The Chabad- Lubavitch Hasidic sect was started in Russia in the nineteenth-century. It has had a long line of famous leaders, all of whom were born in Russia. However, when the Nazis came they were either killed or escaped with their lives.
Over many years they had accumulated a very large and valuable library of holy Jewish books. The Nazis stole the books and brought them to Germany where they were stored for future use.
Following the Allied invasion of Germany, the Russians took the books and brought them back to the Soviet Union where they still reside. For many, many years the heirs of the books, the Lubavitch movement has demanded their return. The Soviet government always refused.
A U.S. judge last week ruled against the Russian government for its refusal to return thousands of manuscripts that once belonged to a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi. The library was seized by Red Army in Nazi Germany as war booty.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said late Wednesday that the ruling is a ”rude violation” of international law.
It said the library was nationalized because its owner, Rabbi Joseph Isaac Schneersohn, had no heirs. Schneersohn was forced to leave Russia in 1927.
The ministry said the library is available for scientific study and worship.
Chabad-Lubavich said it feared some manuscripts were headed to the black market.