History | August 30, 2017 5:00 am

How One Man Betrayed the Nazis by Stealing Looted Gold

In 1945, a greedy Hungarian official tried to outwit the Nazis with a train full of riches.

Hearing Neo-Nazis and white supremacists chanting “Jews will not replace us!” during the deadly Charlottesville protests in August reminded us that all minorities—religious ones, too—are targets of hate.

As the Smithsonian Channel notes in the video above, that hatred for Jews isn’t anything new. As history tells us, the Holocaust showed us just how far it can go, and how deadly the consequences can be.

In April 1944, the Nazis began a campaign of systematic harassment against Hungarian Jews. By the following March, Germany had invaded Hungary, putting it under Nazi control. Shortly afterwards, 800,000 Hungarian Jews were forced to give up their valuables, including gold, jewelry, diamonds, and priceless artwork (see RealClearLife‘s story on recent recovery efforts), to Hungarian officials.

One of those Hungarian officials was a man named Árpád Toldi, who attempted to ship the valuables to neutral Switzerland via a 42-car train, right under the noses of the occupying Nazis.

On the train’s first leg, it made it as far as Brennbergbánya, near the Hungarian-Austrian border. There, Toldi crated and organized the looted valuables, separating out the most valuable pieces.

By this point, the war was almost over—and Toldi hatched a plan to steal the valuables, keeping them all for himself. He transferred the priciest haul onto trucks, telling the train’s crew that he’d meet them at the Swiss-Austrian border, after the train finished the second leg of its journey. Little did they know, it was no longer carrying much of anything.

After realizing he had no shot of making it into Switzerland, Toldi ended up burying the crates of treasure in a number of Austrian villages.

Six of the crates Toldi buried have yet to be discovered.