Chabad Wins Appeal Against the Russian Federation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

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.


Jun 13, 2008, 01:00 ET from Bingham McCutchen LLP

    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 archives.
     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
     "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 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 -- -- is a national law firm with
 global capabilities, with nearly 1,000 attorneys in 13 offices. The firm
 represents clients in cross-border restructurings and insolvencies, high-
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SOURCE Bingham McCutchen LLP