Last year, historian bounty hunters Andreas Richter and Piotr Koper got everyone very excited when they revealed, sort of and according mainly to them, the location of the Nazi Gold Train -- a train containing a hidden stash of stolen art and valuables said to have been packed up and hidden by the Nazis to fund their retirements in Argentina and/or WWIII. But is it actually real?
Richter and Koper certainly hope it is, as they've gathered together a band of volunteers and are actually starting to dig at the spot in the Owl Mountains, Poland, where they say underground imaging tools have found something lumpy and old buried within one of the disused tunnels. Analysis of Richter and Koper's data was quickly debunked shortly after it was announced in 2015, mind, with other underground stuff experts saying the anomalies found weren't large enough to be a train packed with 300 tonnes of gold.
And then there's the fact that some researchers think the existence of the haul itself may be one massive myth. The story of the train can be traced back to one man, a retired miner called Tadeusz Slowikowski, who said he overheard a German saying that a train left the German city of Breslau to escape the Soviet assault. The miner said the German claimed the train had disappeared. That's the root rumour behind the Gold Train myth. If it happened today it'd be debunked on Twitter within the hour.
But that's not stopping Richter and Koper. Their site has been analysed by six separate experts (paid by them) with ground radar, and all agree something's there, even if it's just a bit of tunnel and a few broken spades. Andrzej Gaik, a member of the volunteer force that's about to spend a few days digging around, said: "The results of the ground-penetrating radar examinations are very promising. It's so exciting and we count on success."
That's what they say is a buried train full of gold. However, local historians disagree. They've done a lot of work in tracking the Nazi gold itself, with the paper trail suggesting that the gold was evacuated to banks in Berlin long before the mystery train ever departed, so even if there is as lost train somewhere under the Polish mountains, it might only contain the remains of some fleeing Nazi staffers.
The tunnels beneath the mountains are real enough, though. They were excavated by the Nazis for reasons not entirely remembered, although it's assumed that the plan behind Project Riese was to hide weapon manufacturing facilities underground, also providing a nice and secure underground lair for the would-be world leaders.
Many of the tunnels weren't reinforced, however, meaning a lot of the network has since collapsed -- a fortuitous event for conspiracy theorists as it's unlikely the train, or any train, will ever be found. So the myth might never die, at least not until all of Poland's been dug up and put through a sieve. [AP]