Budapest, June 28 (MTI) – To date social and health services worth 140
million forints (about 500,000 euros) have been provided for needy
survivors of the Hungarian Holocaust from compensation money paid by the
U.S. government for the Jewish property seized from a train by U.S.
soldiers in the post-WWII years, the head of a survivors’ organisation
told MTI on Wednesday.

The train known as the “Gold Train” for its cargo of gold, jewellery,
works of art, carpets and other items of value from Jewish households,
had been on its way to Germany when it was halted in Austria and its
cargo removed, at least partly by U.S. forces.

The valuables have never been returned to their rightful owners but
under a 2005 court ruling the U.S. government has been mandated to pay
4.2 million US dollars, or 936 million forints in compensation. The
payment is part of an overall amount of 21 million US dollars to be paid
over a five-year period to organisations in Israel, Hungary, the United
States, Canada, Australia, Romania and Sweden. The amounts will go to
people in need rather than to the families whose property was actually
on the train.

Gyorgy Sessler, President of the National Federation of Forced
Labourers, said there are about 13,500 Holocaust survivors in Hungary.
About a quarter of them meet the low-income eligibility criteria.

Sessler noted that the U.S. court awarded the funds because of the
unlawful actions of the U.S. army rather than as a refund for the
valuables carried on the train.