Shafiq Ades

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Shafiq Ades (Hebrew:שפיק עדס, Arabic: شفيق عدس) (born in 1900, died on 23 September 1948) was a wealthy Iraqi-Jewish businessman of Syrian origins. After a short show trial in 1948, he was executed by hanging on charges of selling weapons to Israel and supporting the Iraqi Communist Party.[1]


Ades was born to a wealthy family based in Aleppo, Syria. He migrated to Iraq and based himself in Basra. His main business activity was the establishment and management of the Ford car company agency in Iraq. He further partnered with a Muslim named Naji Al-Khedhairi in purchasing military metal scrap left in Iraq by the British army, selling the unusable parts after usable parts were sold to the government of Iraq.

Ades accumulated business and personal ties with high-profile Iraqi notables and officials and even had accessibility to the regent, 'Abd al-Ilah.


Ades was charged with donating money to the Iraqi Communist Party and with supporting the military efforts of Israel. He was sentenced to death and ordered to pay a fine of 5 million Dinars. The rest of his property was confiscated.

Evidence of show trial[edit]

Scholars Moshe Gat and Philip Mendes reached the conclusion that Ades was clearly innocent. They cite the following evidence:[1][2]

  • No such complaints were ever filed against his Muslim partner or many other scrap traders.
  • The trial lasted only 3 days and the defendant was not allowed to plead his case.
  • No witnesses were ever called.
  • The show trial was presided over by Judge Abdullah al-Naasni, a member of the anti-Jewish, pro-Nazi Istiqlal Party.
  • No concrete evidence was presented that the arms were shipped from Italy to Israel.


Following the show trial, Ades was hanged in front of his newly completed mansion in Basra on September 23, 1948. 12,000 onlookers came from all parts of Iraq to witness the hanging of the so-called "traitor." Authorities left his dead body in the square for hours and it was abused by the celebrating crowds.[3][4]


The execution of Ades came as a profound shock to the Jewish community. As he was an assimilated and non-Zionist Jew, the affair significantly reduced support for assimilation into Iraqi society and increased support for emigration as a solution to the crisis in the Iraqi Jewish community.[1] The Jewish community general sentiment was that if a man as well connected and powerful as Shafiq Ades could he eliminated by the state, other Jews would not be protected any longer.[5]

There are streets in the Israeli cities of Ramla, Petah Tikva and Herzelia that are named after Ades.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^ Moshe Gat (4 July 2013). The Jewish Exodus from Iraq, 1948-1951. Routledge. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-135-24654-9. 
  3. ^ URJ - Reform Judaism Magazine
  4. ^ (hebrew) המחתרת החלוצית בעיראק, יוסף מאיר
  5. ^ Orit Bashkin (12 September 2012). New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq. Stanford University Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-8047-8201-2. the general sentiment was chat if a man as well connected and powerful as Adas could he eliminated by the state, other Jews would not be protected any longer.  

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