MIAMI -- The US government has agreed to settle with Holocaust survivors who contend that American Army officers during World War II plundered a trainload of family treasures that had been seized by the Nazis.
The families and the Justice Department told a judge yesterday that they have agreed in principle to a financial award over the ''Gold Train," but the exact terms have not been worked out.
The lawsuit sought up to $10,000 each for as many as 30,000 Hungarian Jews and their survivors.
US District Judge Patricia Seitz told the lawyers to deliver a package detailing a worldwide settlement by Feb. 18.
''This agreement is a step closer to the goal we all share, a measure of justice for these Holocaust victims and their families," said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York.
In 1945, in the waning days of the war, the Nazis sent 24 train cars toward Germany carrying gold, silver, paintings, Oriental rugs, furs, and other household goods seized from Hungarian Jews.
Nazis, Hungarians, and Austrians stole from the train along the way.
The train was then intercepted by US forces, and American officers helped themselves to china, silverware, and artwork for their homes and offices, according to an advisory commission appointed by then-President Clinton.
The train and cargo worth an estimated $50 million to $120 million were shrouded in official secrecy until a presidential commission on Holocaust assets detailed it in 1999.
''No way the money we would get would help with our losses. We were not even thinking about it. We just want to have closure on this," said Alex Moskovic of Hobe Sound, one of three Hungarian Jews who attended the hearing yesterday.