Landmark Ruling Clears Way for Chabad to Pursue Recovering Archive of Sacred Books Stolen by Nazis During World War II, Soviet Red Army in U.S. Courts WASHINGTON, June 13
WASHINGTON, June 13 /PRNewswire/ -- In a landmark ruling today, the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that Agudas
Chasidei Chabad of United States (Chabad) may pursue its claims in a U.S.
federal court against the Russian Federation, the Russian Ministry of Culture
and Mass Communication, the Russian State Library, and the Russian State
Military Archive to recover a collection of sacred religious books and
The D.C. Circuit held that a U.S. federal court has jurisdiction over
Chabad's claims to recover an archive of sacred books and manuscripts which
were stolen by the Nazis during World War II and then taken by the Soviet Red
Army to Moscow in 1945 in violation of international law. In addition, the
D.C. Circuit cleared the way for Chabad to pursue its claims against the
Russian Federation to recover a library of sacred, irreplaceable religious
books which were seized by the Soviets during the Bolshevik Revolution and
then retaken by the newly formed Russian Federation in 1992 after the collapse
of the Soviet Union.
"This is a landmark ruling," said Marshall Grossman, a partner in Bingham
McCutchen's Santa Monica office, who represents Chabad with Bingham partners
Seth Gerber in Santa Monica and David Salmons in Washington, D.C. "We hope and
pray that the Russian government will respect it."
In addition to the Bingham team, Chabad is represented by Washington
attorneys Nathan Lewin and Alyza D. Lewin of Lewin & Lewin, LLP, and Wm.
Bradford Reynolds of Howrey, LLP.
"The Court of Appeals' decision clears the way for the Russian government
to correct a historic wrong that its predecessors have committed against the
Jewish community. We can only hope that the current Russian authorities will
now fulfill the assurances that were made to Chabad representatives and to
United States officials after the Soviet state was replaced with the Russian
Federation. It should not be necessary to engage in extended litigation for
the Chabad community, headquartered today in the United States, to recover
what rightfully belongs to it," added Nathan Lewin.
"This is a historic victory for the Rebbe and for all people of faith and
freedom. These sacred books and manuscripts contain the souls of our Rebbes,
and of their countless followers who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazi
and Soviet regimes. We hope and pray the Russian government of today will now
fulfill its moral and legal obligations to return these sacred texts, " said
Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Eliyohu Cunin of Agudas Chasidei Chabad.
Chabad is headquartered in Brooklyn, N.Y., with more than 3,000
international branches; it is the largest Jewish organization in the world
today. On November 9, 2004, Chabad filed its lawsuit against the Russian
Federation, the Russian Ministry of Culture and Mass Communication, the
Russian State Library, and the Russian State Military Archive, asserting
violations of international law and seeking the return of its collection of
sacred, irreplaceable religious books and manuscripts.
Bingham McCutchen LLP -- www.bingham.com -- is a national law firm with
global capabilities, with nearly 1,000 attorneys in 13 offices. The firm
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Based in Washington, D.C., Lewin & Lewin LLP specializes in Supreme Court
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SOURCE Bingham McCutchen LLP