April 1, 2020

Simon Wiesenthal Center Files Brief for Russia to Release Schneerson Library to Chabad

The Simon Wiesenthal Center announced in a July 25 press release that they have filed an amicus curiae brief to a Washington, D.C. court calling on Russia to release the historic Schneerson Library to Chabad.

The library was initially seized from Chabad by the Soviet Union shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution; the library’s archives were then stolen by the Nazis before being reclaimed by the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II.

Chabad first filed a lawsuit to reclaim the library in 2004. In 2009, Russia backed out of the lawsuit, alleging that Chabad didn’t have any right to the library. All 100 senators and the Department of Justice have sided with Chabad, although the State Department in 2016 filed a “Statement of Interest” that Chabad’s claim to the library goes against international law. That State Department has yet to nix that statement.

“The Schneerson Library, made of thousands of books and archives, is a source of inspiration to hundreds of thousands of followers of the Lubavitcher Rebbes, and to millions of others deserves more respect than to be lying in a basement or warehouse somewhere in Moscow for 73 years,” Simon Wiesenthal Center Founder and Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier and legal counsel Martin Mendelsohn said in a statement.

The Schneerson Library was named after Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneerson, who collected 12,000 books and 25,000 religious documents that contain the thoughts and teachings of various rabbis.