By Rick Noack
LONDON: When two men claimed to have found a mysterious train filled with Nazi gold last fall in Poland, it all seemed too spectacular to be really true. Skepticism of the alleged finding quickly overtook the initial enthusiasm.
On Tuesday, we may finally find out whether the Nazi gold train has indeed been found.
One year after they claimed to have traced it, a team of 35 researchers that includes Piotr Koper and Andreas Richter will start digging for the precious metal. A report they worked on found that soil anomalies could hint at the train's existence, but another study by the AGH University of Science and Technology in the Polish city of Krakow found no evidence for that. The latter study, however, did conclude that a tunnel may be at the location where Koper and Richter will now put their theory to the test.
"The train is not a needle in the haystack — if there is one, we will find it,"Andrzej Gaik, the spokesman of the search committee, told news agency Agence France-Presse. The committee consists of volunteers rather than of Polish officials who refrained from participating in the search efforts.
Gaik remains hopeful: "If we find a tunnel, then that is also a success. Maybe the train is hidden inside that tunnel." The privately funded effort will be streamed live online and could be over within two days. Using special equipment, the search team is planning to drill three 100-meter holes into the ground.
The story of a Nazi-era train with valuable art, gems and gold that disappeared at the end of World War II in 1945 has circulated for decades. It is believed to have been last seen near the city of Wroclaw, which is today part of Poland, and researchers and hunters have been unable to find the tunnel complex in which it is thought to be hidden.