ABADAN, island and seaport located in the province of Khuzistan at the southwest corner of Iran on the left bank of Shatt al-Arab and about 60 km from the Persian Gulf. It grew into a big city because of its oil refinery. During World War II there were about 25,000 refinery employees out of a total population of 100,000. This was a period in which Abadan attracted a relatively large number of Jews from several cities in Iran, mainly from *Isfahan, *Bushire, *Shiraz, and *Kermanshah. According to one source (Alam-e Yahud), at this time there were 200 Jewish families (about 800 people) living in Abadan, some of whom were Iraqi Jews. In addition, it has been reported that 300 out of 1,700 foreign professional refinery employees were Palestinian Jews belonging to *Solel Boneh. For this reason, one may say that the post-Reza Shah (1925–41) *He-Ḥalutz movement and Zionist activities in Iran had, to some degree, their roots in the Jewish community of Abadan. Abadan played an important role in rescue missions of the Iraqi Jews during and after the independence of Israel. After the 1979 Islamic revolution, Jews began to leave the city. At the beginning of the 21st century there were few Jewish families living in Abadan, numbering fewer than 20 people.
"Abadan," in: Encyclopedia Iranica (ed. E. Yarshater), 1 (1982), 51–57; Alam-e Yahud, 21 (Jan. 8, 1946), 362; Y. Yazdani, Records on Iranian Jews' Immigration to Palestine, 1921–1951 (1996), 61, 67, 110.
[Amnon Netzer (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.