Audrey Hepburn was a British actress, model and humanitarian. Recognised as a film and fashion icon, Hepburn was active during Hollywood's Golden Age, she was ranked by the American Film Institute as the third-greatest female screen legend in Golden Age Hollywood, was inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame. Born in Ixelles, Hepburn spent her childhood between Belgium and the Netherlands. In Amsterdam, she studied ballet with Sonia Gaskell, before moving to London in 1948, continuing her ballet training with Marie Rambert, performing as a chorus girl in West End musical theatre productions. Following minor appearances in several films, Hepburn starred in the 1951 Broadway play Gigi, after being spotted by French novelist Colette, on whose work the play was based, she shot to stardom after playing the lead role in Roman Holiday, for which she was the first actress to win an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award for a single performance. That same year, Hepburn won a Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play for her performance in Ondine.
She went on to star in a number of successful films, such as Sabrina, The Nun's Story, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Charade, My Fair Lady, Wait Until Dark, for which she received an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA nominations. Hepburn won three BAFTA Awards for Best British Actress in a Leading Role. In recognition of her film career, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from BAFTA, the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, the Special Tony Award, she remains one of only 15 people who have won Academy, Emmy and Tony Awards. Hepburn appeared in fewer films as her life went on, devoting much of her life to UNICEF, she had contributed to the organisation since 1954 worked in some of the poorest communities of Africa, South America and Asia between 1988 and 1992. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in December 1992. A month Hepburn died of appendiceal cancer at her home in Switzerland at the age of 63.
Audrey Hepburn was born Audrey Kathleen Ruston or Edda Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston on 4 May 1929 at number 48 Rue Keyenveld in Ixelles, Belgium. Her father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, was a British subject born in Auschitz, Austria-Hungary, he was the son of Victor John George Ruston, of British and Austrian descent and Anna Wels, of Austrian descent. In 1923–24, Joseph had been an honorary British consul in Semarang in the Dutch East Indies and prior to his marriage to Hepburn's mother he had been married to Cornelia Bisschop, a Dutch heiress. Although born with the surname Ruston, he double-barrelled his name to the more "aristocratic" Hepburn-Ruston, mistakenly believing himself descended from James Hepburn, third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. Hepburn's mother, Baroness Ella van Heemstra, was a Dutch noblewoman, she was the daughter of Baron Aarnoud van Heemstra, who served as mayor of Arnhem from 1910 to 1920 and as Governor of Dutch Suriname from 1921 to 1928, Baroness Elbrig Willemine Henriette van Asbeck.
At the age of nineteen, Ella had married Jonkheer Hendrik Gustaaf Adolf Quarles van Ufford, an oil executive based in Batavia, Dutch East Indies, where they subsequently lived. They had two sons, Jonkheer Arnoud Robert Alexander Quarles van Ufford and Jonkheer Ian Edgar Bruce Quarles van Ufford, before divorcing in 1925. Hepburn's parents were married in Batavia, Dutch East Indies in September 1926. At the time, Ruston worked for a trading company, but soon after the marriage, the couple relocated to Europe, where he began working for a loan company. After a year in London, they moved to Brussels. After three years spent travelling between Brussels, The Hague and London, the family settled in the suburban Brussels municipality of Linkebeek in 1932. Hepburn's early childhood was privileged; as a result of her multinational background and travelling with her family due to her father's job, she learned five languages: Dutch and English from her parents, varying degrees of French and Italian. In the mid-1930s, Hepburn's parents recruited and collected donations for the British Union of Fascists.
Joseph left the family abruptly in 1935 and moved to London, where he became more involved in Fascist activity and never visited his daughter abroad. Hepburn professed that her father's departure was "the most traumatic event of my life"; that same year, her mother moved with Hepburn to her family's estate in Arnhem. Sometime in 1937, Ella and Hepburn moved to Kent, where Hepburn was educated at a small independent school in Elham. Hepburn's parents divorced in 1938. In the 1960s, Hepburn renewed contact with her father after locating him in Dublin through the Red Cross. After Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939, Hepburn's mother relocated her daughter back to Arnhem in the hope that, as during the First World War, the Netherlands would remain neutral and be spared a German attack. While there, Hepburn attended the Arnhem Conservatory from 1939 to 1945, she had begun taking ballet lessons during her last years at boarding school, continued training in Arnhem under the tutelage of Winja Marova, becoming her "star pupil".
