Up-to-date Media Articles for journalists, researchers, and those interested in learning more about the Iraqi Jewish Archive.

 

Who should keep Iraqi Jewry’s archives, saved from Saddam, now on tour in the US?

By Rich Tenorio, Times of Israel. January 6, 2o16
“Miami – American special forces stormed the basement of the notorious Mukhabarat, the headquarters of Saddam Hussein’s secret police, shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. And while they didn’t find the alleged weapons of mass destruction, nor the Iraqi dictator himself, what they did find was a rare collection of artifacts from the Iraqi Jewish .”

Custody battle over rare Iraqi-Jewish historical documents

By Tom Tugend, Jewish Journal. September 2nd, 2o15
“On May 6, 2003, 16 American soldiers of a special unit searching for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction entered the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters in Baghdad.”

Descendants of Iraqi Jews preserve memories

By Shlomi Eldar, Al Monitor. October 9th, 2o15
“A few days ago, about a year and eight months after I wrote in Al-Monitor about an exhibition of Iraqi Jewish artifacts I had seen in New York, I received an email with information I had been seeking about a photograph that had been on display. “The photo of the couple, which you described so wonderfully, shows my parents, may they have a long life, back in 1959,” wrote Yair Dor from the village of Matan.”

Iraq Digitising Baghdad National Library Archives in Face of ISIS Threat

By Jack Moore, Europe Newsweek. August 4th, 2o15
“Iraqi librarians and academics are battling to preserve the remaining documents and books, some of which are centuries-old, by digitising the archives and collections held in the Baghdad National Library to counter the threat to Iraq’s heritage posed by the Islamic State (ISIS).”

Iraqi Jewish Archive to go on the road

By Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service. September 5th, 2o14
“WASHINGTON — After the U.S. Army rescued a trove of Jewish artifacts from the basement of Saddam Hussein’s secret police headquarters, many American descendants of Iraq’s once vibrant Jewish community had an urgent question. Is the U.S. going to return these artifacts to war-torn Iraq?”

Much-Debated Jewish Archive Won’t Return to Iraq – For Now

By Dmitriy Shapiro, JNS.org. May 20, 2o14
“A much-debated artifacts collection from the historical Jewish community in Baghdad that was slated to return to Iraq will remain in the United States for an additional two years, following last week’s announcement of an agreement between Iraqi officials and the U.S. State Department.

Iraq extends Jewish archive stay in the U.S.

By JTA. May 15, 2o14
“WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Iraqi government is extending the stay of the Iraqi Jewish Archive in the United States.

“In order to continue this important work and to allow the exhibit to be displayed in other cities in the United States, the Government of Iraq has authorized me to extend the period which the exhibit may remain in the United States,” Lukman Fally, the Iraqi ambassador to Washington, said in a statement posted Wednesday on the embassy website.”

Iraqi Jewish Archive Belongs in America 

By Ben Cohecn, JNS.org. May 15, 2o14
“When I last wrote about the archive of Jewish treasures from Iraq rescued by U.S. forces in Baghdad in 2003, I noted that the prevalent opinion among Iraqi Jews—a community from which I hail on my father’s side—was that the books, photographs, scrolls, writings, and communal documents in this extraordinary collection should remain in America, rather than being returned to Iraq. I then argued that while this view couldn’t be faulted on legal or moral grounds, I nonetheless wished that the situation were different, and that Iraq could celebrate its Jewish heritage in the manner that European countries like Poland and Germany do theirs.

Fighting for history: Iraq, the US and the hidden Jewish archive

By Raf Sanchez, The Telegraph. May 14, 2o14
“The basement of the bombed-out Iraqi intelligence headquarters was dark, hot and flooded. Severed wires hung from the ceiling and dead animals floated in the water that filled the gloomy hallways. The building’s top floors had been crushed by US bombs dropped weeks earlier and it seemed possible that the whole structure could collapse at any time.”

