Poland abuzz with talk that Nazi loot train has been found

WARSAW • Local media is abuzz over the rumoured discovery of an armoured train car in south-western Poland, which has revived old lore of trains full of gold and jewels stolen by the Nazis, that vanished after World War II.

"Has Hitler's gold train been located?" asked the leading daily Gazeta Wyborcza in a headline echoed by broadcasters, TVP.info and TVN24, and tabloid Fakt, among others.

The legends revolve around the huge secret underground tunnels, built by forced labourers and concentration camp inmates, near the south-western city of Walbrzych.

The tunnels, code-named Riese (Giant), were built to be used as production spaces for German strategic weapons. Portions of the tunnels are now open to tourists.

The region also attracts treasure-hunters inspired by old rumours that the Third Reich had stashed its treasures in the underground passages.

But even the two men - a German and a Pole - who claim to have found a 120m- to 150m-long train are sceptical that it contains gold, according to their lawyer.

"These are serious people... What they presented during our talk makes me believe this business (of the train) is very credible," lawyer Jaroslaw Chmielewski told Polish news portal Onet.

"My clients are, however, sceptical as to whether it is really the famed (Nazi) train," he said. "But we can't completely exclude the possibility too."

Walbrzych City Hall spokesman Arkadiusz Grudzien told AFP they had indeed received a legal letter, saying the two men had "identified the location of a train carriage, probably armoured".

He added that there was no mention of the exact location of the find, but that the men had asked to meet city officials.

Local radio Wroclaw said that the men are asking for 10 per cent of the findings on that train.

"They claim to have found a lost train full of gold. And they want a reward," headlined local broadcaster TVN24.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2015, with the headline 'Poland abuzz with talk that Nazi loot train has been found'. Print Edition | Subscribe