ever come into your home? 

[00:50:04] Lily Daniel: Soldiers? 

[00:50:05] Interviewer: Iraqi soldiers ever come into your home? 

[00:50:07] Lily Daniel: No. It was not soldiers. They come [Arabic], which is the...secret service. 

[00:50:13] Interviewer: Secret service. Did they come to your house?

[00:50:15] Lily Daniel: Uh, no. Not that I remember coming to my house, no. 

[00:50:20] Interviewer: So you don't - when your father was arrested  he wasn't arrested at home. Or do you...

[00:50:24] Lily Daniel: I don't know. 

[00:50:25] Interviewer: But after '69  he didn't go back to jail. 

[00:50:28] Lily Daniel: No. 

[00:50:28] Interviewer: So you pick up and you leave and you go to Czechoslovakia [?] and then you go to Holland. 

[00:50:34] Lily Daniel: Holland. 

[00:50:34] Interviewer: So now you're in 1976 you say. 

[00:50:37] Lily Daniel: That's right, October - 

[00:50:38] Interviewer: You're in Holland, you're 11 years old. So tell me about Holland. 

[00:50:41] Lily Daniel: Holland. The best thing that ever happened, right? So...for sure. We go to a Jewish school. You're protected, right? You don't speak the language, you don't, it's a culture shock, it's uh, temperature shock for you but you adjust. You adjust to it and uh, it was a Jewish life because right away uh, they got us in. [00:51:04] We got integrated right away um, uh, and really I think we, we made many friends, like me and my two brothers because we were all - they actually went to high school, I went to Rohsmina [ph] and then I moved with them. And uh, they were very smart of course when you are smart you become popular, right? Everybody and you have certain respect. [00:51:29] And uh, we moved on. We never, never felt anything less than anybody and uh...

[00:51:40] Interviewer: Okay but you spoke Arabic. 

[00:51:40] Lily Daniel: Arabic. [overlap] A little English.

[00:51:41] Interviewer: A little English. 

[00:51:43] Lily Daniel: And no Dutch. 

[00:51:44] Interviewer: And no Dutch. But the classes were in Dutch. 

[00:51:46] Lily Daniel: In Dutch. Right. So it's movement and whatever [overlap]

[00:51:50] Interviewer: Do you have a special tutor or something? 

[00:51:51] Lily Daniel: Um...not really, we just integrated and integrated slowly, slowly with movement and I remember everything that they would give us I would translate from Dutch to English, English to Arabic. And on every word I would write what it means. Because my English wasn't good. And then high school we started taking of course, different languages, which is Hebrew and uh, I took [touches mic] German. Not French. Little did I know I was coming here. But I took German and French was my last one. [00:52:30] So but uh, that's what I was good in languages. 

[00:52:35] Interviewer: What did you father do to make a living then?

[00:52:37] Lily Daniel: So that's it, so with his papers he, I used to see him going to work every day so he used to bring us money. 

[00:52:46] Interviewer: What did he do?

[00:52:47] Lily Daniel: Through commodities. 

[00:52:48] Interviewer: Through commodities. 

[00:52:50] Lily Daniel: Yes, he had, he went to a Dutch - and his English, as I said was very good, so he went to a Dutch "firm" and he started making the connections. And he worked. 

[00:53:03] Interviewer: And did you have any help in the house at all?

[00:53:06] Lily Daniel: No, no, no, no. No, what help? No. [overlap] I was helping. 

[00:53:11] Interviewer: You were the helper. 

[00:53:11] Lily Daniel: We, we helped, we did everything. It's not like now. 

[00:53:16] Interviewer: So just um, trying to understand here, your two sisters had left. 

[00:53:21] Lily Daniel: Three. 

[00:53:22] Interviewer: Three sisters had left and some went to Israel and some went to London? 

[00:53:26] Lily Daniel: No, they went all to Israel. So they went to a boarding school. They knew - I mean my aunts from my father's side took them in. Then they put them in boarding school in [Jerusalem] Jerusalem. And then they did uh, two of them went to the army. The third one, when she was 17, 16 uh, my parents said, we're going to bring her to us. And we brought her to Holland. 

[00:53:50] Interviewer: You brought her to Holland. 

[00:53:51] Lily Daniel: So she never - and then she stayed with us. Then we moved to London and she got married in London and my two brothers, of course, there. And I moved to London too but I met my husband and moved here. 

[00:54:03] Interviewer: We'll get back to that for a second. So what I'm trying to understand here is you're living in Iraq. Your three sisters are in Israel so do you have any contact with them? Were they able to write letters to you? 

[00:54:14] Lily Daniel: Letters maybe they were writing through [overlap] No, not to me, not. 

[00:54:20] Interviewer: Not to you. 

[00:54:21] Lily Daniel: No. 

