The Nazi gold train search is drawing swarms of treasure hunters and media members to a forested area of southwest Poland. It’s a crazed “gold rush” atmosphere. There are reporters, photographers, and people who are swinging metal detectors around, hoping to strike it rich. Swirling rumors say that the Nazis hid a fabulous treasure, possibly in gold or jewels, in a train car in a tunnel.
Last week, a Polish official said that he had seen radar images that seemed to confirm a hidden train below ground. Searchers who believe they found evidence of the train said that a Polish man who had been involved in concealing the train had finally confessed on his deathbed and told them where it was.
Police are trying to seal off the area in an effort to protect both the Nazi treasure (if it exists) and the treasure hunters. It’s an area with active train tracks and mountains, and the fear is that a treasure hunter or a reporter could be hurt. CBC News reported that a man taking a selfie on the train tracks was almost hit by a train. The Polish government said it needs time to conduct its own methodical search for the “Nazi gold train.”
In this part of Poland, near the town of Walbrzych, the Nazis made a network of secret train tunnels. The local people have been hearing rumors about a secret “Nazi gold train” for decades.
It’s a well-known fact that the Nazis did hoard gold and great works of art from the countries they plundered during World War II. While many of these treasures have been found, many are thought to remain hidden.
Some recovered Nazi loot has been used to compensate the victims of the Holocaust. If and when this treasure is excavated from the “Nazi gold train,” the question of who owns the booty isn’t simple. Jewish groups like the World Jewish Congress may stake a claim. A Polish government minister has said that anything that’s found will be the property of the Polish state. The Kremlin is already asserting that any treasure will belong to Russia.
The CEO of the World Jewish Congress made a statement about ownership of any possible Nazi train treasure that was quoted in a Telegraph article.
“If any of these items were stolen from Jews before they were murdered, or sent to forced labour camps, every measure must be taken to return them to their owners, or their heirs.
In case no survivors or heirs can be found, any gold or other property that is found to have belonged to Jewish families or businesses must now inure to the benefit of Polish Jewish survivors as they have unfortunately never been adequately compensated by Poland for the suffering they endured, and or their catastrophic economic losses in the Holocaust.”
A Russian lawyer, Mikhail Joffe, said that the Nazi gold train treasure must be returned to the country of origin, which might be the USSR. Yahoo News UK reported on speculation that the “gold train” might contain the contents of the beautiful “amber room,” which was stolen from a palace near St. Petersburg in 1941 and later disappeared. The amber room was made of gold, amber, and jewels in the early 1700s.
The possible discovery of the “Nazi gold train” has created a gold rush frenzy — the world waits to see what treasure might lie hidden beneath the mountains.
[Image by Przykuta via Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0]