US Lawyer Urges Court Injunction to Save Iraqi Jewish Archive

By Arutz Sheva Staff, Arutz Sheva. May 5, 2014
“Speaking at a 31 March New York conference on the legal issues posed by the question of the Iraq-Jewish archive, American attorney Nat Lewin said that the community should not wait until the archive was returned to Iraq before taking action, insisting that the community would receive a sympathetic hearing in the US.”

Heritage in the Right Hands

By Mina Al-Droubi, The Majalla. March 25, 2o14
“When US forces captured Saddam Hussein’s intelligence building in 2003, they accidentally uncovered a great treasure: a collection of centuries-old copies of the Torah and the Haggadah, as well as university applications and financial documents and personal photographs, all constituting one of the most comprehensive records of Iraq’s indigenous Jewish community. The documents had been seized from the homes of Jewish families as they fled persecution in the country in the 1970s.

State Rep. David Harris (IL) fights for Iraqi Jewish archive

By Mara Ruff, JUF News. March 21, 2o14
” An Illinois House resolution calling on the U.S. Department of State to reconsider returning Iraqi Jewish archives to Iraq passed unanimously out of the Illinois House Interational Trades & Commerce Committee on Thursday. Suzanne Strassberger, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago’s Associate Vice President of Government & Community Partnerships and registered lobbyist, signed on in support of House Joint Resolution 68, which was filed by State Representative David Harris in January.”

Long Island Jews Unite to Keep Artifacts Seized From Saddam Hussein’s Police

By CBS New York. March 17, 2o14
” Thousands of Jewish artifacts found in Iraq a decade ago have been restored and are now on public display. But not for long. They’re slated to be returned to Iraq — and that’s angered many in the Jewish community, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday. Thousands of miles — and years — From ancient Babylonia, Alice Aboody is fighting to preserve history.”

State Dept. seeking ways to keep access open to Iraqi Jewish Archive

By JTA. March 17, 2o14
“WASHINGTON  — The U.S. State Department is seeking avenues to make the Iraqi Jewish Archive continually accessible to Iraqi Jews living outside the country. Until now, the State Department had been adamant that the archive, transferred to the United States for expert restoration, be returned to Iraq in June. A statement sent to JTA on Monday by the State Department’s press office said the “sensitivities” surrounding the archive were spurring the department to seek alternatives.”

Montreal’s Iraqi-Jewish Community Pieces Together Fragments of its History 

By Leah Balass, The Link: Concordia’s Independent Newspaper. February 25, 2o14
“As she glides her fingers along the delicate corners that shape the elementary school diploma she received in Baghdad, Lisette Shashoua nods her head concernedly. “We’re never going to go back there; it’s an era that’s finished. But this is all we have left,” she says. She reaches for a photocopy of her schoolmate’s diploma and places it next to her own. They are nearly identical.”

Safeguarding Iraq’s Jewish Archive

By Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Al Monitor. February 10, 2o14
“The artifacts and important manuscripts that are today known as “the Jewish Archive” had been lying — for dozens of years — away from the public eye in a basement inside the headquarters of the Iraqi intelligence services, in storage conditions that do not meet international standards. This had caused many of the documents to be damaged.”

Saddam’s Jewish Treasures

By Josh Robin, The Daily Beast. February 8, 2o14
“These priceless Hebrew artifacts were rescued from Hussein’s notorious intelligence service. And now, they’re about to go back to Iraq—just as the country is once again imploding.”

Send Iraqi Jewish Archive Back Where It Belongs: Priceless Trove Will Serve Vital Educational Role in Baghdad

By Sigal Samuel, The Jewish Daily Forward. February 6, 2o14
“At the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, 24 items from the Iraqi Jewish Archive have just gone on display. I attended the February 3 opening of the exhibit, entitled “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage.” It included a 16th century Hebrew Bible, a hand-lettered Passover Haggadah from 1902, and a 1967 school transcript for an Iraqi Jewish boy. These items weren’t just beautiful to behold. They were also deeply political.”

