Tate Department to Get Inventory of Gold Train Recovered from Nazis by U.S. Army
Menu JTA Search

Tate Department to Get Inventory of Gold Train Recovered from Nazis by U.S. Army

Download PDF for this date

Within ten days or less, the State Department will ##e sent a complete inventory of the gold and silver objects, gold teeth, Jewelry end ?ther valuables which the Nazis stole from Hungarians, chiefly Jews, in 1944, and which United States troops captured aboard a 24-car train in Austria, it was learned here. Ultimate disposition of the loot remains to be determined.

A special Army and State Department team has been examining the contents of the crates’ valuables confiscated in the spring of 1945 near Werfen, Austria, and valued at several million dollars. The gold, silver and gems had been assembled by the Wehrmacht before the Nazis retreated from Budapest, and the train was en route to Germany via Austria when halted by the Americans.

Since then it was brought to Maxglan, near Salzburg, and the loot, which includes chalices, chandeliers, cups and other gold and silverware from scores of Hungarian synagogues, unloaded and stored in a warehouse. The structure, incidental ##ly, is surrounded by barbed wire, sentries aimed with tommy-guns are posted every few feet around the building, and there is the closest scrutiny of those permitted to enter or leave it.

Every effort has been made to trace the ownership of the religions objects, some of which ore centuries old, and it is hoped that these articles will be returned to those Hungarian synagogues which still exist or to the Jewish communities from which they were stolen. Whore ownership cannot be established, the gold, silver and other religious objects will go to aid in the reestablishment of Jewish communities destroyed by the Basis, it is expected.

Capt, Oscar M. Lifshutz, Acting Chief Jewish Chaplain of the United States Forces in Austria, today said that he would recommend to the State Department that certain of the oldest of the religious objects, which have little monetary value but great historical interest, be given the Jewish Museum in Jerusalem. Others of these articles may eventually be gent to rebuilt synagogues or given to reestablished Jewish communities in Hungary, Austria, Germany and other European countries. Capt. Lifshutz has been serving as a member of the team of Army officers and State Department officials who have been drawing up the inventory for the last several months.

Aside from the religious art objects, there are quantities of diamonds, ### and jewelry in the intercepted train. Establishing the ownership of these items is particularly difficult because most of the original possessors are believed to be among the Nazi-slaughtered Hungarian Jews, and their survivors, if any, are scattered over the face of Europe.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund