Wednesday, February 10, 2021

On the Iraqi Jewish Archives

IRAQI JEWISH ARCHIVES WATCH: The Iraqi Jewish Archives. Lost and Found…and LOST? 52 years ago, 9 Jews were hanged in Baghdad. Today, their descendants risk losing everything they left behind (Carole Basri and Adriana Davis, Jewish Ledger). Before this article I had heard nothing about the Iraqi Jewish Archives for a couple of years. The article notes that "Carole Basri is the daughter of Iraqi Jewish refugees." She and filmmaker Adriana Davis give some background on Ms. Basri's family in Iraq and discuss the current situation concerning the archive as they understand it. The article reports that they have made a film about the Archives

To recap the story of the Iraqi Jewish Archive(s): a lot of Jewish documents in Hebrew and Arabic were found rotting in the flooded basement of the Iraqi Intelligence headquarters during the Iraq war in 2003. In a few weeks these were frozen to preserve them and they were later shipped to the United States for conservation. Meanwhile, Iraq was asking for them back. They have been conserved for some years and have traveled in an exhibition. There have been negotiations with Iraq about their return. The return deadlines have repeatedly been extended. Some, including some Iraqi Jewish refugees and their descendants, oppose the return to Iraq. There was a rumor of a three-year extension to the most recent return agreement, which would put the current informal return date in September of 2021.

Background here, with links going back to the discovery of the archive in 2003.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.