After the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940, Hepburn used the name Edda van Heemstra, because an "English-sounding" name wa
Duchess of York
Duchess of York is the principal courtesy title held by the wife of the Duke of York. Three of the eleven Dukes of York either did not marry or had assumed the throne prior to marriage, whilst two of the dukes married twice, therefore there have been only ten Duchesses of York; the ten Duchesses of York are as follows: In 1791, Princess Frederica Charlotte of Prussia married Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. Her husband held one double dukedom rather than two; the Duchess received a warm welcome to Great Britain but following a troubled relationship with her husband, the couple separated. The two previous Dukes of York and Albany had never married. HMS Duchess of York, built in Calcutta in 1801 and wrecked off Madagascar in 1811. HMS Duchess of York, a paddle steamer built by Curle & Co. Ltd.. Glasgow, used as a First World War minesweeper. Renamed Duchess of Cornwall to allow for a new ship to take its name. SS Duchess of York, a steam turbine ocean liner built by John Co Ltd.. Clydebank for Canadian Pacific Steamships.
Sunk after being bombed in 1943. Duchess of York Ward, opened in 1935 at Home for Incurables. ThePeerage.com. Fisher. Princesses of Wales. University of Wales Press. ISBN 9780708319369
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales, was a member of the British royal family. She was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, the mother of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. Diana was born into the Spencer family, a family of British nobility, she was the youngest daughter of Viscount and Viscountess Althorp, she grew up in Park House, situated on the Sandringham estate, was educated in England and Switzerland. In 1975, after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer, she became known as Lady Diana Spencer. Diana came to prominence in February 1981 upon engagement to Prince Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, their wedding took place at St Paul's Cathedral on 29 July 1981 and made her Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Chester. The marriage produced two sons, the princes William and Harry, who were respectively second and third in the line of succession to the British throne; as Princess of Wales, Diana undertook royal duties on behalf of the Queen and represented her at functions overseas.
She was celebrated for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Diana was involved with dozens of charities including London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for children, of which she was president from 1989, she raised awareness and advocated ways to help people affected with HIV/AIDS, mental illness. Diana remained the object of worldwide media scrutiny during and after her marriage, which ended in divorce on 28 August 1996 following well-publicised extramarital affairs by both parties. Media attention and public mourning were extensive after her death in a car crash in a Paris tunnel on 31 August 1997 and subsequent televised funeral. Diana Frances Spencer was born on 1 July 1961, in Park House, Norfolk, she was the fourth of five children of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, his first wife, Frances. The Spencer family has been allied with the British royal family for several generations; the Spencers were hoping for a boy to carry on the family line, no name was chosen for a week, until they settled on Diana Frances, after her mother and after Lady Diana Spencer, a many-times-great-aunt, a prospective Princess of Wales.
On 30 August 1961, Diana was baptised at Sandringham. She grew up with three siblings: Sarah and Charles, her infant brother, died shortly after his birth one year before Diana was born. The desire for an heir added strain to the Spencers' marriage, Lady Althorp was sent to Harley Street clinics in London to determine the cause of the "problem"; the experience was described as "humiliating" by Diana's younger brother, Charles: "It was a dreadful time for my parents and the root of their divorce because I don't think they got over it." Diana grew up in Park House, situated on the Sandringham estate. The Spencers leased the house from its owner, Queen Elizabeth II; the royal family holidayed at the neighbouring Sandringham House, Diana played with the Queen's sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Diana was seven years old, her mother began a relationship with Peter Shand Kydd and married him in 1969. Diana lived with her mother in London during her parents' separation in 1967, but during that year's Christmas holidays, Lord Althorp refused to let Diana return to London with Lady Althorp.
Shortly afterwards he won custody of Diana with support from his former mother-in-law, Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy. In 1976, Lord Althorp married Countess of Dartmouth. Diana's relationship with her stepmother was bad, she resented Raine, whom she called a "bully", on one occasion Diana "pushed her down the stairs". She described her childhood as "very unhappy" and "very unstable, the whole thing". Diana became known as Lady Diana after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975, at which point her father moved the entire family from Park House to Althorp, the Spencer seat in Northamptonshire. Diana was home-schooled under the supervision of her governess, Gertrude Allen, she began her formal education at Silfield Private School in Gayton and moved to Riddlesworth Hall School, an all-girls boarding school near Thetford, when she was nine. She joined her sisters at West Heath Girls' School in Sevenoaks, Kent, in 1973, she did not shine academically. Her outstanding community spirit was recognised with an award from West Heath.
