Posts Tagged ‘Nazi’

Guy Martin: my grandfather fought for the Nazi

December 17th, 2015

An authentic antidote to the high jinks of Messrs Clarkson and co, he went on to renovate a narrow boat, reconstruct a beached Spitfire and investigate Industrial Revolution technology. And most eye-catchingly of all, in Speed with Guy Martin on Channel 4, he attempted to break a wacky series of hair-raising records on land, water, ice and in the air.

Martin’s grandfather was conscripted by the Nazis in 1941. No one in the presenter’s family had a clue

One of the most impressive of his feats was breaking the British record for outright speed on a bicycle – he hit an extraordinary 113 mph by using the slipstream created by a specially-modified lorry. (He has since said that he wants to reach 200mph.)

He also broke the British hovercraft speed record on Loch Ken, in Dumfries and Galloway, and the speed record for a toboggan, although, when he attempted to break the world record for the hovercraft, a change in wind direction saw him fly 100ft into the air at 76 mph, damaging the craft and forcing Martin to abandon ship.

A show on Channel 4 next year will see him attempting the world speed record for the Wall of Death, the epic fairground stunt that involves riding a motorcycle around a vertical wall. Martin – who, on top of his crash this year, broke his back and eight ribs in 2010 in a crash on the Isle of Man – is fearless.

But, outside of these adrenalinefuelled pursuits, he has a simple life. Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is reluctant to become a full-time TV presenter, doesn’t even own a television (or a smartphone) and, while out on location, often spurns the hotel to sleep in his van with his dog. But it’s exactly this combination of eccentricity and humility that makes him so popular with viewers.

What choice did he have? You look at the bare bones of it, that’s all he could have done. I’d have done the same

Guy Martin

Knowing a good thing when they see one, Channel 4 persuaded him earlier this year to film a travelogue. Our Guy in India took Martin on a 1,000-mile motorbike trip around the country. And now he has made his most personal documentary yet.

“After Our Guy in India they asked me if I wanted to shoot abroad again. I said, ‘I’m not a big holiday person but I’ve always wanted to go to Latvia. Just to find out what it’s like.’” Researchers delved a little deeper and found that there was a much more compelling programme than a bog-standard portrait of modern Latvia.

It turned out Martin’s late grandfather, Walter Kidals, whose original first name was Waldemars, came from Latvia and had been conscripted by the Nazis in the Second World War.

He had then spent two years in a Belgian prisoner-of-war camp, before arriving in Hull as a refugee in 1947. No one in Martin’s family had a clue. Martin’s main memory is of a man who liked his shed and “didn’t say much”.

“His English wasn’t the best,” he says. “He could get his point across. He was just different, just the way he ate and the way he drank his tea. He’d mix anything with anything.” Walter shared so little that even his wife Lill, now 92, had no idea that he was an orphan.

Like tens of thousands of Latvians, when Germany occupied the country in 1941, Walter was offered a choice: fight for the Nazis, or face death. At 80,000, the Latvians formed one of the largest national groups of Nazi conscripts. What would his grandson have done? “You had no choice,” he says. “What other option was there? You look at the bare bones of it, that’s all you could have done. I’d have done the same.”

• Sons suffering the sins of their Nazi fathers

After the war Latvian soldiers were exonerated by the Nuremberg trials and surviving conscripts were allowed to settle in the US and Britain as political refugees.

For Walter, there was no option of going home to a country which was now part of the Soviet Union. To simulate the kind of welcome his grandfather would have received, Martin visited a former prison which offers a quasitotalitarian experience in which curious tourists are brutalised and shouted at in Russian.

“There was no friendly atmosphere at all. We didn’t have a chat beforehand. They wouldn’t shake my hand, told me to sign this form, and from there on it was a bit of a battering. I genuinely was bloody scared.”•• •

In Our Guy in Latvia Martin once more reveals himself as a hugely likeable one-off. His down-to-earth aura, and eagerness to throw himself into anything, would have brought a welcome injection of unmediated spontaneity to Top Gear, so it is all the more regrettable that he turned down Chris Evans’s invitation to join. Instead, he’s sticking to fixing lorries while nipping off to make programmes for Channel 4. “It’s not for me,” he says. “I’m sure it would have been good for a pay cheque but I think I’ve got the best job in the world.

