image: the hills near Walbrzych, Poland, the alleged site of the buried Nazi gold train
When a pair of intrepid amateur treasure hunters claimed to have discovered the hiding place of a Nazi armored train full of riches in the hills of Poland the world was electrified. Rumors of an armored train full of gold, jewels and weapons buried in the hills had been whispered for decades, and the pair claiming the find were hardly the only ones searching. Their evidence looked promising back in September of 2015 and Polish authorities commissioned a more detailed study with better equipment.
But scientists who investigated the claim threw cold water on the discovery, announcing there wasn’t any gold train buried in those hills back in December. It might be a collapsed tunnel, the experts conceded. Better luck next time. For a time, that looked like where our story was going to end but, like any good treasure hunting tale, that was not the last word.
Piotr Koper and Andreas Richter, the pair making the original claim on the find, went back for talks with Poland’s railway company, PKP, about doing some additional exploration. Backed by supportive locals around the city of Walbrzych, and favorable TV coverage, it appears the pair has gotten permission to dig some exploratory tunnels in the area starting as early as this week.
It turns out there is some historical evidence to support the notion of a treasure train being buried in those hills. During the closing days of WWII, when the Russian Army was sweeping towards Germany, there may indeed have been a train loaded with war munitions headed toward an underground weapons facility buried in the Owl Mountains. There’s also some evidence the Nazis might have used that same train to move stolen treasures out of occupied lands ahead of the Red Army’s advance. The haul included gold, jewels and priceless works of art, possibly including the (purloined-from-the-Russians) Amber Room, which was on display for a time at Königsberg castle.
We know Hitler ordered the removal of the Nazi gold and treasures in January of 1945, three months before the castle was destroyed by allied bombing in early April. Russian investigators tasked with finding the Amber Room determined that it was destroyed in the bombing and the Russian government built a replica of the room after the war. Yet rumors persisted that pieces of the Amber Room were either put on a ship, later torpedoed and sunk by an Allied submarine—or removed by train. The timing is freakishly coincidental.
Thus it seems as though the bold (and determined) Koper and Richter are being smart in continuing their exploration. The chances of an armored military train being buried somewhere in those hills seems quite high. Though experts using ground penetrating radar (GPR) say them nay, there seems to be some question about just how much GPR data exists to tell us what a buried train would look like. GPR is an inexact science on a good day, so giving up on a possible trainload of gold and jewels because a couple of university scientists doubt the find would not be prudent.
The other facts surrounding the case would also appear to support the effort to continue the search. The Nazis did try to remove gold and priceless art pieces by train before the Russian Army overran Poland. We know that an armored military train, or trains, left the station but never arrived at their destination. Unless those treasures were captured and never reported or destroyed without any trace, then much of that looted fortune is still out there waiting to be found.
Maybe our intrepid pair will be rewarded or maybe the discovery will have to wait for another day. For sure something is buried under the rolling hills of Poland and we’ll just have to wait it out.