Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Russia sues US over Schneerson collection

Russia's Ministry of Culture and the State Library have filed a lawsuit with the Moscow Commercial Court against the US and its Congressional Library over the disputed Rebbe Schneerson book collection, a lawyer said on Tuesday. They are suing not only the library but also the United States as a country, Yury Pilipenko, managing partner of the YUST law firm, who is representing the Ministry of Culture in court, told RAPSI. The plaintiffs have asked the court to order the Congressional Library to return seven books from the collection of rare Judaist books, also known as the Schneerson Collection. The books, now part of the Russian State Library's Oriental Literature Center, have been on loan to Washington since 1994 as an international interlibrary loan. Lubavitcher Rebbe Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson was forced to leave the Soviet Union in 1927. He took his collection with him to Latvia and Poland, where he left the books after Poland was attacked by Nazi Germany. The collection was taken to Germany and confiscated by the Red Army in 1945. Schneerson died in 1950 without leaving instructions regarding the collection. On January 16, the US District Court for the District of Columbia ordered Russia to pay fines of $50,000 per day until it returns the books and manuscripts to America's Hasidic community. Russia's Foreign Ministry described the ruling as unlawful provocation.

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