Monday 11 December 2017

Polish army begins to dig for Nazi gold train after chasing treasure-hunters away

Polish military officials inspect the site where a Second World War armoured train is said to be hidden. (AP)
Polish military officials inspect the site where a Second World War armoured train is said to be hidden. (AP)
A tunnel found about 50 metres under Ksiaz Castle as Polish authorities hunt for a Nazi train loaded with gold. (AP)

David Kearns

The Polish army has started excavating an area which it believes hides a train full of stolen Nazi gold.

On Monday, the army erected metal barricades and posts to warn off curious onlookers as it deployed chemical, radiation and explosive experts to the site outside the south-western town of Walbrzych, Poland.

"Our goal is to check whether there's any hazardous material at the site," said Colonel Artur Talik, who is leading the search which is expected to last until Saturday.

Read More: Two men claiming to have found Nazi gold train appear on Polish TV

Col. Talik’s troops are using mine detectors and ground-penetrating radar to study the location of the potential treasure, added the Polish authorities.

Ksiaz Castle in Poland
Ksiaz Castle in Poland

The discovery of the buried gold train, lost since the end of World War Two, was announced last month by two treasure-hunters who said they would only reveal it location if they were reward 10 pc of value of the find.

Piotr Koper and Andreas Richter, a Pole and German respectively, said they had found an almost 100-meter train carriage buried about nine meters underground.

Read More: Treasure hunters blocked from site of alleged Nazi gold train

The pair though have dismissed the army’s actions, claiming they will not find anything as the “train is about eight metres down.”

“We have spent much time examining the logistical problems and worked out a solution for getting the train out. We should be allowed to do this.”

One of the tunnels built by the Nazi's as part of 'Project Riese' (AP)
One of the tunnels built by the Nazi's as part of 'Project Riese' (AP)

The announcement that the lost ‘gold train’ had been found provoked huge international interest, with hordes of amateur treasure-hunters descending on the small Polish town despite there being little evidence the train ever existed.

Local legend has it that the Nazi forces retreating from the Soviet army hide two trains full of gold, secret documents and prototype weapons in a network of secret underground tunnels in the mountains near Walbrzych.

It is alleged the trains vanished near Ksiaz Castle which was the local Nazi HQ during World War II.

Read More: Death bed confession in Nazi gold hunt

Towards the end of World War II, the Nazis did build many installations underground to protect against Allied air raids.

One of the biggest construction projects in the history of the Third Reich, Project Riese involved digging miles of tunnels in a series of complexes across the Walbrzych region, which was until 1945 part of Germany.

Thousands of slave labourers died hewing the rock.

To this day not all the tunnels have been explored so believers in the gold train legend say the train and its missing cargo may still lie hidden.

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