23 January, 20:15

Court postpones Russia's lawsuit to US over Schneerson library until April

Court postpones Russia's lawsuit to US over Schneerson library until April

The Moscow arbitration court ruled Thursday to postpone until April 14 the preliminary hearings over the lawsuit of the Russian State Library and the Russian Culture Ministry to the Library of the U.S. Congress over books of the Schneerson library.

The court has postponed the hearing once again due to the fact that the US had not yet received the notification of the trial, the Interfax correspondent reported. According to the case materials, the Russian State Library demands that the Library of the US Congress return seven books of the Schneerson library.

The third party in the case is the Agudas Chassidei Chabad non-governmental organization, which had the books temporarily.

The Schneerson Library is a collection of old Jewish books and manuscripts built by Rabbi Yosef Yitzhak Schneerson in the Russian Empire at the end of the 19th century. Part of the collection was nationalized by Bolsheviks in 1918 and eventually joined the collection of the Lenin Library (Russian State Library now).

Schneerson managed to take the other part of the collection out of the Soviet Union while emigrating in the 1930s. The New York-based Chabad-Lubavitch religious community has been seeking the Schneerson collection's handover since late 1980s.

In August 2010 a federal judge in Washington, Royce Lamberth, ruled that the Hasidim proved the legitimacy of their claims to the ancient Jewish books and manuscripts, which, in his definition, are kept at the Russian State Library and the Russian Military Archive illegally. The Russian Foreign Ministry challenged the judgment.

It was reported on January 17, 2013 that a US district court in Washington had ruled to oblige Russia to pay $50,000 a day as a fine until the Schneerson collection is returned to Chabad-Lubavitch based on the 2010 court order. A judge in Washington ruled on June 20, 2013 that Russia's refusal to give the Schneerson collection to the US Hasidic community was inappropriate and unlawful, according to AP.

Voice of Russia, Interfax

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