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Archive for Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Judge approves $25.5M settlement in WWII case

September 27, 2005

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— Amid objections from some Holocaust survivors, a federal judge Monday approved a $25.5 million settlement between the U.S. government and Hungarian Jews who lost jewelry, artwork and other treasures when a Nazi "Gold Train" was commandeered by the U.S. Army during World War II.

Despite the objections, Judge Patricia Seitz said the agreement represented a "historic" chance to right a 60-year-old wrong committed by some U.S. troops and never adequately addressed by the federal government.

The settlement came in a lawsuit filed by Hungarian Holocaust survivors over the U.S. capture and pilfering in 1945 of a train loaded with gold, jewels, silver, china, 3,000 Oriental rugs and 1,200 paintings that had been stolen from Hungarian Jews by the Nazis. There are about 62,000 Hungarian Holocaust survivors worldwide.

Rather than trying to directly compensate people whose items were stolen, the agreement will distribute money through Jewish social service agencies over the next five years to needy Hungarian survivors around the world.

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