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.


World War Two

Comments are closed.

Archives

Categories