She left West Heath. Her brother Charles recalls her as being quite shy up until that time, she showed a talent for music as an accomplished pianist. Diana excelled in swimming and diving, studied ballet and tap dance. After attending Institut Alpin Videmanette for one term in 1978, Diana returned to London, where she shared her mother's flat with two school friends. In London, she took an advanced cooking course, but cooked for her roommates, she took a series of low-paying jobs. She found employment as a playgroup pre-school assistant, did some cleaning work for her sister Sarah and several of her friends, acted as a hostess at parties. Diana spent time working as a nanny for the Robertsons, an American family living in London, worked as a nursery teacher's assistant at the Young England School in Pimlico. In July 1979, her mother bought her a flat at Coleherne Court in Earl's Court as an 18
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jacqueline Lee Kennedy Onassis was an American socialite and First Lady of the United States during the presidency of John F. Kennedy from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. Bouvier was born in Southampton, New York, to Wall Street stockbroker John Vernou Bouvier III and his wife, Janet Lee Bouvier, in 1929. In 1951, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from George Washington University and went on to work for the Washington Times-Herald as an inquiring photographer. In 1952, Bouvier met then-Congressman John F. Kennedy at a dinner party in Washington. Following his election to the Senate in 1952, the couple married on September 12, 1953, in Newport, Rhode Island, they had four children. Following her husband's election to the presidency in 1960, Jacqueline was known for her publicized restoration of the White House and emphasis on arts and culture, as well as for her style and grace, she was 31 years old when her husband was inaugurated and was the youngest first lady since Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston.
On November 22, 1963, Jacqueline was riding with her husband in a presidential motorcade in Dallas, when he was assassinated. Following his funeral and her children withdrew from public view. In 1968, she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. Following Onassis's death in 1975, she had a career as a book editor in New York City, she died on May 19, 1994, of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, aged 64. During her lifetime, Jacqueline Kennedy was regarded as an international fashion icon, her famous ensemble of a pink Chanel suit and matching pillbox hat that she wore in Dallas has become a symbol of her husband's assassination. After her death, she ranks as one of the most popular and recognizable First Ladies and was listed as one of Gallup's Most-Admired Men and Women of the 20th century in 1999. Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born on July 28, 1929, at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital in Southampton, New York, to Wall Street stockbroker John Vernou "Black Jack" Bouvier III and socialite Janet Norton Lee.
Bouvier's mother was of Irish descent, her father had French and English ancestry. Named after her father, Bouvier was baptized at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in Manhattan, her sister Lee was born in 1933. Bouvier spent her early childhood years in Manhattan and at Lasata, the Bouviers' country estate in East Hampton on Long Island, she idolized her father, who favored her over her sister, calling his elder child "the most beautiful daughter a man had". Biographer Tina Flaherty pointed out Jackie's early confidence in herself, seeing a link to her father's praise and positive attitude to her, her sister Lee has stated that she would not have gained her "independence and individuality" had it not been for the relationship she had with their father and paternal grandfather, John Vernou Bouvier Jr. From an early age, Bouvier was an enthusiastic equestrienne and competed in the sport, she took ballet lessons, was an avid reader, excelled at learning languages, with French being emphasized in her upbringing.
In 1935, Bouvier was enrolled in Manhattan's Chapin School, which she attended for grades 1–6. She was a bright student but misbehaved. Bouvier's mother attributed her daughter's behavior to the way that she finished her assignments ahead of classmates and acted out in boredom, her behavior improved after the headmistress warned her that none of her positive qualities would matter if she did not behave. The marriage of Bouvier's parents was strained by her father's extramarital affairs, they separated in 1936 and divorced four years with the press publishing intimate details of the split. According to her cousin John H. Davis, Bouvier was affected by the divorce and subsequently had a "tendency to withdraw into a private world of her own"; when her mother married Standard Oil heir Hugh Dudley Auchincloss, Jr. Bouvier and her sister did not attend the ceremony, because it was arranged and travel was restricted due to World War II. Bouvier gained three step-siblings from Auchincloss' two previous marriages, Hugh "Yusha" Auchincloss III, Thomas Gore Auchincloss, Nina Gore Auchincloss.
