Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Archive exhibit to open in California

 The oldest item in the Archive exhibit, a Bible printed in Venice in 1568

The 'Discovery and Recovery' exhibition of highlights of the Iraqi Jewish Archive will open in the autumn of 2015 at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba, California.

State Department funding for this and three other exhibitions has been been approved, the World Organisation of Jews from Iraq has announced.

In view of the large number of Jews living in the Los Angeles area, California was the 'next logical venue' for the exhibit, according to WOJI. Last year the IJA exhibit was shown at the National Archives building in Washington DC and then at the Museum of Jewish history in New York City. The latter museum funded the exhibit itself.

Members of the Los Angeles Jewish community, together with a US government agency, had failed to persuade two Jewish institutions -  the Skirball Cultural Center and the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance - to host the next exhibit, although the State Department would have covered all expenses.

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library, an hour's drive from the Kahal Joseph Sephardic congregation in LA, is re-adjusting its programmes in order to show the IJA exhibit.

The IJA was due to return to Iraq in the summer of 2014, but the State Department negotiated a two-year extension to the agreement with the Iraqi government, although unspecified items were due to go back. 

The Archive - a collection of documents and books confiscated from Iraqi Jews by the Saddam regime - was shipped to the US for restoration by the National Archives and Records Administration. The project took 10 years, but Iraqi Jews in the US have argued that the archive belongs to them and not to Iraq, and should never go back.

Wiesenthal questioned on exhibition  omission

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