[00:54:22] Interviewer: Did you write letters to them? 

[00:54:22] Lily Daniel: No. 

[00:54:24] Interviewer: So you don't remember really any -

[00:54:25] Lily Daniel: No, no contact, not, not me. No. We didn't know whether we were gonna see them so in '76, when we arrived in October, we didn't see, me and my mother, we didn't - were the only one that left in '77 in July '77 to go meet my sisters. So we didn't -

[00:54:46] Interviewer: To Israel. 

[00:54:46] Lily Daniel: To Israel. 

[00:54:48] Interviewer: So that was the first time...

[00:54:49] Lily Daniel: [overlap] You have to understand, we had not money, we were refugees still. So it took a few years until my father could work and establish he contact and work. So we had no money. There is nothing. Even in uh, in schools they took us on, the Jewish assistance like they, they helped us out. 

[00:55:10] Interviewer: There's an organisation called JIAS, Jewish Immigrant Aid Society, did they help you at all? Do you know? 

[00:55:17] Lily Daniel: I wouldn’t know. 

[00:55:18] Interviewer: But these were different organisations that helped you in Holland. 

[00:55:21] Lily Daniel: All I remember, they put us in a hotel, somebody uh, somebody came and met us in the airport. [overlap] 

[00:55:29] Interviewer: In Amsterdam. 

[00:55:29] Lily Daniel: In Amsterdam. they took us to a hotel and met us and a social worker was coming. And we lived in the hotel uh, in Amsterdam, actually for, next to the Van Gogh museum actually for maybe almost a year there. In a two, we had two rooms. That's it. So then uh, uh, they made contacts to be able to at least have soup at the hotel like, to eat and whatever. [00:55:59] And then like, warm food and not only ordering. Because we didn't have a kitchen. Right? Until later on in the year, we moved into an apartment. And...

[00:56:12] Interviewer: And the - whatever that Jewish organisation was helping you do that too. 

[00:56:16] Lily Daniel: It's a Jewish uh, it's the Dutch Jewish organisation there. It must be only one, I don't remember. But it must be only one that took us. They knew that we are coming. 

[00:56:24] Interviewer: And they helped you buy clothes and things like that?

[00:56:28] Lily Daniel: Yeah, put us in school, uh, helped us even with furniture. We couldn't bring any money out, nothing. 

[00:56:36] Interviewer: Because you came as a refugee so there was...

[00:56:39] Lily Daniel: Nothing. 

[00:56:40] Interviewer: So when you went to Israel to visit your sisters this would have been, you say '77. You’re not 12 years old. So you had not seen your sisters since when? '73?

[00:56:52] Lily Daniel: '73 but you have to understand like, now I remember, like my father when, in the 30's, when he went to Palestine and Israel then he had some money and he gave it to my aunts but my aunts, instead of buying property in his own money, because it was a lot of money at the time, they said, no, we'll keep it. And it was...reduced to nothing. Right? [00:57:20] [00:57:20] Interviewer: So he had a little bit of money when we came to Holland. So we took some money out from them like, a - it's his money, it's not their money. But it's, it kept - so that way we were also a little bit that we could live well that I didn't feel anything. Not less than any my uh, other students in my class or whatever. Never felt I was less. 

[00:57:49] Interviewer: So they Jewish - were there other Jewish students from other countries like from Iraq or other? You were only foreigners?

[00:57:56] Lily Daniel: At that time yeah. There were but I don't know whether they were refugees. Later on, they started coming. 

[00:58:02] Interviewer: From where? 

[00:58:02] Lily Daniel: From Iraq. 

[00:58:04] Interviewer: More refuges came to. 

[00:58:06] Lily Daniel: Iraq. 

[00:58:06] Interviewer: Iraq. 

[00:58:07] Lily Daniel: Yes. 

[00:58:07] Interviewer: Do you know the name Cynthia Kaplan at all?

[00:58:11] Lily Daniel: Yes. Cynthia was in my class. [overlap] Shamash. 

[00:58:15] Interviewer: Shamash was in your class. 

[00:58:17] Lily Daniel: She's Cynthia Shamash. 

[00:58:19] Interviewer: Yes, yes, yes. So tell me about Cynthia. Tell me how did you meet Cynthia? 

[00:58:22] Lily Daniel: Well Cynthia, I don't think she was a refugee. I think they, they were already because when I came in she already spoke Dutch. And I don't think they were refugees at the time. I don't know their life story but we were in the same apartment building as them. 

[00:58:39] Interviewer: Living in the same apartment building. 

[00:58:41] Lily Daniel: Yeah, all the Iraqis, ended, ended up there, I don't know how. 

[00:58:45] Interviewer: In that building, yeah. And she ended up in the same class as you?

