NEW YORK (AP) - KBG files on a Ukranian rabbi have been turned over to Lubavitchers, an ultra-orthodox Jewish group headquartered in Brooklyn.
The files concern Levi Schneerson, who was chief rabbi of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, until his arrest in 1939 for counterrevolutionary activities--namely promoting Judaism in the Soviet Union. Schneerson was imprisoned, then exiled to a remote area of Kazakstan. He was released in 1944 and died a few months later.
Menachem Schneerson left Russia before his father's arrest and eventually relocated to Brooklyn, where he was the Lubavitchers' grand rebbe or spiritual leader until his death five years ago.
The files were presented by Kazakstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev to Rabbi Shalom Levine, librarian for the Lubavitchers, at the end of a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. It is headed by Ronald Lauder, the philanthropist and heir to the Estee Lauder cosmetics firm.
After the meeting, Lauder said Kazakstan has excellent relations with Israel and a long history of tolerance, including allowing thousands of Jews to take refuge there during the Holocaust. Most Kazaks are secular Muslims.
"It is an area where there is no anti-Semitism," he said. "They've done a wonderful job. We are here to thank them."
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