Will Cultural Loans Between the US and Russia Grind to a Halt?
Dispute over ownership of religious texts between Orthodox Jewish group and Russia has US Department of Justice involved
Chabad, an international Orthodox Hasidic Jewish movement, and the Russian government have disputed ownership of a series of religious text for decades. Chabad claims the Soviet Union siezed texts, manuscripts, and documents known as the Schneerson Collection which was accumulated and cared for by high-ranking rabbis for centuries.
Plundered in parts first in 1917 with a segment of the Schneerson collection called the "Library" by the Bolshevik government in the October Revolution then the "Archive" in 1939 by the Nazis and again in 1945 by the Red Army. The fight to return the collection has been more active since the 1990's when the Chabad won in a Soviet court but Russian officials tossed out the judgement when the USSR fell. Lines were further entrenched on the international scene when the US State Department's involvement and support of Chabad claim to the texts also in the 1990's but things continue to heat up now as Russia attempts to end the dispute by threatening to deny cultural loans to US museums.
For more on this story visitArtForum and theAssociated Press
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