[00:58:50] Lily Daniel: Yeah. Yeah, she was, yeah she ended up with the same class as me. 

[00:58:56] Interviewer: So had she been to London yet and come back? you remember?

[00:59:01] Lily Daniel: No. [overlap] No, I remember her with her, she has a brother and two sisters. I remember, and her mother. I don't think she had her father. I 

[00:59:14] Interviewer: Did you visit her ever in her home? Do you remember?

[00:59:16] Lily Daniel: Where? In Holland? 

[00:59:18] Interviewer: In Holland. 

[00:59:18] Lily Daniel: Yeah, yeah, yes. We were friends. We were friends then. Back then. 

[00:59:25] Interviewer: Uh-huh. So I'm just getting a picture of this now. So in your apartment, where you were living, when they moved you there, in the hotel there were other Iraqis too. 

[00:59:36] Lily Daniel: Not in the hotel. 

[00:59:37] Interviewer: No. Just in the apartment. 

[00:59:38] Lily Daniel: Hotel, that's when we came in. 

[00:59:41] Interviewer: Okay, spend a year there, then you go to this apartment. 

[00:59:43] Lily Daniel: Apartment and they were there. 

[00:59:45] Interviewer: And they were there too. 

[00:59:46] Lily Daniel: So therefore there - you spoke Arabic to - so there's all these people speaking. Then you go out to your school and you're speaking Dutch. 

[00:59:53] Lily Daniel: Suppo - yeah. 

[00:59:54] Interviewer: Trying to. 

[00:59:55] Lily Daniel: Trying. 

[00:59:56] Interviewer: Trying. 

[00:59:57] Lily Daniel: It took us, it took us a while. 

[00:59:58] Interviewer: Yeah, it took some time but in the apartment where there were these Iraqis, you could speak Arabic and it was kind of a culture kind of.

[01:00:07] Lily Daniel: That's right. There were a few Iraqis living there so they used to come and drink tea at our house or we go and, and drink tea at their house. So no, we were friendly. 

[01:00:18] Interviewer: And so did your parents begin to make friends with these Iraqis? 

[01:00:20] Lily Daniel: Yes. But my parents always knew they had to leave and go to London. You see, London at that time didn't take any refugees neither they took anybody that had money. Not that we had, but they didn't. So their plan was to go to Holland, I mean Holland was the only one that took us as refugees, go to Holland and then move to London. 

[01:00:45] Interviewer: I see. 

[01:00:45] Lily Daniel: Because my mother ha, still has two brothers and now a sister living there. So she had family so at least she would go to London. And it took us nine years to get the Dutch passport. Nine years. Nine years to get to a Dutch passport, to be able to move to London and live in London. 

[01:01:08] Interviewer: So did your mother or you ever visit London in those nine years? 

[01:01:14] Lily Daniel: No. Not me. My mother and my sister, the third sister they used to go for  a New Year's party and visit and take her there and have, no, not me. 

[01:01:28] Interviewer: So when you go, you say, let's go back to Israel. So you go to Israel with your mother, you’re twelve years old or whatever and you haven't seen your sister for four years, your sisters. What was that like?

[01:01:39] Lily Daniel: Oh, it's amazing. Like, like hugging and kissing and then I remember my third sister taking me to the beach and that was like a memory I'll never forget. So, first time seeing a beach in my - 

[01:01:53] Interviewer: First time seeing a beach? 

[01:01:53] Lily Daniel: For sure. 

[01:01:54] Interviewer: Bikini? 

[01:01:56] Lily Daniel: No, that I didn't care. It's not the bikinis. Just the, the water like, endless like you see the whole thing. I went [gasp]. Like, that memory.

 [01:02:06] Interviewer: And, of course, did people, your sisters uh, spoke Arabic but they spoke Hebrew already. 

[01:02:13] Lily Daniel: For sure. 

[01:02:14] Interviewer: Right but you spoke no Hebrew. 

[01:02:16] Lily Daniel: No. 

[01:02:17] Interviewer: And people in the society weren't really speaking English so much yet. 

[01:02:21] Lily Daniel: No but I speak Arabic. 

[01:02:23] Interviewer: Right so you spoke Arabic to your sisters and what about to other people? Did you - in Israel when you were there for....

[01:02:30] Lily Daniel: Most of them speak Arabic. Well, who? It's my family that we went to see. It’s not like I'm going on my own to go and buy something. 

[01:02:38] Interviewer: Right. 

[01:02:39] Lily Daniel: You know, you're going with family. 

[01:02:40] Interviewer: With family. 

[01:02:41] Lily Daniel: Going to my grandmother, to my aunt, my uncles. They wanted - her brothers she didn't seen them since the '50's my mother. 

[01:02:49] Interviewer: Wow. 

