It was late 1939, and Rabbi Joseph Isaac Schneersohn was stranded in war-torn Poland, JTA’s Alastair Gee writes.
Germany had invaded. Warsaw was being bombed. There seemed little hope for Schneersohn, the venerated sixth leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, or his valuable collection of historical and religious documents.
Schneersohn, the father-in-law of the seventh and last Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, eventually would escape to New York after an unusual back-and-forth between German officials, the U.S. State Department and Jewish leaders. But the collection was left behind; it fell into German and later Soviet hands.
Now these documents, and another set that was lost at the time of the Russian Revolution, are the subject of a U.S. lawsuit.
To recover them, Gee explains, Lubavitch is pursuing a case against Russia, which inherited the collection after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Lawyers for Lubavitch say that Russians have offered some items for sale on the black market.
The article goes on to quote Harvard University expert Patricia Grimsted, lawyer Marshall Grossman and rabbis Abraham Shemtov, Berel Lazar and Eliezer Zaklikovsky.
Read the full article – here