Dig Begins For Legendary Nazi Gold Train


Tom Hale


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

The infamous Nuremberg Rally in September 1937. Everett Historical/Shutterstock

Urban folklore tells a story of an abandoned train, loaded with an estimated 300 tonnes of gold, jewels, weapons, and valuable artworks, which the Nazis hid in the end days of World War Two. The rumors began shortly after the fall of Nazi Germany, but so far there’s been little physical evidence for its existence.

Much to the dismay of professional archaeologists, two “explorers” are now back chasing the legend in Walbrzych, present-day Poland. The 10-day excavation only began on Tuesday, but the pair’s preliminary radar imaging of the site is "very promising", the BBC reports.


This exploration began after an unnamed man gave a deathbed confession in August 2015, which revealed the apparent location of the fabled train. The location seemed to pair up with the rumored whereabouts of the train. The story is hazy and often differs, but at some point in 1945, an armored train and a load of stolen goods went missing without a trace.

According to the rumor, there was a complex network of tunnels under the Owl Mountains near a castle in Walbrzych, which was part of an unfinished and secret project called "Riese". The Nazis drove the train into a tunnel, at the time part of Nazi Germany, as the Soviets were advancing and the Allied planes were raining down airstrikes. In a last-ditch attempt to keep the treasure out of Soviet hands, they proceeded to bury and fill the tunnel.

Despite doubts, the dig began in Walbrzych, Poland on August 16, 2016.  AP Photo/Dariusz Gdesz

It sounds like something straight out of a movie plot. And many archaeologists think it is as fictitious as it sounds.


"We're entering the sphere of almost urban myth," Tony Pollard, a battlefield archaeologist at the University of Glasgow, who isn’t affiliated with this excavation, told Live Science.

He added: "From my own experience as an archaeologist, I'm highly dubious about it, and I think most of the archaeological community shares that opinion."

Historians who have studied and followed the documentation of Nazi assets are equally disenchanted. Pawel Rodziewicz, a local historian in Walbrzych, told the Associated Press last year that documentation shows that the gold was sent to Berlin's central bank in 1945, so there would have been no reason to take the loot back east again in the direction of the approaching Soviet Red Army.

Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, the Polish communist government searched for the loot on multiple occasions, with no success.


It’s true that the truth is often stranger than fiction. But, either way, it looks like the mystery of the legendary Nazi gold in Poland may finally be answered after all these years.


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