A goodwill visit to San Francisco and the Sonoma Coast by a big, handsome Russian sailing ship was suddenly canceled Friday, the result of a complicated legal problem that involves both history and cultural treasures.
But just after dawn, a message came from the Maritime State University in Russia. The Nadezhda wasn't coming. The captain got orders to avoid any U.S. port and head for Mexico.
Vinokurov said the change in orders came as a result of what he called "a long problem" that involves lawsuits and a diplomatic dispute over the so-called Schneerson Library, a collection of more than 62,000 Jewish religious books and documents held by the Moscow State Library. The library was assembled by the Chabad-Lubavitch Hassidic movement over about 200 years.
Some of the material was seized by the Soviet government soon after the October revolution and another portion was captured by the Nazis during World War II and seized by the Soviet Union after the war. Lawyers for the Chabad organization, based in New York City, say that the Russians had shown no interest in the library and had kept it boxed up in the basements of museums.
Apparently that's where they want to keep it. You know how them Russkies are. I think it would be of great interest to Russian Jewish scholars. Go read.