[01:02:51] Lily Daniel: You have to understand that. '50's. They left on Kibbutz. They went to the kibbutz on the...And then uh, she had to see them all. 

[01:03:00] Interviewer: And do you remember what areas of Tel Aviv your family was living in? Or your...

[01:03:05] Lily Daniel: Which family?

[01:03:06] Interviewer: Say your sisters. 

[01:03:07] Lily Daniel: My sisters were in Yerushalayim...

[01:03:10] Interviewer: And where in Yerushalayim?

[01:03:11] Lily Daniel: It's in a boarding school. In a boarding school they were. They didn't have apartments. 

[01:03:17] Interviewer: They lived in a boarding school. So for, for the weekend if they came in the weekend they stayed with my father's sisters. 

[01:03:25] Interviewer: And where did they live? 

[01:03:25] Lily Daniel: Uh, one I think in Peta Tikva, the other one I don't know where. I have no idea. 

[01:03:31] Interviewer: And when your mother met her brothers again, they were in a kibbutz? You said in a kibbutz?

[01:03:36] Lily Daniel: No, they left to a kibbutz in the '50's but then by the time they, we came in '77 they were a judge, a lawyer and uh - they had...[overlap] established. They were established already. Accountants, so each one has him home. 

[01:03:55] Interviewer: So you basically were uh...

[01:03:57] Lily Daniel: But we went to Ramat Gan, to my grandmother. 

[01:04:00] Interviewer: You went to your grandmother's in Ramat Gan. And do you have stories of your grandmother that you remember then from that trip in Ramat Gan?

[01:04:07] Lily Daniel: No, we stayed and...loved her like I didn't see her since '72 when she left so hugs and kisses and....different. I don't know. Like, we are free like, different. You know when you're a teenage you're different and in Holland, don't forget, it's, it's a culture shock as well we changed. you want to belong there but you can't as an Iraqi, you know, you have different values. [01:04:34] You can't go out with a boyfriend or, so it's the whole issue so it was a whole transition like, going through all...

[01:04:45] Interviewer: So I'm thinking of you sort of like in a [inaudible] kind of, you know, a circus where...

[01:04:53] Lily Daniel: But you adjust. 

[01:04:54] Interviewer: one kind of life. You go to Holland and then you're in Israel. And each time it's  -

[01:05:00] Lily Daniel: Yeah, you adjust. You adjust. You learn to adjust. 

[01:05:04] Interviewer: Okay. 

[01:05:04] Lily Daniel: And I came here also I adjusted. 

[01:05:07] Interviewer: But each of these times, as you adjust in the process there must be bumps along the way or you don't....?

[01:05:15] Lily Daniel: You deal with it. Whatever bumps, you deal with it. Like, even here, coming here like from London to here, who did I know? Nobody. Nobody. I knew, I hardly knew my husband. I have no family here. You adjust. As a Jew, you go on and you adjust. That's what makes us, that's what made us actually. Like uh, Baghdad whether it was good or not, that’s...[01:05:43] For me, as an experience for me, you're a fighter and you adjust and you made the best out of the situation. Never look back. 

[01:05:51] Interviewer: When you were in Israel in '76, '77 you're 12 years old. 

[01:05:59] Lily Daniel: Yes. 

[01:05:59] Interviewer: So you're that age where you can enjoy things and what, do you remember what Israel was like then? Was it...Very uh, was it modern to you compared to Amsterdam? Was it more...

[01:06:14] Lily Daniel: No, no, not like Amsterdam but I think it was like uh, comparable to...a bet - a little bit bet - like Iraq. I felt it's a Middle Eastern country. 

[01:06:27] Interviewer: So it felt Middle Eastern to you. 

[01:06:27] Lily Daniel: To me. Okay? Coming From Holland. So already..

[01:06:31] Interviewer: Because Holland is the west and Iraq is Middle Eastern. [overlap]

[01:06:34] Lily Daniel: Yeah but yet not very Arab. Like, Iraq is a very Arab, Arab. Here I knew it was a Jewish state and I was with my cousins who were Israelis already and they have a completely different outlook on life than us. [01:06:50] But uh, but we were more mature because we went through different hurdles in life. But uh, yeah, it was not here and not there. Not very Middle Eastern and not Western. 

[01:07:05] Interviewer: And did you think of every staying in Israel when you were there?

[01:07:08] Lily Daniel: No, we knew we were not staying. I knew - we - I knew from the beginning. Like, my parents wouldn't, our mentality was different. 

[01:07:16] Interviewer: So you go back to Amsterdam, you live in Amsterdam for nine years. Did you become a member of a synagogue? Did you...

[01:07:23] Lily Daniel: Um, we went to the Spanish and Portuguese, whether my parents were members or not I have no idea. 

