Tuesday, January 31, 2006

First $4.2 million disbursed in World War II Nazi Gold Train case

The first $4.2 million (€3.5 million) has been distributed to needy Holocaust survivors from the settlement of a lawsuit stemming from the U.S. seizure in 1945 of a Nazi "Gold Train" loaded with valuables belonging to Hungarian Jews, lawyers involved in the case said Monday.

The money, part of an overall $25.5 million (€21.1 million) settlement approved in September by a Miami federal judge, has been distributed to Jewish social services agencies for the benefit of Holocaust survivors in the United States, Australia, Canada, Hungary, Israel, Romania and Sweden.

"While there isn't enough money in the world to compensate Holocaust survivors for what they went through, the government's acknowledgment of responsibility and fair, just settlement will foster healing and bring closure to this unfortunate episode in American history," said Jonathan Cuneo, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs.

The "Gold Train" carried jewelry, gold, artwork, Oriental rugs, china and other valuables confiscated by the Nazis from Hungarian Jews during World War II. The train was seized by U.S. forces in Austria after the war ended in May 1945; some items were stolen and others were used by American officers to furnish offices and homes during the U.S. occupation of Austria.

The U.S. government issued an apology for those actions in October as part of the settlement. The remaining items were auctioned in New York in 1948, with the proceeds going to Jewish relief efforts.

It is unknown when the rest of the money will be distributed.

Original Chaptzem! article on this topic


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