Negligent sorting

105 days of the gold train in Brennberg

Considering the war situation, Dr. Toldi Árpád gave the command, that the valuables should be rescued to the western half of the country.

The most valuable part of the sorted items was sent on 5 trucks to Sopronkövesd and Nagylózs on December 8th.

After the return of the trucks, the staff started loading the valuables into the trucks, then they were transferred to wagons in the Zirc station.

The 22 wagons loaded up to December 13th were sent to Brennberg, where the delivery arrived on December 16th.

The MÁV 328 locomotive (shown in the picture down) dragged the valuable train up to the Brennberger station.

Dr. Toldi Árpád had the ever-increasing load of the gold train sorted in the Brennberg bath building, in the same way as in Óbánya.

From the wagon, which was under armed guard, sorting things were delivered for 2-3 days – on trucks or horse-drawn wagons – from the wagons not lined up too far from the coal sorter into the large pool of the bath next to the Barbara shaft.

Sorting a wagon took 10 days, several groups carried out the work in parallel in the presence of the armed guards.

Picture postcard, on the upper picture the Barbara shaft (left) and the bath building of the mine (right), where the freight of the gold train was sorted, 1928 (Göncz Archive)
The first transport of the gold train arrived in Brennberg with a MÁV 328 locomotive on December 16, 1944, 1938 (Photo: Fortepan / Erky-Nagy Tibor)

I remember that at the end of the war, in the winter of 1944, the so-called “gold train” was towed up to Brennberg with the MÁV 328 locomotive. That is as true as God is above us. We were just amazed when the machine 328 stood there on a track of the coal loading station... it stood there for weeks. Lacsnyi József train driver

Ortophoto over the centre of Brennberg with the locations at that time: (1) office building, (2) coal sorter, (3) bath building of the mine, (4) building of the Barbara shaft, (5) carbide warehouse, (6) Krausz shop

In there [in the bathing building] we saw the golden dental bridges while sorting them into 3-4 boxes. I can't get that out of my head to this day. The upper floor of the building was full of Swiss watch springs, which were in little bags, there were a lot of them. There were gold packages, gold leaves, which were packed in square bags. When we got home from there, our parents often looked at us and laughed at us because our heads were cute. We had to go back to wash in the mine bath because we didn't have a bath in our house yet. It was very difficult to wash off, I remember that. Dorwekinger József eyewitness

The eyewitnesses of the sort

The sorted precious metals were packed in smaller wooden boxes and stored in a separate room (shelter), which was under constant surveillance.

The large objects that were left behind were placed in larger wooden boxes, which were then reloaded into the wagons.

The soldiers let the 9–10-year-old children into the bathing building, so they witnessed the sorting.

According to stories, the young boys from Brennberg were “lined up” to guard the train, and Toldi rewarded them with metal clocks.

In the cold, snowy winter, the soldiers guarding the train traded with the local population and got food in exchange for furs and watches.

The sorting work lasted until March 29, 1945. On that day two wagons of valuables arrived from Szombathely, there was no more time for sorting.

Part of one of the wagons (MÁV Kz) of the gold train

We burned ... [next to the area between the Barbara shaft and the bath]. They burned documentation, and from the badly unpacked boxes the earrings and gold rings - not all of them were taken out - [along with the packaging] were burned and they got sooty. When these things were confiscated from the Jewish families, they were negligently packed. Here they wanted to rearrange them, but the time was running out, so they had to act hastily. Dorwekinger József eyewitness

Former group picture Sorting place, in front of the bathing building of the mine, on the right side Vajk Artúr technical director, around 1935 (Sopron Museum)
Broken crystal sugar container with a silver edge from the transport of the gold train, gift from G. Gizella, 20th century (Photo: Tóth Richárd)
Porcelain container with a broken lid from the freight of the gold train, gift from G. Gizella, 20th century (Photo: Tóth Richárd)

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