In its second season, Netflix’s ‘Russian Doll’ continues to mix science fiction, fantasy, and the Jewish experience as Nadia Vulvokov (Natasha Lyonne) discovers that she is once more a prisoner of time. However, things are a little bit different this time around. While taking a train from 77th Street, she ends up in 1982 in the mind and body of her mother, Nora (Chloë Sevigny), on the very day that the latter steals the Krugerrands from her own mother, Vera.
Despite Nadia’s best efforts, she loses the Krugerrands during a subway ride. This is when her grandmother speaks about the gold train while Nadia is still inhabiting her mother’s consciousness. Here is everything you need to know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD.
What is the Nazi Gold Train?
According to Vera, the Nazis took her familial wealth, most of which was in gold, and put it on the gold train. The gold then reappeared in the form of the 150 Krugerrands. Nadia can’t help but reflect on the irony that the family lost its wealth twice on a train. While in 1982, she finds money and documents hidden behind the photo frames at her family’s home, as if Vera is always prepared to leave if circumstances demand. After returning to 2022, she opens the frame of one of her mother’s photos and finds a receipt of everything the Nazis took from her great-grandfather, Vera’s father.
Nadia tries to go back to 1982, but she falls asleep on the train. When she wakes up, she is in Budapest, Hungary, in 1944, inhabiting the body and mind of her grandmother. She has failed to keep the Krugerrands from being lost. This gives Nadia a chance to save the original family wealth. From the younger version of Vera’s friend Delia, she learns that all the valuables taken from the Jewish people are kept at a warehouse. Believing that they will be soon transported via the gold train, Nadia goes to retrieve them.
Because Vera wears widow’s attire and has blonde hair and blue eyes, Nadia gets easy access to the warehouse, where valuables belonging to Jewish families are being sold in an obscene attempt to erase the history and culture of an entire group of people. Although she manages to get her own family’s gold and transfer it back to her family, the timeline readjusts, and the gold ends up being the reason why her family got the Krugerrands.
Did the Nazi Gold Train Exist in Real Life?
While there has been much speculation about a Nazi gold train in the years after World War II, most scholars seem to agree that it is just an urban legend. According to unsubstantiated stories, an armored train with about 300 tons of gold and other valuables departed from Breslau (now Wrocław) in what was Nazi-occupied Poland at the time. This was the tail end of World War II.
With the Russians closing in, the Nazis had become desperate. The train stopped in Świebodzice but seemingly disappeared before reaching the next station, Wałbrzych. Many believe that the train ended up in the tunnels dug under castle Książ or the Owl Mountains because of Project Riese, a clandestine construction project that took place in that area between 1943 and 1945.
In the ensuing years, both the Polish government and numerous private individuals have tried to find the train, without any success. The Polish Armed Forces conducted several unsuccessful searches for the train in Communist Poland. In 2015, a Polish national and German national claimed that they had found the train and began negotiating with the Polish government for a finder’s fee. The government became involved, and the search drew widespread media attention, but no train has been yet found.
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