Archive for Wednesday, October 12, 2005

U.S. issues apology in WWII Gold Train case

October 12, 2005

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— The U.S. government issued a statement of regret Tuesday for the actions of soldiers who took valuables belonging to Hungarian Jews that had been seized on a Nazi "Gold Train" during the chaotic end of World War II.

The statement issued by the U.S. Justice Department said that the government "regrets the improper conduct of certain of its military personnel" who took items that had been on the train, which was carrying jewelry, gold, artwork, Oriental rugs, china, cutlery, linens and other items.

"The United States has concluded that, although the conduct of its personnel was appropriate in most respects, it was contrary to U.S. policy and the standards expected of its soldiers" in some actions, the Justice Department statement said.

The apology was required as part of a settlement approved Sept. 26 by a federal judge in Miami between the U.S. government and about 62,000 Hungarian survivors of the Nazi Holocaust. The settlement calls for $25.5 million to be distributed to needy Jews through social service agencies around the world, with the bulk going to those in Israel, Hungary, the United States and Canada.

The "Gold Train" was captured by U.S. soldiers from pro-Nazi Hungarian forces in May 1945. A U.S. investigation found in 1999 that some Army soldiers failed to return items initially "requisitioned" from the train and used in postwar offices, such as rugs, cutlery and even typewriters.

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