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US court orders Russia to pay $50,000 daily for Jewish books

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A U.S. court ordered Russia to pay 50,000 dollars a day for using of the so-called Schneerson Library – a collection of ancient Jewish religious literature.

Moscow will have to pay the money to Jewish Chassidic movement Chabad Lubavitch until it returns the Schneerson Collection.

This collection of books and manuscripts used to belong to one of the leaders of the movement – late Rabbi Joseph Isaac Schneerson. The library counts 12,000 books, 50,000 other documents and 381 manuscripts.

Russia does not recognize Chabad Lubavitch’s claims as the collection had been kept in Russia during all these years. In addition, the Schneerson family has no heirs to the unique collection.

The U.S. Justice agrees with the position of Moscow, but District of Columbia Judge Royce Lamberth, who took the decision, rejected the objections of the Justice Ministry.

The litigation on the Schneerson Library continues for several years in U.S. courts. In early August 2010, Judge Lamberth said that books and manuscripts were kept in the Russian State Library and Russian military archives “illegally,” and that the Hasidim had all rights for them.

Russia’s reaction was tough. Russian Foreign Ministry officials clearly stated that there would be no return made at all.


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