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A file picture dated 09 November 2014 of an old mine shaft at the Old Mine Science and Art Centre in Walbrzych, Poland.
EPA/Maciej Kulczynski
What lies beneath?
LOST AND FOUND

Treasure hunters in Poland claim to have found a Nazi train loaded with gold, guns, and art

Matt Gibbons
By Matt Gibbons

Reporter

At the end of World War II, a Polish legend started circulating about a lost Nazis train laden with treasure. Though there isn’t much evidence to support the existence of such a train, the rumor is told enough that adventurers regularly take up the golden-train goose chase, according to the Telegraph.

And now a pair of treasure hunters claim to have found the train near the Polish city of Walbrzych. We don’t know much about them, other than that one is a German and the other a Pole. The two are making headlines after taking legal action to try ensure a stake in their find.

The pair originally promised to reveal the of location of the train in exchange for a finder’s fee, 10% of the train’s value, but the Polish government isn’t interested. “We would like to remind everyone that the finding is formally the property of the government,” said the mayor of Walbrzych, Roman Szelemej, according to Polish media (link in Polish).

What have the treasure hunters found? Toward the end of the war, the Nazis dug miles of tunnels into the Walbrzych mountains, among other places. Some of the tunnels were large enough to fit trains. And that’s where the tales originate of a network of trains used to shuttle artwork, gold, and other loot that Nazis stole during the war.

At the end of the war, the Nazis bombed and flooded many of the tunnels, making them difficult and dangerous to explore. Poland’s culture ministry has warned “foragers” against searching for long lost loot in the area, for their own safety.

Marika Tokarska of the Walbrzych city council says that if the train exists, it could be dangerous to extract due to a possible methane gas build-up in the tunnels. Piotr Zuchowski of the culture ministry said that the train could be booby-trapped with mines (again, assuming there is actually a train). 

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