“Television opens up some bloody great doors. That’s the plus. The minus is the attention it brings. It is a bit of a pain now just doing a few hours of television a year. I don’t want to be famous. And that would have been a whole new level if I had gone and done Top Gear. It would be just stepping into Jeremy Clarkson’s shoes.

“What we do on Channel 4 is like our own version. If they keep coming up with interesting ideas I’ll do them. If they come up with crap ideas I’ll just go to work.”

Our Guy in Latvia is on Channel 4 on December 14 at 9pm


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Spain’s Nazi volunteers defend their right to recognition – and German pensions

November 30th, 2015

In total, Germany is still funding more €100,000 (£70,000) a year in pensions to the Blue Division. The payments, which typically run to around €400 per month, go mostly to men who were injured in the course of duty, and in some cases to their relatives. MP Andrej Hunko, the Left-wing MP whose parliamentary question brought about the revelation from Angela Merkel’s administration, now wants the arrangement halted.

But volunteers at a museum in Madrid that commemorates the 47,000 Spaniards who fought on the Eastern Front insist that however history may now interpret events, the payments are entirely legitimate.

“It’s a pension for maimed soldiers, a normal humane thing,” said Ignacio Martín, whose late father, Carlos Martín Monasterios, was unable to use his right arm properly due a shrapnel wound suffered while fighting for the Germans between 1942 and 1943.

Alfonso Ruiz (centre) and Juan Serrano (right) in a recent reunion

The pensions stem from a 1962 agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and Franco’s Spain, under which Spain also agreed to pay money widows of Germany’s Condor Legion, the unit sent by Hitler to assist Franco’s side in Spain’s 1936-1939 civil war.

A source from Spain’s labour ministry told The Telegraph that, unlike Germany, Spain no longer honoured the 1962 deal and had not paid these pensions since Franco’s death in 1975. “Some applications have been received but they were rejected,” the source said.

‘People were really hungry, especially in the cities. If Franco hadn’t sent the division, Hitler would have invaded Spain’

For Alfonso Ruiz, vice president of the Blue Division Foundation which runs the museum, the criticism of Blue Division pensions is disrespectful to men who showed bravery in fighting for a cause they believed in. “It’s a disgrace that they want to take away pensions of no more than €400 a month from these men when immigrants just turn up in this country and get more.”

Mr Ruiz, whose father is among the estimated 200 volunteers who remain alive, said that since he took over day-to-day control of the foundation in 2011, he had taken care to sever any remaining links to far-Right organisations.

This included the remnants of the fascist Falange, whose blue shirts gave the name to the division. “People come in here expecting to see skinheads but it’s nothing like that,” he said.

Survivors meet on February 10 each year to mark the date in 1943 of the Battle of Krasny-Bor, when 70 per cent of the men in service were lost trying to halt the Soviet offensive around Leningrad. “I tell the younger people not to sing [the Falangist anthem] ‘Cara al sol’ and not to stiff-arm salute. But if some of the veterans do so, what can I say to men who are more than 90 years old?” said Mr Ruiz.

With Spain on its knees after the civil war, many Blue Division volunteers felt that they were helping General Franco to keep it out of the Second World War.

‘We were not Nazis, but we were Germanophiles’

“If Franco hadn’t sent the division, Hitler would have invaded Spain,” said Mr Serrano, who has not personally received a pension, but who is sympathetic to the cause of those who do. “Everyone in my house was with the Falange; I had grown up drinking that in.”

Historians have suggested that the Spanish soldiers, though guilty of a share of atrocities in the harsh conditions of the Eastern Front, conducted themselves better than their Nazi allies.

But when fortune began to turn against Hitler’s forces, however, Mr Serrano noted a change in attitudes towards him and his comrades. “The second time I was injured, a Madrid military hospital refused to even treat me. Our efforts were only ever recognised by Germany.”


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German ‘Nazi grandma’ sentenced to 10 months in prison for Holocaust denial

November 24th, 2015

Haverbeck was dragged back into court after she went on television in April to declare that “the Holocaust is the biggest and most sustainable lie in history”.

Unapologetic for her comment, she had told the court cheerfully, “yes I said that indeed”, according to media reports.

Haverbeck went as far as to challenge the court in the northern city of Hamburg to prove that Auschwitz was a death camp, prompting ruling magistrate Bjoern Joensson to say “it is pointless holding a debate with someone who can’t accept any facts”.

