Do you remember around this time last year, when a couple of Polish men claimed to have found evidence of a famed “Nazi gold train” and everyone thought it was a hoax? Searchers are planning to start looking for it this week, and the world may soon know whether or not the lost treasure is real.
As the Washington Post reports, Andreas Richter of Germany and Piotr Koper of Poland, along with a team of 35, will begin digging this week in the area where they believe the Nazi gold train is buried. Specifically, they’re honing in on a four-kilometer (2.5-mile) stretch of existing track near the Polish city of Wałbrzych; they believe the track on which the Nazi gold train sits is in a tunnel under the existing tracks.
The searchers plan to drill three hundred-meter (328-foot) holes into the ground. According to Andrzej Gaik, the spokesman for the search committee, if they find a tunnel, then they’re on the right track, so to speak.
“The train is not a needle in the haystack — if there is one, we will find it. If we find a tunnel, then that is also a success. Maybe the train is hidden inside that tunnel.”
Even better, for armchair treasure hunters, the entire event will be streamed live online.
Last year, Richter and Koper made international headlines when they claimed that they had found evidence of the fabled “Nazi gold train.” Specifically, the men — owners of a mining company — claimed that an unidentified person had confessed the location of the train on his deathbed. According to the Guardian, the men then tried to work out an arrangement with the Polish government for a ten percent “finders fee” of the value of the train’s contents, should it be found.
Skeptics immediately deemed the men’s story to be too far-fetched. Although it’s known for a fact that Nazis did loot and steal untold billions of dollars worth of gold, jewels, cash, and priceless art from their victims, and much of that golden jewelry was melted down into ingots. While some of that missing loot has been recovered, much of it has not.
For over 70 years, legend has held that Nazis loaded as much as 300 tons of stolen gold (worth over $12 billion at current gold prices) onto a train and tried to move it on an underground network of train tunnels, including some extending into what is now Poland. However, skeptics insist that those rumors are just that: rumors, and that there is no evidence that such a train ever existed.
And even if the fabled Nazi gold train existed, skeptics weren’t convinced that Richter and Koper had found evidence of its location. Nevertheless, authorities cleared thick vegetation in the area, and conducted a search for any possible landmines that had been left in the area since World War II. A cursory search of the site, using ground-penetrating radar and magnetic imaging, failed to turn up anything conclusive, according to a BBC News report from the time.
Meanwhile, Richter and Koper have continued to insist that they’re onto something, famously leading Polish mining expert Janusz Madej to quip, “It’s human to make a mistake, but it’s foolish to stand by it.”
Do you believe there’s a Nazi gold train filled with stolen loot hiding under the ground in Poland?
[Image via Shutterstock/Robert Brown Stock]