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Wednesday, November 26, 1997 Published at 19:44 GMT


Nazi gold vault opened in Brazil
image: [ Rabbi Henry Sobel shows off a box of jewelry and a book found in the safe ]
Rabbi Henry Sobel shows off a box of jewelry and a book found in the safe

A bank vault containing more than $4 million worth of property allegedly stolen from victims of the holocaust has been opened in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.

The contents - including cash, gold bars and jewellery - are thought to have been brought to Brazil by Nazis who fled Germany at the end of the Second World War.

The hoard was deposited in the name of Albert Blume, a German who came to Brazil before the Second World War.

He is alleged to have acted as a banker for other Nazis who fled to South America later.

That is the opinion of the special commission set up by the Brazilian Government to investigate the Nazi presence in the country after 1945.

Despite the fact that Brazil sent troops to fight alongside the Allies in Europe, the commission has concluded that the government also allowed eight fleeing Nazis to settle in the country.

Albert Blume died some time ago. But his family denies that he had anything to do with the Nazi party after his arrival in Brazil.

They say the money in the vault is not the property of Holocaust victims.

The government commission says it will run chemical tests on the hoard to try to establish exactly who the property belongs to. It is also hoping that Mr Blume's diary, also recovered from the vault, will shed some light on the situation.

Romania wants Russia to return gold

On the other side of the world, Romania and Russia are locked in a dispute over Romanian gold shipped to Czarist Russia 80 years ago.

The Romanian Government sent two railway cars full of gold, art treasures and jewellery to Russia to avoid them being captured by German occupying forces during the First World War.

The Romanians now want the issue settled before a treaty is signed between the two countries defining their relations.

Russia want the treaty to go ahead without interference and says that counter-claims could be made because of Romania's occupation of Odessa and Crimea during WW2.

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