“Neither do I have to prove to you that the world is round,” he added.

Issuing his ruling on Thursday, Mr Joensson said: “It is deplorable that this woman, who is still so active given her age, uses her energy to spread such hair-raising nonsense.

“She is a lost cause,” he added.

Nevertheless, the recalcitrant Holocaust denier is not without supporters.

At the trial anti-far-right activists had arrived in force to occupy most benches in the courtroom, Haverbeck’s supporters were shouting outside: “Let us in.”

She left the courtroom to applause.

“Of course” they won’t accept this sentence, the Tageszeitung newspaper quoted her as saying.

Some 1.1 million people, most of them European Jews, perished between 1940 and 1945 in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp before it was liberated by Soviet forces.


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Nazi holocaust documents found: 6,300 files discovered behind wall of Budapest apartment

November 22nd, 2015

Carefully removing each brick, the couple eased out some 61 kilogrammes (135 pounds) of dusty papers, many with bits of plaster caked on, but all more or less intact.

With the ink still readable – thanks to a lack of air in the cavity and nicotine from the heavy-smoking former owner – the yellowed papers were given to the Budapest City Archives.

Istvan Kenyeres, head of the archives, was amazed.

“Most wartime papers are more faded or rotten than medieval documents, on bad quality paper due to the rationing,” he said.

“The content and scale of the finding is unprecedented,” he said. “It helps to fill a huge gap in the history of the Holocaust in Budapest.”

Since September, restorers at the archives have been literally ironing the papers to study them, pausing occasionally when they spot someone famous among the scrawled names.

The May 1944 Budapest census was to identify houses to serve as holding locations for Jews before moving them to a planned walled ghetto in the city’s seventh district.

Two months earlier Nazi Germany had occupied Hungary and deportations in the countryside to the gas chambers of Auschwitz began almost immediately.

The forms found in the Budapest apartment contain names of each building’s inhabitants, and whether they are Jewish or not, with total numbers of Christians and Jews marked in the corners.

“Jewish people filled in the forms honestly, they refused to believe where this might end up,” said Kenyeres.

Shortly after the census, around 200,000 Jews were moved into some 2,000 selected buildings, “Yellow Star Houses” with the Star-of-David Jewish symbol painted on the doors.

“Thanks to the Berdefys, we know that if a lot of Jews lived in a building then it likely became a Yellow Star House,” Kenyeres said.

In late 1944, they were crammed into the ghetto, where some died of starvation or were shot next to the river – a poignant memorial of abandoned iron shoes today marks the spot.

The arrival of the Russian army in January 1945 saved the rest though, and unlike the Jews from outside the city, most of Budapest’s Jewish population survived.

An estimated total of 600,000 Hungarian Jews perished in the Holocaust, most in Auschwitz.

Kenyeres said that an estimated 23,000 more documents may still be out there which would give further valuable insight into what happened in 1944 and would also be digitalised and made available to the public if they turned up.

“People should look behind their walls, you never know in Budapest what could be there.”

Inside the far-Right stronghold where Hungarian Jews fear for the future


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Germany still paying pensions to Spain’s Nazi volunteers during Second World War

November 5th, 2015

The German government has continued to pay pensions to Spaniards who volunteered to fight for the Nazis in the Second World War.

Berlin is still honouring an agreement made with the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, whose regime encouraged volunteers to sign up to fight for Hitler against Communist Russia between 1941 and 1943.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question by Left-wing MP Andrej Hunko, Angela Merkel’s government admitted that it was still paying out over €100,000 (£71,000) a year in pensions to survivors and relatives of troops from the so-called Blue Division, in whose ranks Spanish volunteers fought on the Eastern Front.

The current annual bill to German taxpayers stands at €107,352, which is granted to 41 veterans who were wounded while fighting for the Nazis, eight widows of former fighters, and one orphan of a Blue Division volunteer.

Mr Hunko, of The Left (Die Linke) party, said it was “a scandal that 70 years after the war, Germany is still paying more than €100,000 a year to Nazi collaborators”.

He added: “At that time, those people volunteered to join the German fascists to fight on their side in the war of extermination in eastern Europe. For me it is incomprehensible that the German government should stick to those payments when so many victims of the war are still waiting today for their rightful compensation.”

