“Death Bed Confession” May Lead to Legendary Nazi Gold Train

german-armoured-train (Image: German Federal Archives; an armoured German military train)

The idea of lost treasures and artifacts from World War Two has captured the imaginations of historians, treasure hunters and the general public for decades. After seven decades, however, even the most enduring of tales, such as that of the mysterious Nazi gold train, seemed to have slipped from history into the realm of folklore. But with a recent claim from two men in Poland, that might not be the case.

According to what is generally considered an urban legend, Nazi troops loaded gold, gems and other valuables onto a train in Wroclaw, and sent it out of the city to the southwest. The Soviet Army was closing in on them, and it was a last-ditch effort to keep the valuables in German hands. Countless searches have been made for the mythical ghost train, but none have been successful – until, perhaps, now.

merkers-mine-ss-plunder (Image: US Army; a vast hoard of SS plunder was discovered in Merkers Mine, Germany)

Two local historians have claimed that they’re as much as 90 percent sure that what they’ve found is the real deal, but we’ll wait with baited breath until the truth is revealed. The men have reportedly filed for a finders’ fee, though other historians are remaining skeptical of the claims. The men describe a huge system of underground tunnels dug during the war near the Polish town of Walbrzych, complete with a rail network that would have enabled retreating Nazis to hide the train.

If it sounds like something out of a movie, it absolutely could be – but it’s happened before. In 1945, Allied troops discovered a vast stockpile of Nazi-plundered artwork, bags of coins, and stacks of gold bars that had been stored in Merkers Mine.

stolen-nazi-loot (Image: US Government; rings removed from victims at Buchenwald concentration camp)

Suitcases of silverware, trunks of gold fillings, and vast hoards of valuables that had once belonged to the victims of Hitler’s Third Reich were uncovered – a discovery at once breathtaking and utterly chilling. The gold fillings hadn’t yet been melted down, though many other items had been forged into bricks of Nazi gold.

Merkers was probably the most infamous, but there were others, too. The Altaussee salt mine in Styria, Austria, was found to contain around 6,500 paintings, from the magnificent Ghent Altarpiece to Micahelangelo’s Madonna and Child. The works, ultimately saved by the so-called Monuments Men, had been destined for Hitler’s Fuhrermuseum in Linz.

stolen-nazi-loot-2 (Image: US Army; President Eisenhower examines recovered masterpieces)

Meanwhile, the Bernterode salt mine in Thuringia, Germany had been used to store property and artifacts looted from the Prussian royal family, as well as the caskets of Prussian royalty – King Friedrich the First and Friedrich the Great were both found there.

The Siegen copper mine in Westphalia, Germany, was also used to store art and valuables that included relics of Charlemagne stolen from Aachen Cathedral, along with everything from manuscripts to sculptures and more paintings taken from West German museums.

german-soldiers-nazi-treasure-Palazzo Venezia (Image: German Federal Archives; German soldiers with stolen painting at the Palazzo Venezia)

And the Ransbach salt mine, not far from Merkers, was employed for the safe storage of more than two million books and manuscripts, sent to the mines, somewhat ironically, from libraries across Germany which also sought to keep their treasures safe. Priceless volumes and original manuscripts were accompanied by sheet music and paintings from the museums of Berlin and other major cities across the Reich.

We know that much of the Nazi gold remains unaccounted for – it was only in around 1997 that new information came to light as to the amount of it that ended up in Portugal. Portugal, neutral during World War Two, supplied Nazi Germany with tungsten and other metals, and was paid generously in Nazi gold.

nazi-art-plundered (Image: US Army; Nazi plunder hidden at Schlosskirche Ellingen, Bavaria)

Portugal’s acceptance of the gold came to light when Poland began looking for the missing wealth of its citizens who had died at the hands of the Nazi regime. Meanwhile, authorities in the Netherlands were also searching for some 75 tons of missing gold.

Time will tell whether Polish treasure hunters have found a train, concealed for decades below ground, loaded with Nazi gold. Experts have warned, however, that if such a train does exist in the bowels of central Europe, it may have been booby-trapped by retreating German forces 70 years ago, a possible final act of defiance for Hitler’s Third Reich.

Update: it’s now been reported that the legendary Nazi gold train’s whereabouts, and indeed its existence, may have been prompted by a “death bed confession”. We’ll be following the story closely.

Related – 10 Bizarre Nazi UFO Rumours and Other Third Reich Conspiracy Theories

 

About the author: Debra Kelly

 

 

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