Two men say they've found a legendary Nazi train that vanished during the last weeks of World War II and was rumored to contain gold, gems, and precious metals.
A law firm in the town of Walbrzych in southwestern Poland told local media that it had been contacted by the men, one Pole and one German, who claimed they had located the train and wanted to file a "finder's claim" with the local council. Under Polish law, treasure hunters can keep 10 percent of the value of their find.
"Lawyers, the army, the police and the fire brigade are dealing with this," Marika Tokarska, an official at the Walbrzych district council, told Reuters. "The area has never been excavated before and we don’t know what we might find."
The ghost train is believed to have been dispatched by the Nazis from the then-German city of Breslau (now called Wroclaw and part of Poland) as the Soviet Red Army made its final march toward Berlin. Local legend has it that the train vanished somewhere in the mountains near the present-day border between Poland and the Czech Republic.
Poland's Radio Wroclaw reported that there are several theories about the train's fate. One story has it that the train entered a tunnel near a castle just north of Walbrzych and never came out. The tunnel was later sealed up and forgotten.
"No one has ever seen documentary evidence confirming the existence of such trains," local historian Joanna Lamparska told Radio Wroclaw. "A handful of people have already looked for the train, damaging the line in the process, but nothing was ever found."
Others say that the Nazis dug miles of tunnels in southwest Poland for reasons that have never been completely clear, leading some to argue that they may have stashed the gold in one of them for safekeeping. Others say that the value of the alleged cargo and the chaotic situation the Nazis found themselves in would have precluded officials from filling out the normal paperwork for such a large and valuable amount of goods.
The Telegraph reports that the Walbrzych council has asked the claimants to provide the location of their alleged find as it may have been booby-trapped with mines.