Polish authorities have held a crisis meeting in which they warned treasure hunters against trying to unravel the mysteries of a gold-laden train said to have been discovered in nearby mountains, warning it may have been boobytrapped by the Nazis.
The meeting came in response to claims that two men had discovered a legendary ghost train which was used to carry Nazi loot but disappeared in 1945.
Jacek Cichura, the local governor in Walbrzych, where the train allegedly was found, said the meeting was to explore how authorities can safely handle the train if it is located.
“Our priority is the safety of the public,” Mr Cichura said. “If the gold train actually exists, then it is probably mined. There is also the possibility of methane.”
Legend has it that a train left the city of Wroclaw — then called Breslau and part of Germany — in April 1945 laden with gold and travelled south-west before disappearing into the hills around Walbrzych.
Photo: Hulton Archive
Earlier this week it emerged that the men behind the discovery, a Pole and a German who are remaining anonymous, had sent a letter to the town’s council claiming to have found an armoured train with “precious metals” at an undisclosed location.
Mr Cichura called on the treasure hunters to name the location of the train because they were “putting lives at risk”.
Yesterday Poland’s culture ministry revealed that it had already been approached by a man who claimed to represent the treasure hunters, who asked for money in exchange for naming the location.
The culture ministry refused to bargain and told the man to report the find to the appropriate local authority.
Tomasz Jura, a local historian who has researched the wartime history of the Walbrzych region, said he was “90 per cent certain” the train has been found.
Photo: National Archives/Getty Images
He said it was probably hidden in a huge complex of tunnels the Germans dug in the area during the war, for reasons that still remain mysterious, and that he has evidence the system had a rail network.
But not all are convinced. “So many times in the past we have had information like this and so many times it has come to nothing,” said Joanna Lamparska, a historian who has written extensively about the Walbrzych region. “Fourteen years ago we had a similar ‘sensation’ but nothing was found. Not many people believe in this latest claim.”