It’s no secret that the Nazis stole millions of dollars worth of art, gold jewelry and personal belongings of the millions of people who were eventually sent to one of their many concentration camps across northern Europe. What does remain a secret are the whereabouts of the fabled Nazi gold train, which according to local legend was used to ferry away the Reich’s riches at the end of World War II.
Several months ago a couple of amatuer explorers in Poland thought they had finally found the location of the train and the Polish government even sent military teams to start digging it up because it was believed to be hidden in secret railway tunnels some 30 feet underground.
But as the New York Times reports, the hunt for the train may be a bust:
“There may be a tunnel,” said Janusz Madej, the head of the scientific team, “but there is no train.”
The Krakow University team of geologists and engineers surveyed the site in November using magnetic and gravitation methods, Mr. Madej said at a news conference. The examination revealed some anomalies in the ground, he said, but they are no more than about eight feet below the surface, while the train was supposed to be 30 feet underground.
“The anomalies could be remnants of a collapsed tunnel,” he said.
The two amateur explorers — Piotr Koper, a Polish construction company owner, and Andreas Richter, a German geologist — said in August that they had “irrefutable proof” of the existence and location of the train, which was thought to be filled with gold, gems and weapons and sealed in a tunnel in the closing days of World War II.
The supposed findings by the Polish government’s research teams have not persuaded explorers Koper and Richter, however.
The explorers said their own experts had recently checked the site with ground-penetrating, thermal and magnetic sensors. Based on that data, the two men said there were clear signs of a railway tunnel, with tracks and sleepers.
Mr. Koper said on Tuesday that he and Mr. Richter, though just “hobbyist treasure hunters,” stood by everything they said and added, “There can’t be a mistake.”
It’s certainly possible that Koper and Richter are right. They reportedly began their search after a man who claims he helped hide the train in 1945 made a deathbed confession of its location.
Should the Nazi money train actually be where they say it is, there could well be billions of dollars worth of gold, silver, guns and prized artwork. That is often motivation enough for government officials and interested parties to engage in a cover-up and keep all the booty for themselves.