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In 1922, a few years before he fled the Soviet Union, the sixth Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson petitioned the Russian government to return 35 crates of books they had seized years earlier. The books had been passed down to his father, Rabbi Shalom DovBer Schneerson, by his grandfather and had belonged collectively to generations of Lubavitch Hasidim going back to Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady, who began the collection in the 18th century. The Soviet government did not return the books, and for almost a century they remained on the shelves of the Lenin public library in Moscow. But this month the Russian State Library will finish scanning and putting online the more than 4,500 books in the Schneerson Collection, making them accessible to everyone in the world at the click of a mouse.
Updated: Jun. 28, 2017