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The Lost Gold Train

Rough Guide to Poland, 8th edition

THE TUNNELS are certainly real…and the gold just might be. “Ever since the end of World War II,” says the 8th edition of the Rough Guide to Poland, “stories have circulated…concerning a gold-laden train hidden by the retreating Nazis in the huge complex of tunnels that extends beneath the city [of Walbrzych] and the neighbouring Owl Mountains.”

Walbrzych was once the coal-mining capital of Lower Silesia, in southwest Poland near the Czech border. In 1943 the Nazis began adding to the region’s existing tunnels, building the vast Riese (“giant”) underground complex. “The removal of all machines and documents by the retreating Nazis and invading Soviets means that even today the ultimate purpose of the underground facilities is unclear,” says the guidebook.

Whatever the complex was for it was massive, taking 28,000 prisoners to construct and still unfinished when the Red Army marched in. Remarkably, neither the Soviets nor the Poles ever fully mapped it. “It’s believed many more tunnels lie undiscovered, [so] it remains perfectly reasonable to assume that there is something down there.”

There was a flurry of excitement in 2015 when two treasure hunters said they’d found evidence of the train’s existence, but a year’s worth of subsequent investigation uncovered nothing.

A tour of Ksiaz Castle, eight kilometres north of Walbrzych, includes parts of it used by the Nazis and tunnels they built beneath it. The castle has some beautiful Renaissance- and Baroque-period halls. www.ksiaz.walbrzych.pl

Of the sections of the Riese complex currently open, the guidebook says “Osowka and Walim are the most impressive.”

 

www.roughguides.com

 

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