Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage

Rescued From Saddam’s Clutches

Trove of Iraqi Jewish treasures on view.

Special To The Jewish Week

In 2003, when Coalition forces seized Baghdad, a group of American soldiers stumbled upon treasures from the Jewish community of Iraq. While the team had been sent to search for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Saddam Hussein’s intelligence building, what they found were nearly 3,000 books and documents that had originally come from synagogues and Jewish organizations. The items were submerged under four feet of water, and the reason they were there in the first place remains a mystery.

Items recovered from flooded basement of Saddam’s intelligence headquarters.  Photo courtesy of National Archives
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