The agreement to pay pensions to Blue Division veterans was made between Franco’s government and the Federal Republic of Germany in 1962.

The German government said that 47,000 Spanish volunteers had fought for Nazi Germany under an agreement between Hitler and Franco, part of a deal which prevented Spain from entering the war too quickly after the three-year civil war won by Franco’s fascist forces in 1939 with help from Nazi Germany and Benito Mussolini’s Italy.

The written answer also said that 22,000 Blue Division members were either killed, wounded or declared missing in action during the war, without dividing the different groups of casualties. Other estimates put Spanish dead on the Eastern Front at around 5,000.


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Remains of Jewish victims killed for skeleton collection of Nazi anatomy professor buried

September 7th, 2015

The remains of Jewish victims who were killed for the skeleton collection of Nazi anatomy professor August Hirt were buried in northeastern France on Sunday, according to an AFP journalist.

Discovered at a forensic medical institute in eastern France in July, the remains were interred during a ceremony at a cemetery in Strasbourg, attended by prominent local leaders as well as members of the Jewish community and the city’s chief rabbi.

In 1943, 86 Jews were sent to the gas chambers and their bodies brought to Strasbourg, which was then under Nazi occupation, where Hirt was assembling a macabre collection of corpses.

Members of the Jewish community of Strasbourg lower a coffin bearing the remains of a Jewish victim of Nazi anatomist August Hirt

The bodies, some intact, others dismembered or burned, were found in November 1944 after the liberation of Strasbourg, in bins filled with distilled alcohol. Following an autopsy, they were buried in a common grave in 1946.

But two months ago, historian Raphael Toledano found other undiscovered remains at a forensic medicine institute in the city.

Working with the institute’s director, Jean-Sebastien Raul, Mr Toledano managed to identify several of the body parts, including “a jar containing skin fragments of a gas chamber victim“.

Test-tubes containing the intestine and stomach of one of the victims was also found.

Hirt committed suicide in July 1945, before the Nuremberg trials.


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Polish army will be drafted in to settle Nazi gold train mystery

September 1st, 2015

Meanwhile authorities have blocked public access to the site following a suspicious forest fire over the weekend.

At a crisis meeting on Tuesday morning, police, the town council and the local forestry commission agreed to seal off the area.

Police and technicians have now erected signs warning would-be explorers not to trespass in the area.

The embankment by the Wroclaw-Walbrzych main line considered to be the favourite for the train’s location in the town of Walbrzych, southern Poland, was badly scorched along with 219 square yards of forest and bush.

The blaze was only contained when five fire engines were scrambled to the scene after the alarm was raised at around 8pm on Sunday night.

Locals come to take a look at the believed location of the the Nazi 'Gold Train'at Walbrzych

On Friday a Polish official confirmed that an object had been found which may be the fabled Nazi ‘gold train’.

Piotr Zuchowski, head of conservation at Poland’s culture ministry, said his officials had seen radar images of a train discovered by two treasure hunters who had been tipped off to its location by one of the men who hid it.

“A man on his deathbed gave the people looking for the train the information they needed to find it,” he said, describing the find as “unprecedented”.

The Polish culture ministry later said on Tuesday it would no longer comment on the train, saying in a statement that all questions should now be referred to the Dolny Slask authorities.

Both Walbrzych and Dolny Slask authorities have previously said they remain sceptical about the train and had seen no conclusive evidence of its existence.

Since the end of the Second World War rumours of Nazi gold train disappearing without trace have flourished in the town of Walbrzych, in south-west Poland, close to the border with the Czech Republic.

Although the train’s cargo is as yet unknown, Polish officials have confirmed that the two treasure hunters will be in line for a finder’s bounty.

Mr Zuchowski said: “If it is confirmed, the train is carrying valuable items, the finders can expect a 10 per cent finder’s fee, either in the form of a reward from the ministry or from the owners of the property.

“Of course any items of value will be returned to their original owners, assuming we can find them.”

Meanwhile experts have claimed that the apparent discovery of a Nazi train thought to be packed with looted treasures could be the first of many, suggesting just a fraction of Hitler’s vast tunnel complex in the country has so far been discovered.

Walbrzych in western Poland has been gripped by the decades-old mystery of missing Nazi gold trains since officials said on Friday they are ’99 per cent certain’ that a hidden train has been discovered by treasure hunters.

