The Nazi Gold Train. (Remembering the Past . . .)

We invite you to learn from the Past so that all together we may strive for a better future!


March 11th, 2012

As a father of two wonderful children, I am quite fond of reminding them that unless they remember the lessons that life presents before them, those teaching opportunities will keep on cropping up in their paths until they have thoroughly learned and committed them to memory! What is true on this personal and individual level of our existence is ultimately true on the national and global plain as well. As philosopher and essayist George Santayana succinctly put it: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." This section of our teaching ministry is dedicated to remembering the past so as to learn its lessons.

March 11, 2005

Seven years ago, almost to a day, on March 11, 2005 the US Government reached a settlement with the families of Jewish Hungarian Holocaust victims worth $25.5 million. The settlement was a result of a 2001 lawsuit against the United States government filed by Hungarian Holocaust survivors in the Florida district Federal Court. The petitioners charged the government with gross mishandling of the valuable assets carried on the so-called “Hungarian Gold Train” and commandeered by the US Army in 1945.

Much of what happened during those turbulent war days of 1945 had been kept secret by the US Government until 1998. In that year, President Bill Clinton created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States. The Commission came up with a report that cited “numerous shortcomings” in the US’s handling of the Jewish property intercepted by the American troops after they had captured the Nazi “Gold Train.” What happened and why?

On another Spring day, namely March 7, 1944, with the Soviet Army looming large at just 100 miles east of Hungary, Adolph Hitler launched one more of his paranoid attacks to create a buffer zone between the failing Germany and her advancing foes. With a tactical move code-named “Operation Margarethe” the dictator occupied Hungary and installed a puppet government there. With the help of a local fascist organization, called “The Red Arrow Party,” the Nazi usurpers were able to force the estimated 800,000 Jews residing in that country to hand all their valuables and monetary assets over to the government officials. Later on, a man named Árpád Toldi, a government official appointed by the Schutzstaffel (SS), concocted a plan to evacuate much of the Jewish property out of Hungary. Toldi ordered large amounts of the loot onto a 42 car freight train that was to head for Germany.

The Gold Train

The contents of the stolen goods included gold, gold and silver jewelry, gems, diamonds, pearls, watches, about 200 paintings, Persian and Oriental rugs, silverware, chinaware, furniture, fine clothing, linens, porcelains, cameras, stamp-collections and currency (mostly US dollars and Swiss francs). Jewish organizations and the Hungarian government estimated the total value of the train's contents at $350 million in 1945 or almost $4 billion in 2007 adjusted for inflation. Other estimates put the adjusted figure at around $1.7 billion total.

As the train meandered through the various European terminals, it was eventually seized by the Allied troops, first by the French Army and then finally by the United States Army near the town of Werfen, Austria in May, 1945. Although the Central Board of Jews in Hungary and the new government of Hungary were aware of the American seizure of the train and lobbied extensively and consistently for the return of all its contents to Hungary, where they could be sorted and given back to their rightful owners or their family members, the US Government continually ignored the Hungarian pleas.

Some of the property from the train ended up in the possession of high ranking US Army officers stationed in Central Europe. By requisition order of Major General Harry J. Collins, Commander of the 42nd Infantry Division (the famed "Rainbow" Division), many of the items were used to furnish his home. Other items embellished the homes and offices of other US military officers including Brigadier General Henning Linden and General Edgar E. Hume. The ultimate fate of approximately 200 paintings seized from the train is still unknown.
The fact that the US Government has finally acknowledged its role in dispossessing God’s children of their livelihood during this episode in World War II gives us a glimmer of hope for the human soul and a ray of assurance that in the final analysis, God’s people will be vindicated completely and unequivocally by the All-Seeing One!

The Greater War . . .

Whether we like it or not, our entire planet is engulfed by a conflict much larger and deadlier than any war humans have fought out of their political, military, religious or mercantile ambitions. The WWII is but a dim echo of the Cosmic Warfare raging around us in the spiritual realm of things. The “Hitler” in this war is still launching many of his desperate campaigns against God’s faithful people in the hope of inflicting as much damage against the LORD’s children as possible. We know, however, what happens to “Hitlers” and other anti-Semites at the end of the day!

Perhaps today some of us may feel as if much of our lives’ valuables have been forcibly taken away from us and carried off by a Nazi-like train of Satan and his menials. Whether it is our children, marriages, family, health, jobs, or even money, that we feel have been taken by the Adversary, we long for justice to be done and wait for the LORD to restore His good fortunes to our homes! Take heart and learn to wait patiently on the Lord. His justice may take some time to appear, but it is coming for sure! Even if such powerful looters as the US Government and its Army have been forced to acknowledge their guilt and make restitution to the families of God’s children, so will all the satanic forces be put to shame and made to restore the stolen goods of God’s faithful ones!

The main question for you and me to ponder at this point, however, is: “Am I a child of the One Living God of Israel or do I worship someone else?” The way into the family of the Holy One of Jacob is open to all true monotheists, desiring to walk in His ways and honor His Name! Are you in?

In conclusion, please, listen to the comforting message of this Psalm:

“Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm.” (Psalm 37:1-8)

May your entire week be full of God’s presence and His blessings!