By COLlive reporter
Photos by Meir Alfasi
Chabad representatives have rejected the claim by President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that the dispute over the Schneerson Archive was put to rest by transferring it to the Museum of Jewish History in Russia.
In a statement to COLlive.com, they said the issue is not settled, although Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar and other local Chabad officials were in attendance at Putin’s press conference and publicly thanked him for the decision.
The decision was declared as a victory for the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, with Lubavitchers present dancing and saying L’Chaim. Rabbi Lazar opened his remarks in the presence of Putin with the declaration of “Gut Yomtov!”
One of the attendees was Moscow Rabbi Yitzchak Kogan, whom the Rebbe personally appointed as representative to deal with the case, alongside Rabbi Shlomo Cunin of California, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Aharonov of Israel and Rabbi Shalom Ber Levine of New York.
Alyza D. Lewin of Lewin & Lewin, LLP said the following statement was on behalf of the representatives (without specifying which of them agreed to it):
The Russian Government’s exhibition (which opened this morning) of a portion of the Schneerson Library is unacceptable. Russia’s own courts concluded in the 1990s that the Schneerson Library was never nationalized and belongs to Chabad. There is no justification for Russia’s retention of Jewish texts that were stolen by the Nazis in Poland and then looted by the Red Army during the Holocaust.
Chabad’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, published numerous clear directives stating that the entire Schneerson Collection should be returned to Agudas Chasidei Chabad’s worldwide headquarters in New York, not Russia.
The transfer of a few hundred books from the Russian State Library to a branch of the Russian State Library in another facility in Moscow will not put an end to Chabad’s efforts to secure the return of the Collection.
Chabad will continue to pursue its legal rights and remedies until the entire Schneerson Collection is returned to its rightful owner, Agudas Chasidei Chabad of United States.
A U.S. federal court has issued monetary contempt sanctions against the Russian Federation which continue to accrue in the amount of $50,000 per day.
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The office of Agudas Chasidei Chabad said the above statement was not written on their behalf, as they have not made one.