Rumors that treasure hunters in Poland had found a Nazi train filled with gold and gems “buried” in a railway tunnel have been quashed by researchers.
Earlier this year, it was claimed that a treasure train had been detected near the Polish town of Walbrzych. According to local folklore, the train loaded with jewels, gems, gold and weapons was driven into a tunnel which was then blown up by Nazi forces retreating from advancing Soviet Red Army troops in 1945.
In August, Polish Deputy Culture Minister Piotr Zuchowski announced that “ground-penetrating radar images” that had been shown to him had left him "99% convinced" that the German military train was indeed buried near Walbrzych. He said the images showed a train with gun turrets.
Over the last few months, trees above the site were cleared, the Polish military checked the site for booby traps and explosives, and researchers from Krakow's Academy of mining carried out detailed scans.
Now they say their geological survey shows there may indeed be a former tunnel but they have not found any evidence of a train.
The Academy’s Professor Janusz Madej says, "There may be a tunnel. There is no train."
However one of the treasure hunters says he still believes the train is there. Piotr Koper says “there is a tunnel and there is a train,” adding that the researchers used different scanning technology to what he had originally used.
He says the only way to find out if the train is there is to dig. Polish railway authorities says this would be difficult as the site lies beside a main railway line that is frequently used.
What appears to be the former tunnel lies 30 feet below ground.
Christopher Marinello, CEO of Art Recovery Group, says, “It's encouraging that Nazi-era looting still attracts so much attention even if it has been slightly unwarranted in this case.”
"This could have been the find of the decade and hopefully will encourage even more interest in identifying and recovering the countless objects still missing at the hands of the Nazis. We work very closely with the Polish Ministry of Culture and we trust that they will proceed with utmost diligence from here,” says Marinello.