A legendary Nazi train filled with gold, gems and guns abandoned near the city of Walbrzych, in southwestern Poland may not be such a myth after all. According to Poland's Deputy Culture Minister Piotr Zuchowski, ground-penetrating radar images might have revealed the train’s location.
The discovery was made after one of the men responsible for hiding the train revealed its location on his death bed, The Telegraph reported.
Local lore has it that during World War II, the Nazis, who had built an underground system of tunnels, abandoned the train while fleeing the Red Army in the spring of 1945. At the time, the territory belonged to Germany, but after the war it was annexed to Poland, The New York Times reported.
“This is unprecedented. The train is over 100 meters long, and is armored. We do not what’s inside but its armor indicates it has a special cargo,” Zuchowski said at a press conference. “There is probably military equipment but also jewelry, works of art and archive documents which we knew existed, but never found.”
Though the radar image appears to confirm the train’s existence, it was apparently discovered by a Pole and a German, who, acting through lawyers, told local authorities that they found the armored train and demanded a financial reward. The dying man clued them into the train’s location.
The man also claimed that the train is secured with explosives. If there is any treasure, it’s unlikely that the train is loaded with gold bars — it’s more probable the treasures consist of looted goods.
"The Nazis engaged in a systematic campaign to loot works of art and cultural property from public and private collections in Europe with close to 80,000 objects confiscated in Poland alone. If even a fraction of that number can be recovered from this train then we could be witnessing one of the most significant finds in modern history,” Mary Kate Cleary, Art Recovery Group’s research and due diligence director, told The Telegraph.
The Pole and the German who made the find could receive a reward in the near future. “If it is confirmed, the train is carrying valuable items, the finders can expect a 10 percent finder’s fee, either in the form of a reward from the ministry or from the owners of the property,” Zuchowski said. “Of course any items of value will be returned to their original owners, assuming we can find them.”