[01:07:28] Interviewer: And you went for Rosh Hashanah again. 

[01:07:29] Lily Daniel: Spanish and Portuguese. 

[01:07:31] Interviewer: But not for Shabbat or any - just...

[01:07:32] Lily Daniel: No, no, no. 

[01:07:34] Interviewer: And did you celebrate Pessah or Shabbat?

[01:07:36] Lily Daniel: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I took even, I was in a Jewish...milieu. Like, really, all the way. So...

[01:07:44] Interviewer: So you - 

[01:07:45] Lily Daniel: My friends were Jews, my, everything. 

[01:07:49] Interviewer: Jews and Jewish Iraqi or Jewish...

[01:07:53] Lily Daniel: No, Dutch. 

[01:07:53] Interviewer: Jewish Dutch. 

[01:07:54] Lily Daniel: Dutch. 

[01:07:55] Interviewer: And uh, so you went to visit them in their homes and...

[01:07:58] Lily Daniel: Oh yeah. You know when you're good in sports as well, you become wanted. 

[01:08:04] Interviewer: Right. 

[01:08:04] Lily Daniel: Right? Popular. 

[01:08:07] Interviewer: And did you...

[01:08:08] Lily Daniel: I was like a boy. Don't forget. Growing up with two brothers I was like a boy. So I was strong. [laughs] Imagine it. Just imagine it. 

[01:08:20] Interviewer: Did you - were you involved in the Zionist activities now in the '70's at all? 

[01:08:26] Lily Daniel: any demonstration I will be the first one. 

[01:08:30] Interviewer: You would be the first one. 

[01:08:31] Lily Daniel: Yeah, I and I would confront the Arabs. And I speak Arabic. And I confronted [overlap]

[01:08:37] Interviewer: Do you - 

[01:08:37] Lily Daniel: And I remember like, confronting one and I said, don't you forget like Black September. Black September that they killed 2000 Palestinians in Jordan. like, you know. And like, I was with the Jews. I was up front and no fear. No fear. One thing is I never had fear. That's the thing and I can't explain you why. 

[01:08:59] Interviewer: So in the early 1980's and there were a lot of - PLO became more aggressive in lots of ways. And there were bombings in various places, you had the Israelis going to Lebanon. Did this at all, do you, were you involved in any kind of...

[01:09:18] Lily Daniel: No, Zionist activities? No. But whatever uh, like Jewish - we didn't, I don't think we felt it in Holland like the antisemi - Semitism or whatever. We were very free. 

[01:09:29] Interviewer: Very free. 

[01:09:30] Lily Daniel: Very free. Very free and no problems magen David, walking around, no problem, no. 

[01:09:37] Interviewer: And did you - 

[01:09:39] Lily Daniel: But yet, but yet, yet, our schools had inside, an armed undercover and the police was outside. We were gated. Okay? That's the Maimonides [ph]. Our synagogue, you had to ring. You cannot just walk in. Yes we did fell that way but that was part of life. 

[01:10:06] Interviewer: So - 

[01:10:06] Lily Daniel: I wasn't scared. 

[01:10:07] Interviewer: You're there from '76, '77 when you're 12 years old to - for nine years so you're there until the mid-80's. 

[01:10:15] Lily Daniel: Yeah, '85. 

[01:10:16] Interviewer: '85. So at that point you're going out with boys, dating I suppose, or not? 

[01:10:22] Lily Daniel: [shakes head] Shhh. [laughs] Well yeah but not telling my parents, right? 

[01:10:28] Interviewer: Not telling your parents. So did you date Jewish or non-Jewish? 

[01:10:30] Lily Daniel: Non Jewish. 

[01:10:30] Interviewer: Non Jewish. Cynthia tells me the same story. 

[01:10:34] Lily Daniel: You can't. You can't. It was a taboo. My parents were older. You can't  just tell them, "I'm going with a  boyfriend. I'm going out with a boyfriend." But he truth of it, I didn't really date like, wasn't, was always in my mind like, I can't do this to my parents as well. You know, no. Yes I dated non-Jews but didn't know, my parents didn't know. That's fine. [01:11:02] Went to clubs. They knew I was going to clubs and whatever with my friends but really I was a good girl. No...

[01:11:10] Interviewer: Did you, you felt a strong Jewish identity?

[01:11:14] Lily Daniel: Very. Never left that. 

[01:11:18] Interviewer: So nine years and did you go to university in Amsterdam?

[01:11:20] Lily Daniel: No. No, no, no. 

[01:11:21] Interviewer: Did you begin working? 

[01:11:23] Lily Daniel: No, I went in '85, I went to, to London and I enrolled in accounting actually and then uh, I met my husband after fours months of being in London. I got engaged within three weeks, [inaudible] coming to Canada. 

