Poland's central bank governor Marek Belka said he believes reports of a Nazi "gold train" in Poland are a hoax. Two anonymous treasure hunters claimed they had identified where the train, which is believed to be carrying a cargo of jewels, gold and guns, is buried.
The unidentified German and Polish treasure hunters said they had found the train in the Owl Mountains, in the south-western district of Walbrzych and are now demanding 10 percent of the value of the findings as a reward.
Poland's Deputy Culture Minister Piotr Zuchowski added weight to the claims, saying he was almost certain the train, which is rumoured to have gone missing near the close of World War Two, had been found. Photographs taken using ground-penetrating radar equipment appear to show a train more than 100 metres (330 feet) long. "I am over 99 percent sure that such a train exists," added Zuchowski.
However, Belka dismissed the claims as unfounded saying: "I think nobody (at the central bank) even thought to devote a second to this issue. This is some hoax." Tomasz Smolarz, the governor of the south-western region of lower Silesia, also expressed his doubts, arguing that it was "impossible to claim that such a find actually exists at the location indicated based on the documents that have been submitted".
Poland will deploy the military to look for the gold train, defence ministry spokesman, Jacek Sonta confirmed. "The defence minister decided to send technical equipment to search the area in order to determine whether a train actually exists. The army is acting at the request of the governor of the region concerned."
Reports of the find has prompted swarms of locals to descend on the site along a stretch of active railway tracks which has now been blocked off by police to prevent accidents. A Polish non-government organisation filed a complaint with state prosecutors, alleging that claims about the existence of the train have led to considerable public funds being wasted on securing the area.
Since the Second World War stories have circulated in Walbrzych of a train full of Nazi gold which vanished without a trace near the city towards the end of the war. It was reportedly loaded with treasure in the city of Wroclaw as the Soviet Red Army approached but never reached Walzbrych.
Its rumoured destination was the Project Riese tunnels built by slave labour in the mountains, which experts believe were intended to function as underground armaments factories safe from Allied bombing. The rumours were fuelled by a massive network of secret underground tunnels near Walbrzych where the Third Reich concealed looted treasures.