Putin Transfers Chabad Archive to Russian Museum, Hopes for Resolution of Controversy
Powerful Russian President Vladimir Putin made an appearance at the Museum of Jewish History in Moscow Thursday to announce that the country would be transferring a collection of historic Jewish books and manuscripts to the museum, Reuters reports.
The collection, known as the “Schneerson Archive,” belonged to the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson. It was nationalized by the Bolsheviks in 1918 and ended up in the Russian State Library. A second part which fell into the hands of the Nazis, was later seized by the Red Army and then handed over to the Russian State Military Archive.
Lubavitchers in the U.S. have sought the restitution of the library for decades but to no avail, and Putin hasn’t made it any easier.
With the transfer to the Jewish Museum, Putin expressed hope that the matter would be laid to rest. “I hope transferring the Schneerson collection, which undoubtedly not only presents an interest, but is also of great value to Jewish people, and not only Jews living in Russia, but also Jews who live in other countries, to the Jewish Museum and the Moscow Tolerance Center for storage purposes, will put an end to this problem,” he said Thursday.