Senate boosts efforts to keep Iraqi Jewish Archive out of Iraq

By Dmitriy Shapiro, JNS.org News Service. February 3, 2o14
“Efforts to keep a significant collection of artifacts seized from Iraq’s Jewish community by Saddam Hussein from being returned to the Gulf nation by the United States may be picking up steam on Capitol Hill.” 

Why America Should Not return the Iraqi Jewish Archive

By Yair Rosenberg, Tablet Magazine January 30, 2o14
” On May 6, 2003, American forces stumbled into the basement of a flooded Iraqi intelligence building in Baghdad. There, they discovered a veritable treasure trove of Jewish holy books, communal records, and even family photographs. The contents of the archive were salvaged, and–with the help of U.S. government funding and outside donors–restored in a painstaking $3 million dollar process.” 

This Miraculous Find Does Not Belong to Iraq

By Lyn Julius,  Huffington Post. January 22, 2014
“One day in 1984, the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein sent his henchmen to Bataween synagogue, one of the last working houses of Jewish prayer in Baghdad. The men carted off a trove of books and documents retrieved from Jewish homes, schools and synagogues. The material had been deposited for safe keeping in the ladies’ gallery. The few remaining Jews were aghast to see the archive driven away in trucks from under their noses.” 

Saved from Saddam’s basement, Jewish treasure trove to return to Baghdad

By Ilene Prusher,  Haaretz. January 17, 2014
This June, a trove of Jewish documents and books rescued from the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters in May 2003 and shipped to the United States for preservation is slated to be returned to Iraq.

Not, however, if the Iraqi-Jewish diaspora has any say in the matter. Spread across many countries but concentrated in the United States, Great Britain and Israel, some of the community most prominent voices are trying to persuade the U.S. State Department to halt its plans to return what’s become known as the Iraqi Jewish Archive to authorities in Baghdad.” 

The Hidden treasures of Iraqi Jews 

By Jacki Hougi,  Jerusalem Post. January 16, 2014
“On May 6, 2003, American troops reached Baghdad’s Mukhabarat, or secret police headquarters, which had been bombed a few weeks previously by the US Air Force. In the basement of the building, they found thousands of fragments of Torah scrolls, Jewish religious books and personal and community documents which had been confiscated from the thriving Iraqi Jewish community by Saddam Hussein’s secret police.”

Operation Artifact: Jewish groups do not want the rescued Iraqi Jewish Archive to be returned to Iraq

By Renee Ghert-Zand,  Jerusalem Report. January, 2014
“On a chilly mid-December day about 100 people gathered at New Montefiore Cemetery in the town of West Babylon, New York, to witness the burial of a box containing irreparably damaged fragments of holy scrolls that once belonged to the Jewish community of Iraq.” 

Silent No More

By Malcha Abramovitz,  Ami Magazine. December 25, 2013
“The scene at New Montefiore Cemetery in West Babylon, New York on the wet and chilly afternoon of December 15 was nothing less than surrealistic. Mingling sociably with over 100 Iraqi Jews who came from frar and wide was Lukman Faily, Iraq’s new ambassador to the United States.” 

U.S. Should Not Send Iraqi Jewish Archives to be Destroyed in Iraq

By Nabil Al-Haidari,  Gatestone Institute. December 18, 2013
“This fall, two Iraqi experts travelled to the U.S. to study the archival material of Iraq’s former Jewish community, in order to prepare measures of conserving it so that they can take care of the archive when it is returned to Iraq. At present, work is progressing rapidly in the branch archives in College Park by a team of experts with high-tech equipment for cleaning and restoration and digitization of records and documents.”

Iraq Jews bury sacred texts in NYC cemetery

By Sam Sokol,  Jerusalem Post. December 16, 2013
“A number of fragments of holy texts confiscated from the Iraqi Jewish community by Saddam Hussein’s secret police were buried in a Jewish cemetery in New York City on Sunday. The documents, mainly consisting of fragments of Torah scrolls and the book of Esther, are part of a collection discovered in 2003 by coalition forces in the basement of Baghdad’s Mukhabarat, or secret police, headquarters.”

