Sunday, November 10, 2013

US National Archives releases videos


 Two days after the official opening of the Iraqi-Jewish Archive Exhibit, Discovery and Recovery,  in Washington DC, the US National Archives has released several video clips illustrating how the archive was found, painstakingly preserved and restored, and is being digitised. The clip above is of Maurice Shohet, president of the World Organisation of Jews from Iraq (WOJI). Shohet tells the story of his life in Iraq and his dramatic escape. He is shown records of the Frank Iny Jewish school in Baghdad where he was a pupil. It was closed in 1974. His classmates are now scattered all over the world.   

Video Clips:

1. "Discovery and Recovery" Exhibit Sneak Preview (2:35)  
The dramatic and heroic story of how the IJA historic materials were found and rescued, and how the National Archives is preserving them.

2. Conservation Lab at the National Archives at College Park (3:18) IJA staff demonstrate the fascinating yet painstaking preservation work required to stabilize and preserve these historic materials.

3. Digital Preservation of the Iraqi Jewish Archive (2:45)
How the IJA historic and fragile materials are photographed, scanned and digitized.

4. Iraqi Jewish Archive – A Personal Story from Maurice Shohet (3:58)                   
Maurice Shohet, President of the World Organization of Jews from Iraq, finds his own school records amongst the materials at the National Archives at College Park.  He brings these records to life - providing context and sharing his family story and pictures.

5. Discovery and Recovery:  Behind the Scenes Work (3:50) Iraqi Jewish Archive staff discuss and show the ongoing work to make preserve this historic collection.

Here is an inventory of the 24 items on display as part of the National Archives exhibit:

A Hebrew Bible with Commentaries from 1568 - one of the oldest printed books recovered (see the following image)

Torah Scroll Fragment of Genesis 11:19--16:12, Baghdad, 19th-20th centuries
1793 Babylonian Talmud from Vienna

1525 Bible with Commentaries from Venice

 Tik (Torah case) from Baghdad,  with the glass panel , 19th-20th centuries

Prayer Books for Afternoon and Evening Services as follows:

Seder Minha ve-Arvit le-Shalosh Regalim (Festival Prayer Book) Baghdad, 1912

Sidur Kehilat Ya`akov (Community of Jacob  Prayer Book) Baghdad, 1962

“Qanoun al-Nisa” - Religious Guidebook for Women, Baghdad, 1906

Hebrew Calendars - 19 printed calendars from 1959 to 1973

Original Calendar Framed on Wall; and Graphic Treatment of Calendar Pages - Baghdad, 1969-1970

Letter to Chief Rabbi:  - Letter from the British Military Governor’s Office in Baghdad to the Chief Rabbi Regarding the Allotment of Sheep for Rosh ha-Shanah, the Jewish New Year, 1918

Letter to Chief Rabbi: - Letter from the British Military Governor’s Office in Baghdad to the Chief Rabbi Regarding a Request to Provide Matzah to Jewish Prisoners during Passover, 1917

Prayer Book from Baghdad, 1908 - Sefer Zikaron Tov: Seder Tefilah le-Rosh ha-Shana

Hanukkah Book from Baghdad, 1926

Haggadah, 1902 - This Haggadah was hand-lettered and decorated by an Iraqi youth

Handbill Regarding a Tax on Kosher Meat in Baghdad, after 1931

Hebrew Elementary School Primer, Baghdad, 1949 - Ezra Haddad, Alpha Beta: ve-Targilei Mikra la-Mathilim Alphabet: And Reading Exercises for Beginners)

Letter to College Board - Letter from the Shamash Secondary School in Baghdad to the College Entrance Examination Board in Princeton, New Jersey, Regarding SAT Exams, 1965

Exam grades for student, Baghdad, 1967

School Certificate for student, Baghdad, 1970

Chemistry Notes, Frank Iny School in Baghdad, 1959-1960

Letter from the Armenian Sports Club in Baghdad Regarding a Request to Hold a Friendly Basketball Game, 1962
Letter from David Sassoon & Co. Ltd., Bombay, Regarding a Payment, 1920

Correspondence between Dr. Siegfried Wolff, Worms, Germany, and the President of the Jewish Community in Baghdad, 1933

Letter requesting permission to leave Iraq – 1947

Letter to President of Jewish Community asking for help in getting a Jewish divorce – 1953

Book of Vigils, Shefer ha-Tikunim, Livorno, 1795

Letter about vehicle, 1970 - Letter from the Administrative Council of Iraqi Jews in Baghdad to the Director of Transportation and Traffic Services Regarding the Vehicle of the Hevra Kadisha (burial society), 1970.

Laws Monitoring and Managing the Assets of Jews who have abrogated their Iraqi Citizenship Baghdad, 1951

Letter from the President of the Jewish Community in Baghdad to the Minister of Information, Baghdad, Regarding Sending the Torah Scrolls from Baghdad to London, February 8, 1977

Passover Haggadah, La Haggadah de Pessach, Vienna, 1930

Zohar on the Torah, Livorno, 1815

The exhibit also includes several photos courtesy of several organizations and individuals. Among these photos:

Synagogue of the A.D. Sassoon School, Baghdad, 1930s

Photo - Tik (Torah case) from Iraq, 1908.

Wedding of Iraqi Couple around 1958

Schoolchildren at Birthday Party in Baghdad, about 1959

On the Tigris River, around 1959

Bar Mitzvah in Baghdad, 1960

Bar Mitzvah in Baghdad, 1963

A list of the whole preserved material of the IJA is being made available online, along with digital images of the documents and many books and additional information about the preservation process. 


Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

last night after Shabbat, the Ro'im `Olam TV show on channel 1 ran a feature on the Iraqi Jewish archives and had the film maker Mr Dror on as a guest. It also showed some film about the preservation work done by the US national archives.

malca said...

I had assumed that someone with a sense of humor chose the Torah fragment that is on display. If the selection was by chance, then the one with the sense of humor is The One. The archive provides a strong message to any Jews who remain in Iraq.