This is the number of my house in Baghdad, situated in a narrow unnamed land (Kucha) between Qanbar Ali Street and El-Amin Street. I was born in that house and my father had bought it - the early 1920's. It was a small 2 storey building, but was 'renovated' in 1939 and was very comfortable in the centre of the Jewish community. Hanoon Market (known by the Jews as Hanooni, Taht-Eltakia and Jewish schools especially Al-Wattania school were all within a few minutes walk. Even Shamash School from which I was graduated, was about 6 minutes walk from my house.
Although many new streets in Baghdad had been constructed during the last few decades and many houses had been demolished for this purpose, it is unlikely that my house had been demolished, because it was so close to El-Amin Street which joins El-Rashid Street and Ghazi Street, and it is still there.
When we renounced our Iraqi nationality, or rather we were forced to do so, our house, like all our cash and other properties were all "frozen" which means that we could not do any transaction. Just before leaving Baghdad for Israel, I learned that an Arab neighbour intended to occupy it.
I am convinced that my house is still there, and one day I or my children will go back to our house at 53/103.
If money is needed for another renovation, there is a lot of money in my name and my father's name in our frozen account in Ottoman Bank at Bank Street. I still keep the saving books of all the members of my family. The only problem I may face is the lost Deed of the house.
Is this a dream? Not at all! If The Scribe's proposal of a Middle East Federation where all Jews and Arabs share the wealth is not a dream, why should mine be?
Albert Khabbaza, MD
Great Neck , NY
If you would like to make any comments or contribute to the scribe please contact us.