Russia Refuses to Hand Over Jewish Library

A US court ruled last week that Russia should hand over Jewish manuscripts, confiscated by the Red Army in Germany during World War II, to the Chabad Lubavitch movement, a Hasidic group based in New York. But Russia is saying that the ruling contradicts international laws. From an Interfax report:

“The Schneerson library has never belonged to Chabad. It never left Russia and was nationalized because there were no legal heirs in the Schneerson family. The ‘return’ of these books to the U.S. is not an issue in principle,” the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of Information and Press said in the comments posted on its website.

“On the contrary, it is American Hasids who must return to Russia seven books from the same collection that they lent from the Russian State Library in 1994 through the U.S. Congress library for two months and have withheld illegally for 16 years now”…

…By law, “it would be logical, if the U.S. court, mindful of theimmunity of the Russian Federation and its property against thejurisdiction of a foreign court, ruled that this matter is outside itsjurisdiction and any claims by plaintiffs must be dealt withexclusively at Russian courts,” the ministry said. “By the way, no oneis depriving American Hasids of this opportunity,” it said.

“Unfortunately, the U.S. judge made an unlawful decision, which cannotbe enforced in Russia, as a matter of fact. There is no agreementbetween Russia and the U.S. on mutual recognition and enforcement ofcivil judgments,” the statement said.