[01:11:40] Interviewer: And how did you meet your husband? 

[01:11:42] Lily Daniel: He was doing elective in dermatology in London and he has a sister living there. So he said, he chose London to be there and she happens to be my uncle's sister-in-law at the time. So, so...they made a shidduch. He was too old already, 27. 

[01:12:00] Interviewer: And how old were you then? 

[01:12:01] Lily Daniel: 20. [laughs]

[01:12:04] Interviewer: And...

[01:12:05] Lily Daniel: And I had  my other sister that wasn't married, like five years, so I was not in the "on the map" to be even thinking of these things, you know. So they met, we met and we're still here. 

[01:12:21] Interviewer: Still here. So you, he was from London? 

[01:12:24] Lily Daniel: En- no, from Canada. 

[01:12:26] Interviewer: He was from Canada so he was from Montreal?

[01:12:28] Lily Daniel: Well he was born in Iraq. At four years old they emigrated to Israel. At 12 years old uh, he had to leave like uh, the teacher told his mother like, it's better to send him somewhere to study to...he was uh, good at studying I guess. [01:12:50] And he went to London in a boarding school in Carmel College. Then he finished his A-level, came right away to Canada because his parents came to Canada in the end. And went to university, he did his undergraduate.

[01:13:04] Interviewer: In Montreal. 

[01:13:04] Lily Daniel: Montreal. McGill, all the way to McGill. Dermatology and uh, medicine. All through McGill and he was doing an elective for three months anywhere in the world. He chose London. And uh...there we are. 

[01:13:22] Interviewer: And so did you get married in London?

[01:13:25] Lily Daniel: No. We got married in Montreal. 

[01:13:28] Interviewer: So did your family come over [overlap] for the wedding?

[01:13:28] Lily Daniel: Yes. Yes. 

[01:13:31] Interviewer: And did your sisters...

[01:13:31] Lily Daniel: No, my sister didn't - two of my sisters in Israel, they didn't come. 

[01:13:37] Interviewer: And from London? 

[01:13:37] Lily Daniel: Everybody came from London. My aunt came also actually. My uncle form Israel they came so...some...

[01:13:45] Interviewer: And what was his name? Your husband's name? 

[01:13:48] Lily Daniel: Alfred Bilbul [ph]. 

[01:13:50] Interviewer: And you got married where in Montreal?

[01:13:53] Lily Daniel: At the Ritz Carleton. 

[01:13:54] Interviewer: At the Ritz Carleton. And did you become a member of a synagogue in...

[01:13:59] Lily Daniel: Spanish & Portuguese. 

[01:14:00] Interviewer: Spanish and Portuguese and at home, what language did you speak with your husband? 

[01:14:05] Lily Daniel: Well my husband his Arabic is very broken, he's illiterate in Arabic actually. So I spoke Arabic and uh, some of the words he doesn't - but his Arabic got much better so he speaks. Because I was more comfortable in Arabic. My English wasn't that great right? I was only four months in London. - it's still not that great but so [laughs]

[01:14:30] Interviewer: And did he speak French? 

[01:14:31] Lily Daniel: Yeah, he speaks English, French, Hebrew. 

[01:14:35] Interviewer: And, but you know no French. So did you learn French on the way? 

[01:14:38] Lily Daniel: Yeah. I learned French on the way. I learned, I knew a little bit but I learned, you have to. 

[01:14:45] Interviewer: And do  you have children? 

[01:14:45] Lily Daniel: I have three daughters. 

[01:14:47] Interviewer: And what are their names and when were they born?

[01:14:49] Lily Daniel: Melanie was born in '88 and actually she's become a psychiatrist last year. And then Celine was born in 1990 and she' a pharmacist. And Jennifer is 19 years old and she's at McGill. 

[01:15:07] Interviewer: And your daughters live in Montreal?

[01:15:09] Lily Daniel: They all live in Montreal. 

[01:15:10] Interviewer: Which school did they go to growing up? 

[01:15:13] Lily Daniel: Solomon Schechter, the three of them and two of the older ones when to Herzliah high school and then uh, my third daughter went to ECS. It's all girls school. It's in English all girls school. 

[01:15:30] Interviewer: And were you involved in any kind of Jewish organizations in Montreal over the years?

[01:15:37] Lily Daniel: Uh, later on in life really. Later on I started becoming uh, very involved with Beit Halochem which is injured soldiers of Israel, this is very close to my heart. And then later on my, my friend got Larger than life, she became the head, which is uh, actually kids with cancer. [01:15:59] And it's not only Jewish kid, it's any, and that's what I got and I volunteered a lot at our synagogue. 

[01:16:09] Interviewer: And did you, the community that you became involved are they mostly Iraqis or are they?

