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Washington - Putin's Idea To House Jewish Collection Rejected

Published on: February 21, 2013 10:20 AM
Last updated on: February 21, 2013 12:19 PM
By: AP
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FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) listens to Russia's Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar (L) during his visit to the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre in Moscow February 19, 2013.  REUTERS/Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/PooFILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) listens to Russia's Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar (L) during his visit to the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre in Moscow February 19, 2013.  REUTERS/Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Poo

Washington - A U.S.-based Jewish group Thursday rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suggestion to house disputed historical collections of books and documents at a Jewish museum in Moscow.

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Nathan Lewin, a lawyer for the Jewish group Chabad, said in a statement provided to The Associated Press that Chabad is the rightful owner and Putin’s proposal is not acceptable.

“The collection must be returned to the Agudas Chasidei Chabad library at Chabad’s worldwide headquarters in Brooklyn, New York,” Lewin said.

Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court here last month fined Russia $50,000 a day until it returns the documents to Chabad. On Tuesday, at a meeting of government officials at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, Putin floated the idea of transferring them to the museum as a way to resolve the impasse. He said all the sides in the dispute should “strive not to inflame the situation but search for a solution,” The New York Times reported.

Russian news agencies reported that Putin criticized Lamberth’s ruling, saying “discussion of this problem has taken on elements of confrontation.” Russia claims the collections are state property. Last month, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the ruling “an absolutely unlawful and provocative decision” and threatened a tough response if U.S authorities try to seize Russian property in an attempt to get the fines.

Russia had earlier halted all art exhibit loans to the U.S., fearing they would be seized and held hostage in the court battle. That’s despite Chabad’s assurance in court filings that it will not go after any art deemed culturally significant by the State Department — which is the case for major exhibitions. Such art is already protected from legal claims under the Immunity from Seizure Act.

There are two collections at issue: 12,000 religious books and manuscripts seized during the Bolshevik revolution and the Russian Civil War nearly a century ago; and 25,000 pages of handwritten teachings and other writings of religious leaders stolen by Nazi Germany during World War II, then transferred by the Soviet Red Army as war booty to the Russian State Military Archive. The books and manuscripts, some hundreds of years old, record Chabad’s core teachings and traditions

The case has been dragging on for eight years, and efforts to get the materials returned date back decades, involving presidential administrations and members of Congress of both parties. Lamberth concluded earlier that the records are unlawfully held by the Russian State Library and the Russian military archive, and in 2010, he ordered the Russian government to turn them over to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow or to Chabad’s representative. But Russia refused, leading to the fines, which Russia hasn’t paid.

The Obama administration unsuccessfully urged Lamberth not to issue the fines, arguing they wouldn’t help resolve the dispute, would be counterproductive and would hurt U.S. foreign policy interests.

The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.


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Read Comments (18)  —  Post Yours »

2

 Feb 21, 2013 at 11:47 AM ShmuelG Says:

I knew Chabad wouldn't be fooled so easily. The "compromise" that the thieving Russians proposed is reduced to this: the sforim will remain with the ganovim, to be kept in the Russian government building on which they will affix the sign "Jewish Museum." This "compromise" will only be welcomed by the terminally stupid and naive, who wanted to capitulate to the Russian ganovim all along.

Our law enforcement should continue to pursue fines against Russia until that utterly useless country gives in.

As for the "art" exhibit loans mentioned at the conclusion of the article, let Russian savages keep those abominable icons to themselves. No yid is allowed to look at them (and most would likely be induced to vomit if they tried), and even decent American goyim are better off having never seen them.

3

 Feb 21, 2013 at 11:54 AM Raphael_Kaufman Says:

Sorry, Putin's idea seems like a reasonable compromise to me.

4

 Feb 21, 2013 at 12:57 PM Anonymous Says:

To comment #1 u sound like a sick person g-d should bless.

6

 Feb 21, 2013 at 02:42 PM Aryeh Says:

Reply to #3  
Raphael_Kaufman Says:

Sorry, Putin's idea seems like a reasonable compromise to me.

How about I take your property and keep it in my museum?

7

 Feb 21, 2013 at 03:40 PM Isaac Says:

Placing Holy Seforim and writings in the Russian owned Musuem reminds me of Achashverosh displaying the Holy items of the Beis Hamikdash at his own party. Are we supposed to be happy about that? Thieves dont have a right to dictate where the items they stole should be returned to ......

8

 Feb 21, 2013 at 03:46 PM Anonymous Says:

The rebbe didn't regret getting the seforim from gurary at all. And the famous video of the rebbe screaming @ the bocherim is b/c they were wasting time something to do with the seforim but he wasn't upset that he sued for the seforim.