Damaged Torah scroll fragments recovered in Iraq are buried in New York ceremony

By Frank Eltman,  Associated Press. December 16, 2013
“West Babylon, New York – Torah scroll fragments found amid a trove of more than 2,700 books and documents in the flooded Iraqi intelligence building basement have been buried in a religious ceremony at a suburban New York cemetery.”

“Harold Rhode and Operation Ezra and Nehemiah number two, this time for the Jewish Iraqi soul”

By Fiamma Nirenstein,  Times of Israel. December 15, 2013
“Nothing better could have happened to the ancient Iraqi, or rather, in part, Babylonian, Jewish documents inundated in Baghdad by the water caused by an American bomb aimed at a basement of the Mukhabarat, the secret services of Saddam Hussein, than to have chanced upon Harold Rhode. Harold, a civilian volunteer during the war of 2003, has for decades been one of the Pentagon’s specialists in Islamic Affairs, a member of ONA – the Office of Net Assessment, a think tank of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. .”

Iraq’s Exiled Jews Fight To Keep Memorabilia

By Jeremy Hobson,  NPR’s Here and Now. December 12, 2013
“At one time there were 150,000 Jews living in Iraq. Iraq had one of the oldest Jewish populations in the world, dating back some 2,600 years. For centuries, Jews lived peacefully in Iraq until the 1930s, when Nazi ideology began to take hold. That’s when Jews began to experience discrimination and were often barred from employment and attending universities.”

Scholar fights to keep Jewish artifacts from returning to Iraq

By David S. Cloud,  LA Times. December 2, 2013
“Harold Rhode still recalls the euphoria he felt a decade ago after finding thousands of dripping, moldy artifacts of Iraq’s once-vibrant Jewish community in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence service headquarters in Baghdad.”

No holds barred: WIll the US allow Iraq to steal a Jewish treasure? 

By Shmuley Boteach,  Jerusalem Post. December 2, 2013
“I saw something amazing today. The National Archives of the United States, which houses the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, hosted an exhibition of more than 2,700 Iraqi Jewish artifacts – including Torah parchments and ancient prayer books – from a Baghdad synagogue that was looted at gunpoint by Saddam Hussein in 1984. The treasures were discovered in 2003 by US troops in the basement of the Baghdad Intelligence Agency.”

‘Like sending back art Nazis looted': Iraqi Jews who fled persecution flight to stop U.S. from returning stolen artifacts to Baghdad

By Joe O’Connor, National Post. November 29, 2013
“Dr. Caroline Bassoon-Zaltzman was an exemplary student at Menahem Daniel Elementary school in Baghdad. She had a 94 in Arabic, 90 in math and science and 100 in English, grades that stood her first overall in her Grade 6 class and a point of youthful, scholarly pride, that the 56-year-old Iraqi-born Jew, now a Canadian physician living in suburban Toronto, had not really thought about for over 40 years until a friend and former classmate, Lily Shor, in Israel, sent her an email on Nov. 20 at 12:55 a.m..”

Trove of stolen Jewish treasures to be returned to Iraq

Lauren Green for Fox News. November 27, 2013
Video

Tug-of-war erupts over planned return of Jewish archives to Iraq

By Sylvia Westall and Jonathan Saul, Reuters. November 26, 2013
“Jewish books and documents found by U.S. soldiers in the flooded headquarters of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and sent to the United States for restoration have touched off a dispute between Baghdad and Iraqi Jews who fled the country.”

What Will Become of Iraqi Jewish Artifacts?

By Michael Rubin, Commentary Magazine. November 13, 2013
“Operation Iraqi Freedom had many side stories, but one of the most important to historians and religious scholars was the discovery of a vast archive of Iraqi Jewish artifacts that had been seized and in some cases stolen from the Iraqi Jewish community by Saddam Hussein and kept off-limits in the basement of Iraq’s secret police headquarters.”

