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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 December, 2004, 11:33 GMT
US settles Nazi loot compensation
Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp
The Nazis deported Hungarian Jews to the Auschwitz death camp
The US government has settled a lawsuit brought by Hungarian Jews over a haul of gold and other valuables seized by the US Army at the end of World War II.

The case arose out of an attempt by the Nazis to move a trainload of looted Jewish property out of Hungary in 1945.

The "gold train" was intercepted by the Americans in Austria and many of the precious goods were requisitioned.

It is estimated that at least 30,000 Holocaust survivors and their relatives will benefit from the settlement.

Lawyers for both sides told a judge in Miami that Washington had agreed to a financial award, but the details still had to be worked out.

The suit filed in a Florida court in 2001 by Holocaust survivors had sought a financial award of up to $10,000 each for the plaintiffs.

The parties did not reveal details of the settlement, which will be released on 25 February.

No records

According to the lawsuit, the US military never registered the goods and some ended up in the hands of US officers or were sold, while the works of art were handed to the Austrian government.

The 24-wagon train contained gold, jewellery, artworks and property worth some $200m stolen by the Nazis.

"I think everyone is glad that we got to this point and they are appreciative and they feel that (the agreement) is appropriate under the circumstances, given the length of time for the litigation," said the plaintiffs' attorney, Samuel Dubbin.

Hungary's pre-war Jewish population numbered 800,000, of whom only 200,000 survived the Holocaust.

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