Logo Polskiego Radia

Poland's defence minister confirms help in hunt for 'Nazi gold train'

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 03.09.2015 12:03
Minister of Defence Tomasz Siemoniak has said that a military reconnaissance team will be finalised over the coming days to help in the search for a supposed treasure-laden Nazi train near Wałbrzych, south west Poland.
Minister of Defence Tomasz Siemoniak at this week's International Defence Industry Fair in Kielce. Photo: PAP/Michał WalczakMinister of Defence Tomasz Siemoniak at this week's International Defence Industry Fair in Kielce. Photo: PAP/Michał Walczak

Siemoniak, who is also deputy prime minister, told Polish Radio that only after a thorough survey of the allged site can a further decision be taken about military involvement.

At the moment, we don't know precisely what we are dealing with,” he stressed.

The minister noted that the army has many specialists at its disposal, including sappers and technicians from the Military University of Technology in Warsaw who are experienced in subterranean exploration.

The reconnaissance team will work side by side with local authorities.

On Monday, the provincial governor of Lower Silesia Tomasz Smolarz sealed off the site in question.

The area is currently being patrolled by police, forest guards and railway security guards.

A German and a Polish citizen filed a claim with Wałbrzych city authorities in mid-August, stating that they knew the location of the train. They called for 10 percent of the value of the find, although Polish law stipulates that property found on national territority belongs to the state.

Deputy Minister of Culture Piotr Żuchowski said on Friday that the claimants' theory is based on a 'deathbed testimony' of one of the men who supposedly helped hide the armoured train 70 years ago.

Although ground penetrating radar (GPR) has indicated that there may be a vehicle at the site near Wałbrzych, many voices remain sceptical, including head of the National Bank of Poland Marek Belka, who dismissed the claim on Wednesday as “a canard”.

Meanwhile, Minister of Culture Małgorzata Omilanowska appeared to pour cold water on her own deputy's comment that the find was 99 percent certain, stressing that she appreciates “freedom of speech”, but that at present the claims are unproven, and that the whole affair revolves around “a legend.

The site lies on the rail route between Wrocław and Walbrzych, both of which were part of German territory prior to and during WWII, named Breslau and Waldenburg respectively.

As Germans fled the advancing Red Army at the end of the war, innumerable valuables – many of them looted - were shifted from across Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe.

The Soviets took Waldenburg (Wałbrzych) on 8 May 1945. Poland's borders were moved west - as finalised two months later at the Potsdam Conference - and the city became Polish. (nh/rk)

Source: IAR

Copyright © Polskie Radio S.A About Us Contact Us