The marriage produced two more children, Janet Jennings Auchincloss in 1945 and James Lee Auchincloss in 1947. After the remarriage, Auchincloss' Merrywood estate in McLean, became the Bouvier sisters' primary residence, although they spent time at his other estate, Hammersmith Farm in Newport, Rhode Island, in their father's homes in New York City and Long Island. Although she retained a relationship with her father, Bouvier regarded her stepfather as a close paternal figure, he gave her a stable environment and the pampered childhood she never would have experienced otherwise. While Bouvier adjusted to her mother's remarriage, she sometimes felt like an outsider in the WASP social circle of the Auchinclosses, attributing the feeling to her being Catholic as well as being a child of divorce, not common in that social group at that time. After six years at Chapin, Bouvier attended the Holton-Arms School in Northwest Washington, D. C. from 1942 to 1944, Miss Porter's School in Farmington, from 1944 to 1947.
She chose Miss Porter's because it was a boarding school that allow
Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was a British-American actress and humanitarian. She began her career as a child actress in the early 1940s, was one of the most popular stars of classical Hollywood cinema in the 1950s, she continued her career into the 1960s, remained a well-known public figure for the rest of her life. In 1999, the American Film Institute named her the seventh-greatest female screen legend. Born in London to wealthy prominent American parents, Taylor moved with her family to Los Angeles in 1939, she was soon given a film contract by Universal Pictures, she made her screen debut in a minor role in There's One Born Every Minute, but Universal terminated her contract after a year. Taylor was signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, had her breakthrough role in National Velvet, becoming one of the studio's most popular teenaged stars, she made the transition to adult roles in the early 1950s, when she starred in the comedy Father of the Bride and received critical acclaim for her performance in the drama A Place in the Sun.
Despite being one of MGM's most bankable stars, Taylor wished to end her career in the early 1950s. She disliked many of the films to which she was assigned, she began receiving roles she enjoyed more in the mid-1950s, beginning with the epic drama Giant, starred in several critically and commercially successful films in the following years. These included two film adaptations of plays by Tennessee Williams: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly, Last Summer. Although she disliked her role as a call girl in BUtterfield 8, her last film for MGM, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance. Taylor was paid a then-record-breaking $1 million to play the title role in the historical epic Cleopatra, the most expensive film made up to that point. During the filming, Taylor and co-star Richard Burton began an extramarital affair, which caused a scandal. Despite public disapproval and Burton continued their relationship and were married in 1964. Dubbed "Liz and Dick" by the media, they starred in 11 films together, including The V.
I. P.s, The Sandpiper, The Taming of the Shrew, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Taylor received the best reviews of her career for Woolf, winning her second Academy Award and several other awards for her performance, she and Burton divorced in 1974, but reconciled soon after, remarried in 1975. The second marriage ended in divorce in 1976. Taylor's acting career began to decline in the late 1960s, although she continued starring in films until the mid-1970s, after which she focused on supporting the career of her sixth husband, Senator John Warner. In the 1980s, she acted in her first substantial stage roles and in several television films and series, became the first celebrity to launch a perfume brand. Taylor was one of the first celebrities to take part in HIV/AIDS activism, she co-founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research in 1985, the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991. From the early 1990s until her death, she dedicated her time to philanthropy, for which she received several accolades, including the Presidential Citizens Medal.
Throughout her career, Taylor's personal life was the subject of constant media attention. She was married eight times to seven men, endured several serious illnesses, led a jet set lifestyle, including assembling one of the most expensive private collections of jewelry in the world. After many years of ill health, Taylor died from congestive heart failure in 2011, at the age of 79. Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor was born on February 27, 1932, at Heathwood, her family's home on 8 Wildwood Road in Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, she received dual British-American citizenship at birth, as her parents, art dealer Francis Lenn Taylor and retired stage actress Sara Sothern, were United States citizens, both from Arkansas City, Kansas. They moved to London in 1929, opened an art gallery on Bond Street; the family led a privileged life in London during Taylor's childhood. Their social circle included artists such as Augustus John and Laura Knight, politicians such as Colonel Victor Cazalet. Cazalet was Taylor's unofficial godfather, an important influence in her early life.
