Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Investigative Report Looks At Chabad Collections In Russia That Have Been Subject of Extensive US Litigation

The Forward today has a long and interesting report from Russia on the two expropriated collections of valuable Jewish religious books and manuscripts (the Schneerson Library and the Archive) that have been the subject of extensive litigation in the United States. The American Chabad organization, Agudas Chasidei Chabad, has obtained U.S. judgments ordering the collections returned to it in the United States. (See prior posting.) One of the collections, the Schneersohn Library, which was nationalized by the Bolsheviks after the 1917 Russian Revolution and has been in the Russian State Library in Moscow, is now being digitized and moved to Moscow's new Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, a $50 million institution controlled by the Russian branch of Chabad. This implements a proposed compromise that Russian President Vladimir Putin previously suggested. Forward's investigative reporter visited the room at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center which is housing the collection as it is moved there, and reports on the ease of access to it. Boruch Gorin who heads the Jewish Museum favors this arrangement and sees the possibility that if it were accepted, eventually the other collection, the Archive, which consists of documents plundered by the Nazis and taken back by the Red Army in World War II, could be sent to the United States. He says that the uncompromising strategy of Chasidei Chabad threatens that possibility.