Iraqi-American jews oppose planned return of Jewish artifacts

By Jared Sichel, Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. November 13, 2013
“The last remnants of Iraq’s once-vibrant, 2,500-year-old Jewish community left the country long ago. (Only five Jews remain, according to a recent New York Times op-ed.) But some Iraqi Jewish manuscripts, community records and holy books may soon be sent back, much to the chagrin of Jewish Iraqi expatriates..”

Jewish Community Statement to Secretary of State John Kerry on Iraqi Jewish Archive

Iraqi Jewish Artifacts Exhibit Opens in Washington

By JTA, November 10, 2013
“The National Archives opened to the public an exhibit of Iraqi Jewish artifacts it restored. The exhibit displays 24 of thousands of items discovered by U.S. troops in 2003, after the U.S. ouster of Saddam Hussein.The troops found the items in the waterlogged basement of Iraqi intelligence headquarters.”

The Remnants of a Culture’s Heart and Soul

By Edward Rothstein, The New York Times. November 10, 2013
“These are not the weapons of mass destruction that the American Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha was seeking in Iraq during the spring of 2003. But the books and manuscripts that the team found in a flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s secret police headquarters — now on display for the first time at the National Archives here — look like victims of some form of ordnance.”

The US archivist who saved the history of Iraq’s Jews

By Jane O’Brien, BBC News, Washington. November 8, 2013
“A flood in a basement underneath the ruins of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence service nearly destroyed centuries of history of Iraq’s vanished Jewish community. Here is the story of the American archivist who led the effort to rescue the books and papers, enabling their display this week at the National Archives in the US capital.”

Keep the Iraqi Jews’ Legacy Safe – in America

By Cynthia Kaplan Shamash, The New York Times. November 7, 2013
“Seventy-five years ago, about 120,000 Jews lived in Iraq. In Baghdad, they were prominent in business and the professions — doctors, lawyers, bankers, professors, musicians, writers, artists, engineers. Last summer, a visitor just back from Iraq told me he could account for only five Iraqi Jews alive in the country.”

Iraqi Ambassador Open to Loan Deal for Trove of Jewish Artifacts

By Nathan Guttman, The Jewish Daily Forward. November 7, 2013
“While stressing his country’s ownership of the Jewish artifacts now on display at the National Archives in Washington, Iraq’s ambassador to the United States hinted that his country could be open to discussing a loan agreement which would delay the return of the objects to Baghdad.”

Who Owns The Archive Of A Vanishing Iraqi Jewish World?

By Larry Abramson, NPR. November 7, 2013
“When U.S. troops entered the basement of Saddam Hussein’s secret police building in Baghdad a decade ago, they were looking for weapons of mass destruction. They didn’t find any.”

Zionist Organization of American Salutes Chuck Schumer

By Jewocity.com. November 7, 2013
“The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has praised U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) for calling upon the U.S. State Department not to hand over to the Iraqi government nearly 3,000 priceless Jewish artifacts from Iraq’s 2,500 year-heritage in Iraq originally looted by successive Iraqi regimes from Iraqi Jews who fled or were grounded into exile in the 1940s and 1950s.”

Rescued from Saddam, Iraqi Jewish archive finally on displayed

By Ben Zehavi, Times of Israel. November 6, 2013
“In May 2003, just days after American-led coalition forces ousted Saddam Hussein, a group of US soldiers from Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha were searching the headquarters of Saddam’s fearsome intelligence service for signs of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.”

Should Iraq’s Jewish Archives Stay in the U.S.? 

By Nathan Guttman, The Jewish Daily Forward. November 3, 2013
“At the National Archives in Washington, the story of Iraq’s ancient Jewish community has just gone on display, presented via a priceless collection of artifacts and documents recovered during America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq.”

