In May 2013, American forces in Baghdad discovered an archive of thousands of photos, documents and books pertaining to Iraqi Jewry in a basement of the Iraqi security services’ building. The archive comprised dozens of boxes, most of which had become mildewed after getting wet in the waterlogged basement. The collection included many rare books and papers, including 500-year-old volumes of Torah commentary. To save the archive, the U.S. military secured the permission of the Iraqi government to send the boxes to the National Archives in Washington, where, bit by bit, workers managed to restore most of the documents.
Before removing the documents, the American government agreed to the Iraqis’ stipulation that the documents be returned once they were restored.