Russia Still Keeping Illegally Confiscated Chabad Literature
Despite being one of the world’s leading rabbi’s at the time, Rabbi Joseph Isaac Schneersohn of Chabad fled the Soviet Union in 1927 due to a fear of death. He took over 60,000 documents with him during his journey through Latvia and into Poland. The Soviets would take from Schneersohn again, confiscating the documents he left behind after fleeing Nazi Europe to come to the United States.
Over 60 years later, the use of diplomatic pressure at the highest levels has failed to convince the Russians to return these works to Chabad or Schneersohn’s family. “The Schneersohn collection” is housed at the Russian State Library, despite former President Bill Clinton’s and the U.S. Senate’s attempts to have the documents returned.
Today, the Russian Culture Minisiter, Alexander Avdeyev inferred U.S. claims that the documents belong to the American Jewish community are not reasonable.
“The library forms part of the Russian library reserve and is inalienable. The history of its claiming by U.S. plaintiffs appears to us provocative,” Avdeyev said.
Chabad has sued the Russian government but the Russians have indicated they will not abide by the jurisdiction of a U.S. court.
“Only when the 2011 decision of the U.S. court is set aside will a dialogue become possible,” Avdeev added.