National Archive to display trove of Iraqi Jewish books; conflict over to whom they belong

By Eric Tucker and Randy Herchaft, Associated Press. October 30, 2013
“The tattered Torah scroll fragments, Bibles and other religious texts found in a flooded Baghdad basement 10 years ago testify to a once-thriving Jewish population that’s all but disappeared from Iraq.”

Where do Babylonian Jewry’s Archives Belong?

By Jacky Hugi, Al Monitor. October 30, 2013
“Tension has reigned in recent years between Washington and Baghdad regarding the future of a rare treasure trove: the archives of Iraq’s Jewish community. The collection includes about a thousand precious artifacts, mainly books of Jewish law and commentaries that served the Babylonian rabbinical colleges and its eminent rabbis since the 16th century.”

Iraq Wants Jewish Archive to Prove Ownership of the Tower of Babel

By Daniel Greenfield, Front Page Magazine. October 29, 2013
“The Jewish Iraqi Archive, a collection of bibles and other religious books, as well as personal material like schoolbooks from the former Jews of Iraq, confiscated by the Iraqi security services and then transported to the United States after the fall of Saddam, has been in the news lately.”

Schumer Still Pressing on Iraqi Jewish Archive

By Stewart Ain, New York: The Jewish Week. October 29, 2013
“The State Department has rebuffed the request of Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) not to return to Iraq the treasure trove of Jewish artifacts found by American troops in Baghdad in 2003 that Schumer said were “stolen” from the Iraqi Jewish community.”

State Department Rebuffs Schumer on Iraqi Jewish Artifacts

By Steward Ain, New York: The Jewish Week. October 25, 2013
“The State Department has rebuffed the request of Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) not to return to Iraq the treasure trove of Jewish artifacts found by American troops in Baghdad in 2003. Schumer said the items were “stolen” from the Iraqi Jewish community.”

Bipartisan Charge to Return Iraqi Jewish Artifacts to Community, Not Government 

By JTA. October 24, 2013
“WASHINGTON – Some Congress members are working to ensure that Iraqi Jewish artifacts now on display in Washington are returned directly to the Iraqi Jewish community and not the government. Reps. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) are leading the bipartisan effort to return the thousands of books, photos, texts and other materials that were found by the U.S. and coalition forces in 2003.”

Chuck Schumer tries to block return of Jewish artifacts to Iraqi government

By Dan Friedman, New York Daily News. October 23, 2013
“WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Schumer is trying to stop a State Department plan to return 2,700 ancient Jewish artifacts to Iraq. The artifacts — including 2,700 books and tens of thousands of documents — were stolen from Baghdad’s Jewish community by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.”

Raiders of the lost archive

By Sara Aharon, Jerusalem Post. October 23, 2013 
“In 2003, a team of 16 American soldiers in Baghdad stumbled upon a lost treasure trove of thousands of documents belonging to Iraq’s Jewish community. These rare materials, thought to have been stored originally in synagogues and private Jewish homes, were sitting in a moldy, flooded basement of the muhkabarat, Saddam Hussein’s feared secret police.”

Our World: A miracle and an outrage in Washington

By Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post. October 21, 2013
“If you happen to be in Washington, DC, between now and January, you can see a piece of Jewish history that was never supposed to see the light of day. The National Archives is now exhibiting restored holy books and communal documents that belonged to the Jewish community of Iraq.”

Jews fight U.S., Iraq, Obama Over Stolen Torahs

By Bob Unruh, WND Weekly. October 20th, 2013
“Jews worldwide are mobilizing to fight a plan by the U.S. National Archives under the Obama administration to hand over to the Muslim government in Iraq thousands of mostly priceless treasures, including ancient Torahs, that had been stolen by Saddam Hussein.”

Documents Open Window to Iraq’s Vanished Jews

By Judit Neurink, Rudaw. October 18th, 2013
“ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Found in a flooded cellar of Saddam Hussein’s secret service and soon on view at the National Archives in Washington: A treasure trove of papers and books that open a window to Iraq’s Jewish life before it faded under emigration and the Iraqi dictator’s crackdowns.

