Even after months of speculation, fervor, and finally disappointment, the search for the legendary Nazi gold train is apparently going to continue.
Buried Nazi Gold?
According to the Telegraph (U.K.), the Polish treasure hunters who first made claims a year ago about finding possible evidence of trains filled with mysterious Nazi loot are going forward with their own excavation of the site using heavy machinery.
The two men, Piotr Koper and Andreas Richter (who is actually from Germany), used ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to create images that appeared to show something resembling train cars in the tunnels beneath Walbrzych, Poland. The tunnels, dug by Nazi forces during their occupation of the country in World War II, have long been rumored by locals to contain the vast treasures of artwork, bullion, and more that the Nazis pilfered from Europe (and were never recovered).
There were also local residents (now deceased) who claimed to be eyewitnesses to Nazi trains descending into the tunnels as the war effort collapsed and the Axis Powers were on the brink of losing the war in Europe.
However, this is the only such evidence that exists in favor of the Nazi gold trains actually existing. Despite the promising findings of the amateur treasure hunters and enthusiasm from Polish authorities, professional geologists concluded that no such treasure exists beneath the surface. The prospects for a major discovery of Nazi gold was dealt a further blow by the fact that any further exploration efforts were deemed prohibitively costly—and even potentially dangerous due to the volatility of trapped methane gas. Essentially, the exciting theory had been officially debunked.
Nonetheless, Koper and Richter (pictured, right) are just as convinced as ever that their findings are accurate and that the treasure exists. A spokesman for the two men claims that they will know for sure if the treasure is there "[with]in three or four days."
While primary documents that could serve as evidence to bolster their case are lacking, it's also true that a) this was a secretive endeavor on the part of the Nazis, so why would they leave a trail?; and b) there is a labyrinth of these tunnels constructed by the Nazis, many unfinished, that could be hiding any number of things. If you were fleeing a country about to capitulate in war, where else would you hide your stolen loot?
The Polish public is definitely behind the treasure hunters. Not only is the entire idea of finding Nazi gold a titillating adventure that promises riches, but the long-standing local legends about the underground trains filled with treasure has created a certain cultural mystique about the search, capturing the imaginations of nearby communities and tourists alike.
Speaking to this electric atmosphere surrounding the subject is the fact that one overzealous man who hoped to find the fabled riches actually died in the process last September, only a few weeks after the original news about the GPR results had been reported. He fell down a pit attempting to access the tunnels, lending some credence to the professionals' warning that the venture is probably too perilous to be worth the effort. The man who died, 39, had two accomplices who were summarily arrested.
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