Deal Close in Nazi 'Gold Train' Case

NEW YORK - Holocaust survivors from Hungary are nearing a deal with the United States government in the "gold train" case, in which the survivors are suing for compensation from the U.S. for valuables that were stolen by the Nazis and turned over to the U.S. military but never returned to the owners.

Attorneys for the survivors, who filed a class-action lawsuit in May 2001, asked a federal judge in Miami, Florida, to postpone a hearing due to take place last Wednesday because they wanted to continue negotiations with the U.S. Justice Department.

The judge accepted the attorneys' request, in which they said they had been making "substantial progress toward a resolution." The new hearing is set for this coming Wednesday.

The gold train case relates to a train carrying artwork, jewelry, gold and other valuables that the pro-Nazi Hungarian government had plundered from Hungarian Jews in 1944.

At the end of World War II, U.S. military forces seized the train, which had been sent to Austria. The survivors' lawsuit contends that the property was never returned to its owners or heirs and was instead looted by U.S. military personnel.

Meanwhile, Jewish community leaders reacted with restraint to reports of progress.

World Jewish Congress President Edgar Bronfman is due to deliver a speech Friday in which he will say that the U.S. should decide now on some arrangement in the gold train case, because if it doesn't, it will have failed where other governments around the world have succeeded.