She was enrolled in Byron House, a Montessori school in Highgate, was raised according to the teachings of Christian Science, the religion of her mother and Cazalet. In early 1939, the Taylor decided to return to the United States due to fear of impending war in Europe. United States ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy contacted Francis and encouraged him to return to the US with his family. Sara and the children left first in April 1939 aboard the ocean liner SS Manhattan, moved in with Taylor's maternal grandfather in Pasadena, California. Francis stayed behind to close the London gallery, joined them in December. In early 1940, he opened a new gallery in Los Angeles, after living in Pacific Palisades with the Chapman family, the family settled in Beverly Hills, where Taylor and her brother were enrolled in Hawthorne School. In California, Taylor's mother was told that her daughter should audition for films. Taylor's eyes in particular drew attention. Sara was opposed to Taylor appearing in films, but after the outbreak of war in Europe made return there unlikely, she began to view the film industry as a way of assimilatin
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, was the younger daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and the only sibling of Queen Elizabeth II. Margaret spent much of her childhood with her parents and sister, her life changed in 1936, when her paternal uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated to marry a divorcée, Wallis Simpson. Margaret's father became king, her sister became heir presumptive, with Margaret second in line to the throne. During the Second World War, the two sisters stayed at Windsor Castle, despite suggestions to evacuate them to Canada. During the war years, Margaret was considered too young to perform any official duties and instead continued her education. After the war, Margaret fell in love with Group Captain Peter Townsend. In 1952, Margaret's father died, her sister became queen, Townsend divorced his first wife. Early the following year, he proposed to Margaret. Many in the government believed he would be an unsuitable husband for the Queen's 22-year-old sister, the Church of England refused to countenance marriage to a divorced man.
Margaret abandoned her plans with him, in 1960 she married the photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, created Earl of Snowdon by the Queen. The couple had two children: Sarah. Margaret was viewed as a controversial member of the British royal family, her divorce in 1978 earned her negative publicity, she was romantically associated with several men. Her health deteriorated in the final two decades of her life. A heavy smoker for most of her adult life, Margaret had a lung operation in 1985, a bout of pneumonia in 1993, at least three strokes between 1998 and 2001, she died at King Edward VII's Hospital on 9 February 2002. Margaret was born on 21 August 1930 at Glamis Castle in Scotland, her mother's ancestral home, was affectionately known as Margot within the royal family, she was delivered by the royal obstetrician. The Home Secretary, J. R. Clynes, was present to verify the birth; the registration of her birth was delayed for several days to avoid her being numbered 13 in the parish register. At the time of her birth, she was fourth in the line of succession to the British throne.
Her father was the Duke of the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. Her mother was the Duchess of York, the youngest daughter of the 14th Earl and the Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne; the Duchess of York wanted to name her second daughter Ann Margaret, as she explained to Queen Mary in a letter: "I am anxious to call her Ann Margaret, as I think Ann of York sounds pretty, & Elizabeth and Ann go so well together." King George V disliked the name Ann but approved of the alternative "Margaret Rose". Margaret was baptised in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace on 30 October 1930 by Cosmo Lang, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Margaret's early life was spent at the Yorks' residences at 145 Piccadilly and Royal Lodge in Windsor; the Yorks were perceived by the public as an ideal family: father and children, but unfounded rumours that Margaret was deaf and mute were not dispelled until Margaret's first main public appearance at her uncle Prince George's wedding in 1934. She was educated alongside her sister, Princess Elizabeth, by their Scottish governess Marion Crawford.
Margaret's education was supervised by her mother, who in the words of Randolph Churchill "never aimed at bringing her daughters up to be more than nicely behaved young ladies". When Queen Mary insisted upon the importance of education, the Duchess of York commented, "I don't know what she meant. After all I and my sisters only had governesses and we all married well—one of us well". Margaret was resentful about her limited education in years, aimed criticism at her mother. However, Margaret's mother told a friend that she "regretted" that her daughters did not go to school like other children, the employment of a governess rather than sending the girls to school may have been done only at the insistence of King George V. Margaret's grandfather, George V, died when she was five, her uncle acceded as King Edward VIII. Less than a year on 11 December 1936, Edward abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American, whom neither the Church of England nor the Dominion governments would accept as queen.
The Church would not recognise the marriage of a divorced woman with a living ex-husband as valid. Edward's abdication left a reluctant Duke of York in his place as King George VI, Margaret unexpectedly became second in line to the throne, with the title The Princess Margaret to indicate her status as a child of the sovereign; the family moved into Buckingham Palace. Margaret was a Brownie in the 1st Buckingham Palace Brownie Pack, formed in 1937, she was a Girl Guide and a Sea Ranger. She served as President of Girlguiding UK from 1965 until her death in 2002. At the outbreak of World War II, Margaret and her sister were at Birkhall, on the Balmoral Castle estate, where they stayed until Christmas 1939, enduring nights so cold that drinking water in carafes by their bedside froze, they spent Christmas at Sandringham House before moving to Windsor Castle, just outside London, for much of the remainder of the war. Viscount Hailsham wrote to Prime Minister Winston Churchill to advise the evacuation of the princesses to the greater safety of Canada, to which their mother famously replied, "The children won't go without me.
