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Could This Train Make It Through: The Law and Strategy of the Gold Train Case
Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal
  • Charles Tiefer
  • Jonathan W Cuneo
  • Annie Reiner

In 1944-45, the Nazis seized personal belongings of the Hungarian

Jewish population and dispatched some of the most valuable of them on a

train. The United States Army took control of this "Gold Train" and gave

reassurances that it would keep the valuables safe. However, the items

were plundered by individual soldiers, including officers, and diverted to

various uses. After decades of dormancy, a Presidential Commission

exposed the facts, but the government still did not right the wrong - until

there was litigation.

The "Gold Train" case (Rosner v. United States) represents a measure of

justice for the victimized community of Hungarian Jewish Holocaust

survivors. This case is one of the most successful human rights class actions

ever brought against the United States. It teaches important lessons

regarding future human rights cases, especially those against the United

States. These lessons concern both the legal doctrines in such cases and

strategic questions about how to mobilize the public's sympathy for human

rights victims injured by the United States abroad.

Citation Information
Charles Tiefer, Jonathan W Cuneo and Annie Reiner. "Could This Train Make It Through: The Law and Strategy of the Gold Train Case"
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