[01:16:16] Lily Daniel: [overlap] Yes. They are Iraqis. 

[01:16:18] Interviewer: And how did that happen? Through the synagogue or...?

[01:16:22] Lily Daniel: Uh, actually through school I guess. through school and synagogue. Synagogue because you see them more often like when Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and uh, my husband is more observant. I am not at all. Like, but we keep kosher and so I never liked to go to synagogue. It was only Yom Kippur. So the kids got to know each other and we started getting uh, so, even their, their friends are mostly Iraqis. Of course they have non Iraqis and uh, that's what is it. 

[01:16:54] Interviewer: And do your children speak Arabic?

[01:16:57] Lily Daniel: They understand. My second one understands and speaks it better then the other two because she went to London and my mother is there. So she spoke to my mother in Arabic. She went to study in London for five years. 

[01:17:11] Interviewer: And did you go back and forth to Israel at all to visit over the years?

[01:17:15] Lily Daniel: like...on holiday yeah. 

[01:17:20] Interviewer: Once a year? Every five years?

[01:17:22] Lily Daniel: It depends, sometimes I went once, sometimes I didn't go for three years. We went on the mission just like that. There was a [inaudible] for me. We went on it. So, and I saw my sisters like once or twice only. You know, so yeah. We go, we go. My husband would like to go more often, it just is too far for...I find it's hard. [01:17:44] But we meet in London, mostly like my family we meet in London. My sisters come to London to meet me and my mother and the rest of the family. 

[01:17:56] Interviewer: Did you find in - you came to Canada in, what year was it? 

[01:18:03] Lily Daniel: '86. 

[01:18:04] Interviewer: '86. So by that time uh, Quebec had become much more French. The uh, the revolution had begun in the '70's had changed by the 1980's. And so did you feel there was any kind of uh, pushback against the Jews at all in...

[01:18:23] Lily Daniel: No. I didn't feel it. 

[01:18:26] Interviewer: Did you feel that there was a difference between Ashkenazi and Sephardis  living in Montréal?

[01:18:30] Lily Daniel: I, yeah well, I felt it in school but not against me. Because the Ashkenazi’s, no the Sephardic knew we were not Sephardic, right? We are not Moroccans right, and the Ashkenazi’s didn't know where we belonged. they knew we were not Sephardic but they put us in Sephardic but our...mentality and our, because we are more reserved, right? [01:18:57] So, so we didn't belong here, neither there. We were, we are like, we don't belong anywhere. We're not accepted by anybody. But now, but I did feel the tension between the Ashkenazi and the Sephardic. That's the truth of it. I did. 

[01:19:16] Interviewer: And did the, like at Herzliya for example, which is a prominent Jewish school here, it's still more Ashkenazi in terms of the...

[01:19:26] Lily Daniel: No. 

[01:19:28] Interviewer: It's Sephardi in terms of the education?

[01:19:30] Lily Daniel: It's more Sephardic. There are more Moroccans there. The Ashkenazi go to Bialik because they have Yiddish there. 

[01:19:37] Interviewer: But is there Sephardic education in Herzliya?

[01:19:40] Lily Daniel: What is Sephardic education? 

[01:19:42] Interviewer: Where you learn about Iraqi Jewry or...

[01:19:44] Lily Daniel: No, no, no. Nothing, no. 

[01:19:46] Interviewer: Nothing like that. 

[01:19:46] Lily Daniel: Not about Morocco. 

[01:19:48] Interviewer: So you don't learn your heritage. 

[01:19:50] Lily Daniel: No, nothing. They, they learn more tenach, more like when you come at really from Herzliya, but I hear now not anymore, at the time of my daughters you come out with a very good, you can lead a service really. Your Hebrew is very good. Uh, Bialik no. 

[01:20:11] Interviewer: So I guess that's what I was trying to say though, that the religious education is strong. 

[01:20:15] Lily Daniel: Very. 

[01:20:16] Interviewer: But when it comes to Jewish history and all these kinds of things...

[01:20:21] Lily Daniel: No. 

[01:20:21] Interviewer: You don't learn about, you don't really learn about your own heritage. 

[01:20:25] Lily Daniel: No. Nothing, no. 

[01:20:26] Interviewer: So they...

[01:20:27] Lily Daniel: Who, who can teach you? Who can teach them like if they are not Iraqis as well? How would they know. They...

[01:20:33] Interviewer: Have an Iraqi teacher. [laughs]

[01:20:36] Lily Daniel: Actually, we started the Judaic-Arabic at our synagogue. 

[01:20:41] Interviewer: Oh you did? 

[01:20:41] Lily Daniel: Yes, we did last, uh, the last year and a half actually we did and there were a lot of youngsters interested actually and it was a fun, fun uh, thing to do. 

[01:20:52] Interviewer: That is like once a week uh...

