William (aka Bill the Godfather)

William (aka Bill the Godfather)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Iraqi Jewish archive: Should the U.S. send it back?

WASHINGTON (RNS) Acting on a tip, 16 U.S. troops stormed the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad intelligence headquarters in 2003 and found a stash of Torah scrolls, prayer books and Hebrew calendars.

The trove was moldy and ripped, some of it of little value, much of it priceless — 2,700 books and tens of thousands of documents, all stolen from the Jews of Iraq.

Ten years later, 24 of the artifacts form a rare exhibit at the National Archives on the Mall, just steps away from rooms where tourists stand in line to see the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The exhibit has raised thorny questions about the ultimate disposition of the artifacts.
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