Matt cartoon, 1 September


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Nazi gold train’s existence revealed in deathbed confession

August 28th, 2015

Mr Zuchowski told a press conference on Friday that the dying man was involved the operation to hide the train 70 years ago. The identity of the man, and the two treasure hunters – believed to be a Pole and a German – who claimed the find last week has not been revealed, and remain part of the mystery still surrounding the train.

The minister said he is now “99 per cent” that the train has been found, after seeing photographs of an object taken with ground penetrating radar.

“This is unprecedented. The train is over 100 metres long, and is armoured. We do not what’s inside but its armour indicates it has a special cargo,” said Mr Zuchowski. “There is probably military equipment but also jewellery, works of art and archive documents which we knew existed, but never found.”

And the suggestion that the train carried stolen personal items, rather than solid gold blocks, has sparked a keen interest among specialists in returning looted property to their lawful owners.

“We are still very keen to establish the facts surrounding the content of this train, but certainly the discovery alone is of great interest,” said Mary Kate Cleary, Art Recovery Group’s research and due diligence director.

The entrance to the Riese tunnels where the treasure may have been found

“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.”

The authorities and the finders have kept the exact location of the train secret, owing to fears that it could be booby trapped and that any explosives on it could have become unstable, and so pose a danger to other treasure hunters who have reportedly descended on Walbrzych in the hope of getting to the train first.

Despite the news blackout on the location Radio Wroclaw, a radio station in southern Poland, claimed the train was located somewhere beside a four-kilometre stretch of the Wroclaw-Walbrzych main line near Walbrzych. This would tie in with one of the original rumours of a gold train, which said the Nazis had parked a locomotive with trucks in a tunnel off the main line and then concealed the entrance.

Although just what the train might have been carrying is still unclear, Mr Zuchowski said the two treasure hunters are in line for some kind of reward for their efforts.

“If it is confirmed, the train is carrying valuable items, the finders can expect a 10 per-cent finder’s fee, either in the form of a reward from the ministry or from the owners of the property,” said the vice minister. “Of course any items of value will be returned to their original owners, assuming we can find them.”

Ms Cleary, the art restitution expert, welcomed the Polish government’s promise of returning the items to their owners. She added that recovery operations of this scale require international cooperation.

“We encourage authorities to make public the details of any artworks, cultural property or archival documents so that we can begin efforts to identify and return them to their rightful owners,” she said.

Archaeologists have said that any excavation process could take months.

The tunnels are thought to be under Ksiaz Castle

Along with the fear of landmines, unstable explosives and booby traps the train could now be buried under tonnes of earth and rock.

Some historians have warned that it might also have been carrying secret supplies of chemical weapons.


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Did a deathbed confession reveal the location of Nazi gold train?: live

August 28th, 2015
  1. A deathbed confession revealed the existence of the train. We don’t know who made that confession.
  2. The train’s location was then pinpointed with ground-penetrating radar.
  3. The train is along a 4km stretch of track on the Wroclaw-Walbrzych line.
  4. The train’s contents are not certain. However, it could contain gold, art, jewellery and documents.

13.42

More from Piotr Zuchowski, the head of conservation.

He also said.

Quote We do not know what is inside the train.

Probably military equipment but also possibly jewellery, works of art and archive documents.

13.36

Piotr Zuchowski, head of conservation at the culture ministry, described the find as “unprecedented”.

Quote The train is 100 metres long and is protected.

The fact that it is armoured indicates it has a special cargo.

Nazi gold train announcement

13.34

Poland’s culture ministry says that whatever is on the train will be returned to the rightful owners, if they can be found.

13.26

13.22

According to Radio Wroclaw, the train is located along a four kilometre stretch of track of the Wroclaw-Walbrzych line near Walbrzych.

13.18

Wow!!

13.14

OK – we have news now from the press briefing.

Matthew Day, our man in Poland, says they have announced that evidence of the existence of the train came from photographs taken using GPR.

What is GPR?

Wikipedia tells me:

Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is a geophysical method that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface. This nondestructive method uses electromagnetic radiation in the microwave band (UHF/VHF frequencies) of the radio spectrum, and detects the reflected signals from subsurface structures. GPR can have applications in a variety of media, including rock, soil, ice, fresh water, pavements and structures. In the right conditions, practitioners can use GPR to detect subsurface objects, changes in material properties, and voids and cracks.

