The Hunt Has Resumed for a Fabled Nazi Treasure Train

Chmee2 via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
Chmee2 via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0 / Chmee2 via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

The story of a missing Nazi train loaded with up to 300 metric tons of gold sounds like it belongs in an Indiana Jones movie. According to some historians, the train and the film franchise are equally rooted in truth, but that hasn’t stopped some hopeful treasure hunters from searching for it.

As the AP reports, a pair of explorers resumed the search for the fabled World War II train in Poland on August 16. Their search is rooted in a local legend that tells the story of a group of Nazi soldiers desperate to protect their valuables as Soviet troops advanced on them at the end of the war. The soldiers allegedly filled a train with gold, other treasures, and armaments, and drove it into a secret network of mountain tunnels (dubbed Project Riese, which is German for "giant"), never to be seen from again.

Wannabe adventurers have been looking for the locomotive ever since, despite historians saying that it likely never existed in the first place. Last August, the aforementioned pair—Andreas Richter of Germany and Piotr Koper of Poland—declared that they’d located the train buried beneath the city of Walbrzych using radar equipment. Geologists have since refuted those claims, but not soon enough to quell the resulting gold rush. (A government official chiming in to say he was “99 percent sure” the train was there probably didn't help either.)

With aid from several volunteers, the dig is expected to last for several days. Even if it leads to disappointment for Richter and Koper, at least one good thing will have come out of the excitement: The coal mining region of Lower Silesia, which has suffered financially since the end of the Cold War, has already received an economic boost.

[h/t AP]

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