There is a Polish legend called the Nazi gold train. Supposedly, at the end of World War II, some Nazis filled up three train cars with gold and other valuables and then hid it in a tunnel under the Owl Mountains in southwest Poland. It is said to contain 300 tons of treasure. The reason I bring it up is because there are two treasure hunters who claim that they have found it. This is despite the fact that there is no actual historical record of it, and when Poland was under communist rule, the government did a lot of work trying to find it.
But who cares? Well, for one: an employer of mine. I’ve been working on a project that relates to this. But it puts me in a difficult position because I just ain’t buying it. Just check out the story here. Recently, someone who was supposedly involved in burying the train died. That was 70 years ago, so we are talking someone really old. And on his death bed, he revealed where the train was hidden. So these two treasure hunters went out and used ground penetrating radar and discovered a train. But that’s as much as we know at this point.
More recently, the two men — Andreas Richter and Piotr Koper — came forward. Maybe they think this is the real thing — or at least that the train must contain something of value. They offered the location of the train to the Polish government for a 10% cut. Of course, I’m even skeptical of this. It is a way of getting the Polish government to pay the bill for a speculative dig. Is the probability good or bad? It doesn’t matter to these guys. Even if there is just a 1% chance, it’s worth it to them!
It’s also interesting that the location of this train is not consistent with the local legend. The train was supposed to be in a tunnel. Instead, it was found simply buried under ground near a rail line. That doesn’t encourage me. On the other hand, maybe the reason no one has ever found the train is because the legend got it wrong. But that’s not the only issue. Maybe this is a train that the Nazis buried for other reasons. Or it is just a train that crashed and got buried in the course of the war. I find it fascinating, but not really from the treasure angle. Treasure never much interests me — just the stories that go along with it.
I really wonder about this dying Nazi too. Why didn’t he go to the Polish government and collect the prize? This is my guess: he didn’t think it had gold in it. He was involved in burying a train. He’s an old man. A couple of treasure hunters heard something about this guy talking about a buried train. So they go to him and get the information. No one has reported that the guy said there was gobs of treasure to be found. All we know is that he provided the location of a buried train.
One thing I am pretty sure of: this train doesn’t contain the amount of treasure of legend. If it had 300 tons of gold, that would be worth roughly $15 billion. I doubt that legends tend to make treasure troves smaller over time. So I’m skeptical. But the best thing for me is that it is a huge treasure find — because it means more (paid) work. That kind of treasure I am interested in.