13.03

While we wait for the details from this press conference, here is a look at Polish tunnels…

12.55

It looks like even this press conference – which we thought was happening at 12.30pm – could be a myth.

We’ll let you know…!

12.48

Some people have speculated that the train could be below Ksi?? Castle in Wa?brzych.

Ksiaz Castle in Walbrzych, Poland

12.46

Legend has it that a train set off from the western city of Wroclaw (then known as Breslau) during the final days of World War II before mysteriously disappearing around Walbrzych (Waldenburg at the time).

Walbrzych officials have said the train was found on city land but are keeping its exact location under wraps – ditto for the identities of the two men.

12.30

We believe the press conference will be held by Piotr Zuchowski, Poland’s head of national heritage.

Yesterday he said:

Quote I’m certain the train exists, but it might contain dangerous materials from World War Two.

12.09

As we wait for the press conference to start, you may like to read this background article on the legend of the train.

Has a lost Nazi ghost train carrying gold finally been found? Two treasure hunters think so

12.05

There remain so many unanswered questions with this story.

What we are hoping to find out is:

- Does this train exist, and if so has it definitely been found?

- What does it contain?

- What happens next?

An old miner shaft at the Old Mine Science and Art Centre in Walbrzych, Poland

12.01

A press conference is due to be held at 12.30 UK time (1.30pm in Poland) with the latest details.

So to recap:

  1. Poland’s deputy culture minister says he is “convinced” the train exists.
  2. He has warned people not to search for it, because it could be booby trapped or mined.
  3. Experts are warning that the gold could be tooth fillings, rather than pristine gold blocks.
  4. The identity of the two men claiming the 10 per cent fee remains unclear.
  5. The location – or even existence – of the train remains unclear.

12.00

Hello, and welcome to The Telegraph’s live coverage of the possible discovery of a legendary Nazi gold train.

Part of a subterranean system built by Nazi Germany in what is today Gluszyca-Osowka, Poland


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Nazi gold train ‘found’ in Poland: live

August 27th, 2015

Latest

07.00

How could you hide a train for 70 years? Trains are big things.

For more answers to some of your questions, here’s a handy explainer.

06.00

Summary

Here is a brief summary of what we know (and what we don’t) so far after a regional mayor’s office in southern Poland confirmed that a train of a “military nature” had been found.

  1. “Significant discovery” made in the Polish city of Walbrzych
  2. Zygmunt Nowaczyk, deputy mayor of Walbrzych, said “the discovery was in the town’s district”
  3. Two unidentified men are claiming through a lawyer that they have found the legendary Nazi gold claim
  4. Arkadiusz Grudzien, a spokesman for Walbrzych council’s legal office, said: “The train is of a military nature. There is no mention of valuables: just military equipment”
  5. The lawyer for the two men, Jaroslaw Chmielewski, said: “This is a find of world significance, on a par with [discovering] the Titanic”
  6. The Polish state treasure and culture ministry has been informed in case the find contains anything of value

04.15

Patrick Ney, director of the British Business Centre in Warsaw, wrote a blog a couple of years ago about the tunnels the Nazis built in south-west Poland. He wrote:

Quote Somewhere, under the hills and mountains of Lowers Silesia, lie seven underground complexes. The Project Reise network, built by Organisation Todt, comprise hundreds of kilometres of underground tunnels, bunkers and research facilities. Unseen from the air by the thick Silesian forests above them, and protected by the dense rock, thousands of slave labourers toiled with basic equipment to create the network, attached to the magnificent Baroque castle of Ksia?, as either a research station or as one of several Fuhrer headquarters.

Apparently there are Nazi artefacts littering the tunnels to this day:

02.33

Part of a subterranean system built by Nazi Germany in what is today Gluszyca-Osowka, Poland. According to Polish lore, a Nazi train loaded with gold, and weapons vanished into a mountain at the end of World War II.

It was reported last week that Polish authorities held a crisis meeting in which they warned treasure hunters against trying to unravel the mysteries of the train, warning it may have been boobytrapped by the Nazis:

Quote Jacek Cichura, the local governor in Walbrzych, where the train allegedly was found, said the meeting was to explore how authorities can safely handle the train if it is located.

