National Archives at Kansas City

Corine Wegener to Discuss -Saving the Iraqi Jewish Archive-

Press Release: June 17, 2015

National Archives at Kansas City

Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage Exhibition Speaker Series

Corine Wegener to Discuss Saving the Iraqi Jewish Archive

For More Information Contact:
Kimberlee Ried, 816-268-8072

Kansas City (MO)…On Wednesday, July 15 at 7:00 p.m., the National Archives and Midwest Center for Holocaust Education will host Corine Wegener for a discussion titled Saving the Iraqi Jewish Archive. Wegener’s lecture will be held at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, 100 West 26th Street, Kansas City, Missouri.

A free light reception and exhibit viewing will precede this lecture from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. at the National Archives, 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, Missouri.

During the U.S. invasion of Iraq members of Achmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress searched the flooded basement of the bombed out Iraqi Secret Police headquarters for intelligence information. Instead they discovered hundreds of books, documents, and other materials, many of them written in Hebrew, which came to be known as the Iraqi Jewish Archive. All that remained of the once flourishing Jewish community of Baghdad, these materials had to be saved. Major (Ret.) Corine Wegener, then an Army Reservist and a curator at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, was in Baghdad serving as the Arts, Monuments, and Archives Officer for the 352d Civil Affairs Command. Wegner will describe her team’s efforts to preserve the archive in a freezer container during the hot Baghdad summer of 2003 and the race against time to maintain its frozen condition during its trip to the National Archives for conservation. Finally, Wegener will talk about how modern day Monuments Men are learning from this case in their training today.

Reservations are requested for this free program by calling 816-268-8010 or emailing kansascity.educate@nara.gov. Requests for ADA accommodations must be submitted five business days prior to events.

About the Speaker

Corine Wegener is a retired Army major and now serves as Cultural Heritage Preservation Officer in the Office of the Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution. She is also past founding president of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield and continues to advise Army and Marine Corps Civil Affairs units on cultural property protection training.

About the Iraqi Jewish Heritage Exhibit and Speaker Series

This program is offered in partnership with the National World War I Museum and Memorial and the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education and is a part of the Wednesday Evening Speaker Series presented in conjunction with the exhibit Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage. The exhibition was created by the National Archives and Records Administration, with generous support from the U.S. Department of State. This free exhibition is available for viewing, Tuesday-Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. through August 15, 2015. Group tours are available. For more information call 816-268-8013 or email mickey.ebert@nara.gov.

Kansas City sponsors include the Community Legacy Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City; Oppenstein Brothers Foundation; Sosland Foundation; H & R Block Foundation; Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation, United Missouri Bank, Trustee; Sprint Foundation; Annette & Sam & Jack Swirnberg Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; J-Lead, Flo Harris Supporting Foundation and the Earl J. and Leona K. Tranin Special Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City; Menorah Legacy Foundation; Harry Portman Charitable Trust, United Missouri Bank, Trustee; with additional support from the Jewish Art Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

The Midwest Center for Holocaust Education (MCHE) was founded in 1993 by Holocaust survivors. Its mission is to teach the history and lessons of the Holocaust, applying its lessons to counter indifference, intolerance, and genocide. MCHE honors local survivors and their experiences by recording and communicating their stories to every generation. To learn more, visit www.mchekc.org.

The National Archives at Kansas City is home to historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by Federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us online.

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LPM/LE-KC 2015-018

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