A U.S. court has entered a default judgment against the Russian Federation following Moscow’s decision to withdraw from litigation surrounding its control of a portion of the library of the Sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn.

The order by Judge Royce C. Lamberth, chief justice of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, represents another chapter in a five-years-long effort by the umbrella organization of Chabad-Lubavitch in the United States to secure the return of some 12,000 volumes and 50,000 rare documents that came into the hands of the Soviet Army at the close of World War II.

At several points during the Cold War, the issue of the library was a sore point between the Soviet Union and the United States, which hinged some trade measures on the return of the collection to Chabad-Lubavitch. A 2008 ruling gave Agudas Chasidei Chabad the right to sue Russia after proving the exhaustion o fall diplomatic and legal avenues there; and a development in January of this year charged the Russian Federation of failing to protect parts of the collection.

Through its attorneys, Russia argued that U.S. Courts lacked jurisdiction in the case, claims that were rejected by Lamberth. Eventually, it filed a statement with the court stating that it would no longer continue in the litigation and its counsel, Squire Sanders & Dempsey LLP, withdrew its representation.

“The defendants have willfully refused to continue in this litigation,” stated Lamberth.

“We hope that Russia will now voluntarily return this treasure to the United States,” said Nathan Lewin, attorney for the plaintiffs.