The soldiers came looking for weapons of mass destruction. What they found in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s secret police headquarters was a legacy of destruction — the demise of one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world.
There was a treasure trove of Torahs and Haggadas, centuries old. And there were marriage records, university applications, financial documents — the living record of a community, seized by the Mukhabarat from the homes of Jews as they fled Iraq under pressure and amid persecution, with only a handful remaining.
Now comes the historical conundrum: Who owns these materials?