Sending back Iraqi archive is simply rewarding larceny

By Lyn Julius, London Jewish Chronicle. October 18th, 2013
“One day in 1984, the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein sent his henchmen to a Baghdad synagogue to seize what became known as “the Jewish archive”. The trove, retrieved from Jewish homes, schools and libraries, had been deposited for safe-keeping in the ladies’ gallery.”

Shutdown delays Iraqi Jewish exhibition opening

By Dave Holzel, Washington Jewish Week. October 14th, 2013
“One of the consequences of the government shutdown is that the planned opening of an exhibit of Iraqi Jewish artifacts at the National Archives, “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage,” is on indefinite hold.” 

Plan to ‘return’ Jewish artifacts to Iraq sparks outrage 

By Dan Pine, J Weekly. October 10th, 2013
“Who is the rightful owner of a stunning collection of Iraqi Judaica known as the Iraqi Jewish Archives: the descendants of that country’s exiled Jewish community now living in the United States, or the Iraq government that stole the material from its Jewish population in the first place?”

Iraqi Jews Struggle To Keep Their Artifacts in U.S. 

By Steward Ain, The Jewish Week: New York. October 9th, 2013
“Returning Jewish books and objects to the Iraqi government, as the United States is supposed to do according to a 2003 agreement, would be like giving Jewish property looted to the Nazis back to Germany.

For Iraqi Jewish Archive, road to exhibition and return paved with questions

By Michele Alperin, JNS.org. October 8th, 2013
“A tip in May 2003 about a 7th-century Talmud volume in the basement of the Iraqi intelligence ministry (Mukhabarat) led a team from the Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraq’s transitional government, to a trove of materials from the Iraqi Jewish community that were floating in four feet of water.”

Iraq didn’t want its Jews. Why should it get their inheritance? 

By Adi Schwartz, i24 News. October 4th, 2013
“Next week (October 11th), an exhibition of Jewish artifacts dating back hundreds of years will open at the National Archives Museum in Washington DC. The story of how this invaluable collection reached the United States is an odyssey in itself, which chronicles the demise of the Babylonian Jewish Diaspora.

Outrage: US Returning Artifacts Looted from Iraqi Jews

By Harold Rhode, PJ Media. August 26, 2013
“The National Archives is readying an exhibit of Iraqi Jewish artifacts due to open on October 11. Appallingly, the U.S. government has agreed to then return the Iraqi Jewish archives — including holy books — to Iraq, which systematically expelled its Jewish community, by June of 2014.”

Why the Jewish Archive Shouldn’t Go Back to Iraq

By Daniel Greenfield, FrontPage Magazine. August 26, 2013
“Iraq in the 40s had 350,000 Jews. Today it has somewhere between four and none. Despite that the Obama administration plans to send the Jewish Archive consisting of religious artifacts, bibles, marriage contracts, community records and private notebooks seized by the Iraqi Secret Police from the Jewish community back to Iraq.”

Rebuilding Bridges to Iraq’s Jewish Heritage

By Ali Mamouri, Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse. August 15, 2013
“The Iraqi elite see the issue of Iraq’s Jews in two ways: Nostalgia about a beautiful past, and a continuing tragedy of forced displacement which is not over yet. Although the expulsion of the Jews from Iraq was a painful tragedy of murder, persecution, theft and civil rights violations, both sides still long to see the Jews return to Iraq, something that is nearly impossible.”

Iraq Wants Jews “Trove,” But not Jews

By Ken Blackwell, Townhall. August 18, 2013
“Some fifty-three percent of Americans told the Gallup Poll last spring they regarded the Iraq war as a mistake. The numbers were not evenly divided.”

Archives readies a schoolgirl’s records and a trove of Jewish treasures for return to Iraq

By Michael Ruane, Washington Post. August 13, 2013
“The girl’s name was Farah. She had thick, dark hair. And in the school snapshot found in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s secret-police headquarters, she is smiling and wearing a pretty dress.”