9

 Feb 21, 2013 at 03:50 PM klm Says:

hisgara beimos !

10

 Feb 21, 2013 at 03:58 PM abc Says:

Reply to #6  
Aryeh Says:

How about I take your property and keep it in my museum?

Except that most of it never belonged to them, and certainly they don't have a recipt of purchase.

11

 Feb 21, 2013 at 04:13 PM onlythetruth Says:

It is quite amusing that you go by the name "only the truth"

The Rebbe then said, that since the point of winning back the seforim was to learn, so why are you standing out side looking at the birds "go back I side and learn Torah!"

Every year following, especially in תשנ״ב the Rebbe stressed that ה׳ טבת ( the day chabad won the court case) is a יום זכאי and a יום סגולה
They won the ספרים in תשמ״ח

12

 Feb 21, 2013 at 04:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Russia is a tax payer that never swallows the fortune of wellness for the ages. If they refuse to give back the books, we have to keep the pace and remain calm as jews. We are not here to start indignity matches with the horoscope of tomorrow. But let USA do its best to try to negotiate.

13

 Feb 21, 2013 at 06:08 PM Avi Says:

Reply to #11  
onlythetruth Says:

It is quite amusing that you go by the name "only the truth"

The Rebbe then said, that since the point of winning back the seforim was to learn, so why are you standing out side looking at the birds "go back I side and learn Torah!"

Every year following, especially in תשנ״ב the Rebbe stressed that ה׳ טבת ( the day chabad won the court case) is a יום זכאי and a יום סגולה
They won the ספרים in תשמ״ח

But the Rebbe realized, that, the time wasted on that morning looking at the birds, was a Fraction of the Bitul Zman for the past 5 months. Who even looks at these Seforim today? They're collecting dust.

14

 Feb 21, 2013 at 07:24 PM esther Says:

Reply to #10  
abc Says:

Except that most of it never belonged to them, and certainly they don't have a recipt of purchase.

what are yo talking about??? even the russians know it belonged to chabad .

15

 Feb 21, 2013 at 07:56 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #11  
onlythetruth Says:

It is quite amusing that you go by the name "only the truth"

The Rebbe then said, that since the point of winning back the seforim was to learn, so why are you standing out side looking at the birds "go back I side and learn Torah!"

Every year following, especially in תשנ״ב the Rebbe stressed that ה׳ טבת ( the day chabad won the court case) is a יום זכאי and a יום סגולה
They won the ספרים in תשמ״ח

They won the seforim in goyishe court using their political clout.

16

 Feb 21, 2013 at 07:58 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #14  
esther Says:

what are yo talking about??? even the russians know it belonged to chabad .

Halachikaly, it no longer belongs to Chabad. Dina Demalchusa Dina and also the nature of war, creates a halachik loss of ownership. However, I see the irony where Lubavitch used Dina Derebbe Dina when they took seforim from Mr. Gurary.

17

 Feb 21, 2013 at 09:29 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Avi Says:

But the Rebbe realized, that, the time wasted on that morning looking at the birds, was a Fraction of the Bitul Zman for the past 5 months. Who even looks at these Seforim today? They're collecting dust.

If you think that morning times of peace are a waste of time, you are reading the wrong books.

18

 Feb 21, 2013 at 11:04 PM esther Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

They won the seforim in goyishe court using their political clout.

whoever you are or related to you keep using the same ridiculous argument.political clout had nothing to do with it.

19

 Feb 21, 2013 at 11:16 PM esther Says:

Reply to #16  
Anonymous Says:

Halachikaly, it no longer belongs to Chabad. Dina Demalchusa Dina and also the nature of war, creates a halachik loss of ownership. However, I see the irony where Lubavitch used Dina Derebbe Dina when they took seforim from Mr. Gurary.

what? a tyranical,anti-G-d, Jew killing empire is halachikly entitled to our heilike seforim?! look how anti-chabad feelings have warped you're ability to think rationally!

20

 Feb 22, 2013 at 03:36 AM onlythetruth Says:

Reply to #13  
Avi Says:

But the Rebbe realized, that, the time wasted on that morning looking at the birds, was a Fraction of the Bitul Zman for the past 5 months. Who even looks at these Seforim today? They're collecting dust.

Have you read any of the שיחות about ה׳ טבת?
where the Rebbe is very strong about getting back all the seforim
And afterwards continued to pursue the test that were still in Russia,
In 1993 he appointed Rabbi Cunin and Rabbi Aronov to get back the rest of the seforim

Please give opinions on things you don't have any knowledge about.

21

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