Digging Begins in Hunt for Nazi Gold TrainWill Granderson
A pair of fortune hunters, convinced they’ve homed in on the location of Nazi treasure buried inside an armored military train, are putting that faith to the test. The pair, Piotr Koper and Andreas Richter, accompanied by a team of engineers, excavators and demolitions experts, have started digging; convinced they’ll find a railroad tunnel that for decades has hidden hiding a train loaded with gold, jewels, weapons and priceless art—now buried in the mountain.
The search for the treasure train is taking place along a section of railway between the cities of Wroclaw and Walbrzych in southwest Poland, just east of the border with Germany. Drone video shows the area, the terrain and where the dig is taking place. It’s the latest effort in what’s become a decades-long hunt to unearth the treasure, which includes valuables looted from territories invaded by the Germans in WWII. The legend of the gold train is certainly plausible from the standpoint of history.
What We Know
We know that in May of 1945 the German eastern front was in full collapse. Soviet fighter planes ruled the skies, quickly pouncing on any target of opportunity with a vengeance fueled by the still-fresh memory of the German invasion and Siege of Leningrad, in which Russia suffered millions of casualties. The Russians fought with brutality and passion, and they weren’t big on taking prisoners.
We know for certain that the Germans looted everything of value from conquered territories and sent much of the spoils back to Germany, most of it by rail. We also know that many works of art and other valuables plundered from Eastern Europe were stashed in castles in and mansions in Silesia, a region located mainly in what is now Poland. We also know those stolen treasures have not been recovered or accounted for.
We know that in the chaos of retreat, a heavily armored military train pulled into the station at Wroclaw in western Poland. The train was quickly and quietly loaded and, sometime in the night, it departed into the darkness. The train and its contents were never seen again.
We know for certain the Germans had built a network of underground housing and railway tunnels in the hills in western Poland as part of a building program called Project Riese. That maze of tunnels and underground housing certainly would have made a prime spot to hide a cache of weapons and gold. Like the last station on a train trip to nowhere, this is where the facts end and the speculation begins.
Rumors, Speculation and Dreams of Boundless Treasure
Rumors of the scope of the treasure were fueled by the deathbed confession of one Nazi soldier who claimed to have seen in excess of 300 tons of gold on the train. At today’s prices such a haul would be worth billions, just for the value of the metal, and aside from any historical significance and its worth to collectors.
The Dig Begins
The intrepid pair of Piotr Koper and Andreas Richter was at first rebuffed by Polish officials and doubted by experts who did their own surveys of the area. Undeterred, the pair raised money for this latest effort and, after clearing a small area, the backhoe got to work. The dig is already underway, but so far there’s no word on finding a train tunnel. All the searchers have unearthed so far are some bits of porcelain and non-native soil, which gives them hope that they’ve discovered the material used to seal the tunnel.
In the meantime the pair of treasure hunters, along with a team of thirty-five, intend to keep digging. If they don’t find the tunnel entrance in the first attempt, they’ll move and give it another try. How long they’ll keep digging isn’t known at the moment but billions in gold, plus priceless and historical works of art are a powerful motivation, and this current effort certainly won’t be the last.