A US judge on Thursday ordered Russia to preserve sacred religious documents that members of Chabad-Lubavitch movement are suing to recover and fear could be headed to the black market.
Chabad sued Russia in a US court to recover thousands of manuscripts, prayers, lectures and philosophical discourses by leading rabbis dating back to the 18th century.
The entire collection, which Chabad says totals 12,000 books and 50,000 rare documents, is being held in the Russian State Military Archives and was formerly held by Rabbi Joseph Isaac Schneersohn, a leader of Chabad-Lubavitch who was born in Russia but forced by the Soviets to leave in 1927.
He took the documents to Latvia and later Poland, but left them behind when the Nazis invaded. The collection was seized and taken to Germany, then recovered by the Soviet Army in 1945.