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Iraqi Foundation Preserves Country's Recent Past

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Iraqi Foundation Preserves Country's Recent Past

Iraq

Iraqi Foundation Preserves Country's Recent Past

Iraqi Foundation Preserves Country's Recent Past

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In 2003, the Iraq Memory Foundation collected millions of pages of documents from the headquarters of the Baath Arab Socialist Party Regional Command. Courtesy Iraq Memory Foundation hide caption

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Courtesy Iraq Memory Foundation

In 2003, the Iraq Memory Foundation collected millions of pages of documents from the headquarters of the Baath Arab Socialist Party Regional Command.

Courtesy Iraq Memory Foundation

Amid the looting and chaos that followed the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime three years ago, returned Iraqi exiles and other Iraqis gathered enormous troves of Baath party files — more than 11 million documents in all. Many of the papers outline elaborate methods of repression that dominated every aspect of Iraqi life for 35 years.

Archiving Saddam's Regime

The Iraq Memory Foundation has collected documents, oral histories, artwork and artifacts.

The Iraq Memory Foundation, created by these exiles and others after Saddam's ouster, aims to preserve and analyze Iraqi Baath party records. It hopes that Iraqis can understand the mistakes of the past, and never repeat them.

The foundation, with offices in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, is scraping by, using money from the U.S. government. It works not only to preserve Baath documents but also to collect oral histories from people across the country and of different ethnic groups. It has provided documents for Saddam's trial.

The group also is gathering art and artifacts that foundation workers hope one day may be housed in a museum.

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