[01:20:54] Lily Daniel: It was once or, once a week or once every two weeks we did that. that was fun actually. 

[01:20:59] Interviewer: And teaching...

[01:21:00] Lily Daniel: Arabic but, yeah, judeo-arabic like our Iraqi. 

[01:21:06] Interviewer: And would you bring food to eat? Iraqi food? 

[01:21:09] Lily Daniel: Not Iraqi food. We wanted to do one day actually of Iraqi food but we didn't do that. But we would bring pizza and whatever. But we can't. We can't bring Iraqi food because it has to be cooked in the synagogue, unless we did at somebody's house and you don't care so much about kashrut. 

[01:21:28] Interviewer: And is it continuing this judeo-arabic?

[01:21:30] Lily Daniel: Well um, now we are, I think the last lesson was around April-May so I don’t know whether they are going to pick it up again or not. So I, I was one of the first ones that did all the...stencils and everything. Lisette was involved. Many of the women were volunteers. It was beautiful. 

[01:21:54] Interviewer: we should have you, train you to do interviews. 

[01:21:58] Lily Daniel: [laughs] 

[01:22:01] Interviewer: So let me ask some final questions. How do you preserve your Sephardi-Iraqi heritage? How do you preserve that?

[01:22:09] Lily Daniel: How do I preserve it? 

[01:22:10] Interviewer: You're Iraqi Jewish, I call it Sephardi but Iraqi-Sephardic heritage.

[01:22:15] Lily Daniel: It's Babylonian actually. 

[01:22:17] Interviewer: How do you preserve it? 

[01:22:18] Lily Daniel: We are Mizrahi more. 

[01:22:20] Interviewer: Okay, how do you preserve your Mizrahi?

[01:22:22] Lily Daniel: How do we preserve it? Okay. 

[01:22:24] Interviewer: How do you preserve it? 

[01:22:26] Lily Daniel: It's very hard. I tell you. They don't, like the ones that care or whatever, because our kids, yes they know they are Iraqi but they are integrating with others, which is beautiful, with Ashkenazi’s, with Moroccans, with whatever like, how do you preserve? You can't really. [01:22:50] We do have our services for Rosh Hashanah, as in Iraqi services like uh, [inaudible] that tries to do as much as possible uh, the Iraqi way. I don't know whether you can. 

[01:23:06] Interviewer: Do you cook Iraqi food in your house?

[01:23:09] Lily Daniel: [overlap] Yes, we do. On Shabbat, yes. Iraqi, like we have the t'bit and the [ingri] and that and the keba and that we preserve it. But anything else? I don't know. Like only food, really, we are preserving. Our attitude? No. What's...we are Jewish. 

[01:23:29] Interviewer: How do you see your identity? How would you define yourself in terms of identity? 

[01:23:33] Lily Daniel: Me? I'm an Iraqi Jew. 

[01:23:37] Interviewer: And you consider yourself now, when you look back at your experiences as a refugee? or as an immigrant that came, that left Iraq? How do you define yourself? 

[01:23:47] Lily Daniel: [overlap] I wish every refugee that comes, becomes like us. We integrated in the country that they took us, accepted, like, uh, respected their rules and regulations and went into the workforce and didn't become a burden on that country. 

[01:24:07] Interviewer: And what had Canada meant to you?

[01:24:09] Lily Daniel: Canada was a place that I came because of marriage. Being good to us, worked, paid taxes and we live in it. It's a beautiful country and we have to, to appreciate what we have. No wars. and you can't take that for granted. And I tell that to my daughters too. They were born in a country that has everything and every opportunity that you want to make it at for. [01:24:37] We didn't have that opportunity. We went and had struggle and whatever. So, so appreciate everything that you have. 

[01:24:49] Interviewer: Have you ever gone back and visited Iraq? 

[01:24:50] Lily Daniel: Not - no interest whatsoever. No interest. There's no good memories. I told you. The only thing is sleeping on the roof. There's nothing that I want from there. Like. I look at the pictures, really nothing changed. nothing changed as I left in '76. So they made big palaces, no? There was fear. There don't belong. What am I going there for? 

[01:25:24] Interviewer: Um, so one last question, people will listen to this interview in the future. What message would you like to share with the people who will be listening to it? This interview. 

[01:25:43] Lily Daniel: That...actually we are lucky in a way, the ones that came out alive, out of Baghdad. Yes we have our heritage that it made us who we are as Iraqis and uh, the values that we have as Jews as well. And we continue and, and, and the good things that we always, as you know my story, everything that we, we never look back and we always look forward and make it better. [01:26:18] And not for only for ourselves and be to other people as well. Help out anyway you can. Wherever you can, help out. 

[01:26:31] Interviewer: Thank you. Thank you very much.