Image seen of alleged Nazi train in Poland

  • 29/08/2015
Train tracks (Reuters)
Train tracks (Reuters)

Poland's deputy culture minister says he's seen a ground-penetrating radar image of an alleged Nazi train that has set off a gold rush, adding he is 99 percent sure it exists.

Local media have for days been abuzz with old lore of trains full of gold and jewels stolen by the Nazis after two men - a German and a Pole - claimed to have found an armoured train car in the southwestern city of Walbrzych.

"I saw a good quality ground-penetrating radar image showing what the train looks like," Deputy Culture Minister Piotr Zuchowski told reporters, adding that he could make out platforms and gun positions on the photo.

"I'm more than 99 percent sure such a train exists, but the nature of its contents is unverifiable at the moment," added Zuchowski, who is also the national heritage conservation officer.

Friday's revelations elicited a response from the World Jewish Congress (WJC) regarding the mystery contents of the train.

"If any of these items were stolen from Jews before they were murdered, or sent to forced labour camps, every measure must be taken to return them to their owners, or their heirs," WJC CEO Robert Singer said in a statement.

Zuchowski said the two men who discovered the train and who wished to remain anonymous, had the right to claim a finder's fee of 10 percent of the value of the train's contents.

The fact that the train was armoured suggested there could be valuable objects inside, including artwork, archival documents or treasures, he said.

But he also warned the train could be booby-trapped, refusing to reveal its exact location.

Rumours of two special Nazi trains that disappeared in the spring of 1945 have been circulating for years, capturing the imagination of countless treasure hunters.