Holocaust Gold Train archive to be set up in US, Israel

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem will each be given$500,000 to compile Hungarian Holocaust documents and artifacts.

As part of the settlement of the historic "Gold Train" lawsuit, United States Judge Patricia A. Seitz has approved a plan submitted by plaintiffs' counsel to provide $500,000 to museums in the US and Israel to establish and compile an archive of records and artifacts documenting the Gold Train events, as well as the fate of Hungarian Jews in the Holocaust.

The institutions selected, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, will each receive $250,000 for use in compiling and managing the archive, in accordance with the settlement by the US government of the "Gold Train" class action lawsuit brought by Hungarian Holocaust survivors and their heirs.

In ordering the $500,000 allocation for the museums, Judge Seitz relied upon a plan jointly submitted by counsel for the plaintiff and the United States government based upon a proposal from a committee of holocaust experts. Committee members Randolph Braham of New York, Ronald Zweig of Jerusalem, and Mark Talisman of Washington DC, are eminent historians appointed in the parties' settlement to select prominent institutions to compile the archive and make it available for future generations. The committee's report calls for vigorous efforts to memorialize the history through existing archives in Hungary, Israel, and the US, obtaining information and documents from repositories for which access was previously limited, and to declassify information as necessary.

The Gold Train suit, Irving Rosner, et. al. v. United States of America, was filed in May 2001 on behalf of Hungarian Holocaust survivors and their heirs in the US District Court for Southern Florida where many of the survivors now reside. In addition to establishing the archive, to settle this class action lawsuit, on October 11, 2005 the US issued an apology and, on December 27, paid $25.5 million as restitution for improper conduct by American military personnel in handling personal property of Hungarian Jewish families in the aftermath of World War ll. The belongings, including gold, jewelry, artwork and religious treasures, were looted in Hungary by Nazis who shipped the valuables on a train heading West ahead of advancing Soviet troops. U.S. forces in Austria later obtained the train and its cargo.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on April 16, 2006

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2006

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