I won't leave without the King. And the King will never leave."Unlike other members of the royal family, Margaret was not expected to undertake any public or official duties dur
History of the Jews in Iraq
The history of the Jews in Iraq is documented from the time of the Babylonian captivity c. 586 BC. Iraqi Jews constitute one of the world's oldest and most significant Jewish communities; the Jewish community of Babylon included Ezra the scribe, whose return to Judea in the late 6th century BC is associated with significant changes in Jewish ritual observance and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Talmud was compiled in Babylonia, identified with modern Iraq. From the Babylonian period to the rise of the Islamic caliphate, the Jewish community of Babylon thrived as the center of Jewish learning; the Mongol invasion and Islamic discrimination in the Middle Ages led to its decline. Under the Ottoman Empire, the Jews of Iraq fared better; the community established modern schools in the second half of the 19th century. Driven by persecution, which saw many of the leading Jewish families of Baghdad flee for the Indian subcontinent, expanding trade with British colonies, the Jews of Iraq established a trading diaspora in Asia known as the Baghdadi Jews.
In the 20th century, Iraqi Jews played an important role in the early days of Iraq's independence. Between 1950 and 1952, 120,000–130,000 of the Iraqi Jewish community reached Israel in Operation Ezra and Nehemiah; the religious and cultural traditions of Iraqi Jews are still kept alive today in by strong communities now established in the State of Israel in Or Yehuda and Kiryat Gat. As of 2014 more than 229,900 Israelis were of Iraqi Jewish descent. Smaller communities upholding Iraqi Jewish traditions in the Jewish diaspora exist in Britain, Singapore and the United States. In the Bible and the country of Babylonia are not always distinguished, in most cases the same word being used for both. In some passages the land of Babylonia is called Shinar, while in the post-exilic literature it is called Chaldea. In the Book of Genesis, Babylonia is described as the land in which Babel, Erech and Calneh are located – cities that are declared to have formed the beginning of Nimrod's kingdom. Here, the Tower of Babel was located.
In the historical books Babylonia is referred to, though the lack of a clear distinction between the city and the country is sometimes puzzling. Allusions to it are confined to the points of contact between the Israelites and the various Babylonian kings Merodach-baladan and Nebuchadnezzar. In Books of Chronicles and Nehemiah the interest is transferred to Cyrus, though the retrospect still deals with the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar, Artaxerxes is mentioned once. In the poetical literature of Israel, Babylonia plays an insignificant part, but it fills a large place in the Prophets; the Book of Isaiah resounds with the "burden of Babylon", though at that time it still seemed a "far country". In the number and importance of its references to Babylonian life and history, the Book of Jeremiah stands preeminent in the Hebrew literature. With numerous important allusions to events in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah has become a valuable source in reconstructing Babylonian history within recent times.
The inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar are exclusively devoted to building operations. Three times during the 6th century BC, the Jews of the ancient Kingdom of Judah were exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar; these three separate occasions are mentioned. The first was in the time of Jehoiachin in 597 BC, when, in retaliation for a refusal to pay tribute, the temple of Jerusalem was despoiled and a number of the leading citizens removed. After eleven years, in the reign of Zedekiah—who had been enthroned by Nebuchadnezzar, a fresh revolt of the Judaeans took place encouraged by the close proximity of the Egyptian army; the city was razed to the ground, a further deportation ensued. Five years Jeremiah records a third captivity. After the overthrow of Babylonia by the Persians, Cyrus gave the Jews permission to return to their native land, more than forty thousand are said to have availed themselves of the privilege; the earliest accounts of the Jews exiled to Babylonia are furnished only by scanty biblical details.
Thus, the so-called "Small Chronicle" endeavors to preserve historic continuity by providing a genealogy of the exilarchs back to King Jeconiah. The "Small Chronicle's" statement, that Zerubbabel returned to Judea in the Greek period, can of course not be regarded as historical; the descendants of the Davidic line occupied an exalted position among their brethren in Babylonia, as they did at that period in Judea. During the Maccabean revolt, these Judean descendants of the royal house had immigrated to Babylonia. With Alexander the Great's campaign, accurate information concerning the Jews in the East reached the western world. Alexander's army contained numerous Jews who refused, from religious scruples, to take part in the reconstruction of the destroyed Belus temple in Babylon; the accession of Seleucus Nicator, 312 BC, to whose extensive empire B