In June of 2003, the National Archives Preservation Programs received a call for help from Iraq.
American soldiers had found tens of thousands of documents and 2,700 Jewish books while searching in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters. The historic material was soaking wet.
And so Doris Hamburg and Mary-Lynn Ritzenthaler boarded a C-130 cargo plane and flew to Iraq.
Over the next several years, the documents would be cleaned, rehoused in custom-built boxes, stabilized, cataloged, and digitized. Experts in Jewish history, Iraqi and Jewish history, the Iraqi Jewish community, and Jewish rare books lent their skills and knowledge.
On November 7, 2013, the exhibit “Discovery and Recovery: The Iraqi Jewish Archive” opened to the public at the National Archives, and it will be on display until January 5, 2014. You can also see the documents online in a new website.
Read the full story on the Prologue blog: http://go.usa.gov/W82m
Medieval world 1000 feet below the surface
Every now and then you read a story about medieval times that you are sure is made up. Here is one, but it’s not. At 1000 ft below the surface, no more than ten miles from the Polish city of Krakow, lies the Wieliczka salt mine. It’s a labyrinth of chambers and lakes, but also a place with stables for horses, a chapel (with chandeliers made of rock salt), a salt-sculpted hall seating 400, and an amazing frieze with a scene of the Last Supper, carved in a wall of rock salt (top pic). A total of nine levels contain a combined 300 kilometres (186 miles) of tunnels and some 3,000 rooms. The most astonishing thing? The mine dates from medieval times: the structure was completed c. 1280 - although the sculptures appear to be much younger, including from the 19th century. A world buried below the world: am I the only one thinking Mines of Moria here?
Pics: the Frieze in the Wieliczka salt mine (I’m not sure about its date) is from Wikipedia (here), the rest from tourist websites. More about this fascinating site in a recent CNN article, here; and on the United Nations World Heritage website, here (but don’t touch the pics).
I made this powerpoint for this week’s lesson - Regional/Iconic American Foods. I went back through and replaced all the text with my student’s reactions.