“Our priority is the safety of the public,” Mr Cichura said. “If the gold train actually exists, then it is probably mined. There is also the possibility of methane.”

00.50

The Telegraph’s Matthew Day has put together this helpful explainer on what we know – and don’t know – about the rumoured Nazi gold train find:

Quote How did the “gold train” legend begin?

Not long after the war a Pole spoke with a German miner who was about to leave the area because it was to become part of post-war Poland. The miner spoke of how a train laden with treasure had been parked in a secret siding in the last days of the war. Since then people have been looking for that train. There is no documentary evidence supporting the “gold train” legend.

23.57

The hills around Walbrzych are home to some of the Project Riese tunnels – the code name for a construction project of Nazi Germany in 1943–45, consisting of seven underground structures. The purpose of the project remains uncertain.

23.48

The legend goes that as the Nazis treated from the Red Army in 1945, several tons of gold held in the German city of Breslau (now Wroc?aw in Poland) were piled onto a train. Reports state the train may contain the gold fittings from the Amber Room of Frederick I of Prussia – considered the Eigth Wonder of the World.

However, the train never reached its destination and went missing in south-west Poland.

If this has indeed been found in the countryside around Walbrzych, it would be of priceless value and one of the most important historical discoveries ever.

23.31

Is this where the train is buried?

23.25

Arkadiusz Grudzien, a spokesman for Walbrzych council’s legal office, said:

Quote The letter (from the ‘finders” lawyer) does not give the exact location but there is no doubt the location is within the limits of our district.

The train is of a military nature. There is no mention of valuables: just military equipment.

23.10

It could take up to six months to dig the train up, some experts have said – assuming it’s buried.

23.02

At a press conference Zygmunt Nowaczyk, deputy mayor of Walbrzych, said “the discovery was in the town’s district”.

The Polish state treasure and culture ministry have been informed in case the find contained anything of value, Matthew Day reports.

23.00

The train, according to legend, is 500 feet long, armoured, with gun platforms and a cargo of precious metals. Not so easy to hide.

Hunt begins for legendary £1billion in Nazi gold

22.43

An old miner shaft at the Old Mine Science and Art Centre in Walbrzych, Poland

All we know for sure so far from today’s developments is a press officer in the Polish town confirming a military train has been found and the Walbrzych’s deputy mayor saying there was “formal information”.

22.07

The Telegraph’s Matthew Day visited Walbrzych last week. Marek Marciniak, the owner of a cafe adjacent to Walbrzych town hall, told him:

Quote People are talking about it. They are talking about in the town. My clients talk about it and we’ve had a lot of journalists coming by.

And when I go home and flick on the television I see a lot of news about the about the ‘gold train’.

Ksiaz Castle in Walbrzych, Poland

Mr Marciniak, like many others, is quick to stress everybody has heard stories about the train and its gold before, and how people have tried and failed in the past to gain their fame and fortune by finding it. What sets this time apart from the others, he pointed out, is that the two claimants have taken a legal step by filing a claim with the local authorities in Walbrzych in the hope of attaining a finder’s fee of 10 per-cent of the value of the find.

21.56

The legendary Nazi ghost train that disappeared without trace into the mountains around Walbrzych in April 1945 with a cargo of gold as it fled the advance of the Red Army.

21.36

The two men who have apparently found the Nazi gold train said through their lawyer that they would only reveal the location of their alleged find if they were guaranteed to eventually receive a finders’ fee of 10 per cent of its value.

Workers Inspects Gold Bars Taken From Jews By The Nazis And Stashed In The Heilbron Salt Mines

21.31

A deputy mayor in Poland says lawyers for two men who claim to have found a Nazi gold train have told him that it is somewhere in the southwestern city of Walbrzych.

Zygmunt Nowaczyk said on Wednesday that the lawyers have not offered any proof of the alleged discovery. Nonetheless, Mr Nowaczyk said he will pass on the information he has to the national government because if found, the train would be state property. Speaking at a press conference, he said:

Quote The city [of Walbrzych] is full of mysterious stories because of its history. Now it is formal information — [we] have found something.

21.30

Hello and welcome to our live coverage it emerges that “something significant” has been found in the Polish city of Walbrzych, where searchers are looking for a lost Nazi gold train.


World War Two

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