Rescue or Return: The Fate of the Jewish Archive

By Bruce Montgomery, International Journal of Cultural Property. May, 2013
“As contested cultural property, the central question is to whom does the archive belong? Whose cultural heritage is it? Does it belong to Iraq, the country of origin, or to the Iraqi Jewish diaspora, the culture of provenance?”

10 Years After Looting, Iraq national museum long way from public opening, despite renovation

By Associated Press. April 11, 2013
“In Iraq’s national museum, home to some of the world’s most precious artifacts of ancient Mesopotamia, a caption beside a skeleton simply reads in English: “dated to very old time.”

Iraq cuts US archaeology cooperation over archives

By Mohamad Ali Harissi, Associated Foreign Press. June 25, 2012
“Iraq has cut cooperation with the United States on archaeological exploration because Washington has not returned Iraq’s Jewish archives, Tourism and Archaeology Minister Liwaa Smaisim has told AFP.”

Vicar’s plea to save Torah scroll of Iraq’s last Jews

By Marcus Dysch, The Jewish Chronicle of London. June 7, 2012
“A vicar who oversees the protection of Baghdad’s seven remaining Jews is hoping to find assistance to save 365 ancient sefer Torah scrolls..”

Tug-of-War Over Iraqi Jewish Trove in US Hands

By Associate Press. July 10, 2011
“A trove of Jewish books and other materials, rescued from a sewage-filled Baghdad basement during the 2003 invasion, is now caught up in a tug-of-war between the U.S. and Iraq.”

Crossroads of Antiquity Can’t Decide on New Path

By Steven Lee Meyers, New York Times. October 19th, 2010
“KIFL, Iraq – This small town, shaded by date palms on a bend of the  Euphrates River, has been revered as a holy place for centuries – by Jews, by Muslims and, for periods of peace, at least, by both. “The old democracy,” as the local police chief put it.”

Iraq demands return of its Jewish Archive

By Glenn Kesslar, Washington Post. April 30, 2010
“The soldiers came looking for weapons of mass destruction. What they found in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s secret police headquarters was a legacy of destruction — the demise of one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world.”

Iraq urges U.S. to give back Iraqi Jewish Archive

By The Associate Press. January 16, 2010
“It was seized from Jewish families and wound up soaking in sewage water in the basement of a secret police building. Rescued from the chaos that engulfed Baghdad as Saddam Hussein was toppled, it now sits in safekeeping in an office near Washington, D.C.”

Baghdad Jews Have Become a Fearful Few

By Stephen Farrell, New York Times. June 1st, 2008
“ “I have no future here to stay.”  Written in broken English but with perfect clarity, the message is a stark and plaintive assessment from one of the last Jews of Babylon.The community of Jews in Baghdad is now all but vanished in a land where their heritage recedes back to Abraham of Ur, to Jonah’s prophesying to Nineveh, and to Nebuchadnezzar’s sending Jews into exile here more than 2,500 years ago.”

Saddam’s Jewish Archives

By Moment Magazine. October, 2003
“It all began with a tip like the one that led Americans to where Uday and Qusay Hussein were holed up in Mosul. Excpet that this was a tip about a rumored seventh-century Talmud in the basement of the Mukhabarat head-quarters in Baghdad. The Mukhabarat was Saddam Hussein’s feared secret-service, and the tipster was the head of the Israel-Palestinian section of the Mukhabarat.”

Aftereffects: Missing Documents; G.I.’s Search, Not Alone, In the Cellar of Secrets

By Judith Miller, New York Times. May, 9th 2003
“A team of American soldiers returned today to Iraqi secret police headquarters and found a suspicious intruder whom they detained, dozens of 19th- and early 20th-century Jewish texts and records and a huge unexploded American bomb, but not the ancient copy of the Talmud for which they were searching.”

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