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March 10, 1951 Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries – Iraq

1949 Jewish Refugees from Arab CountriesThe Iraqi Parliament passed a new law freezing the property and bank accounts of those Jews who had surrendered their Iraqi citizenship and applied for admission to Israel.

A Custodian General was appointed for the frozen property evaluated at between 90,000,000 and 100,000,000 dinars (approximately $280,000,000).  Although the law discusses only the freezing of assets, the Custodian General is empowered to liquidate all Jewish property under his jurisdiction.  He may order the inspection of the books of any person he believes possesses, or has at his disposal, the property of a denaturalized person.  He may order the dissolution of companies established by a denaturalized person, or of which the latter is a share-holder, on a number of grounds, either that the continuance of the company is harmful to Iraq, or that it would lead to smuggling.  And he is permitted to dispose of the shares of a denaturalized person.

Under the law, all banks and public bodies must report to the Custodian General real property belonging to a denaturalized person, whether it is held in trust or otherwise.  The disposal of such property is forbidden.  The same obligation applies to partners, holders of mortgages, insurance policies and leases.  All movable property, under the law, is turned over to the Custodian.  Exempt only is household furniture and effects, food and personal clothing.

The confiscation and the freezing of the property of Iraqi Jews was conceived by Nuri-as-Said, the Minister President of the country as a means of improving the economy of Iraq.

Source: The Arab Refugee Problem, How it can be Solved.  Proposals—submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations, December 1951

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