(JTA) – The story that a Nazi-seized train containing Jewish gold has been found in a tunnel in Poland is a hoax, according to Poland’s central bank governor.
On Wednesday, Marek Belka said nobody at the bank was taking the reports seriously.
“I think nobody even thought to devote a second to this issue,” Belka said, according to Reuters. “This is some hoax.”
Earlier this month, two men, one German and one Polish, approached government officials in Poland’s southwestern district of Walbrzych claiming to have found the train and demanding a 10 per cent finder’s fee.
The train, which was loaded with gold, gems, art and guns bound for Berlin, had disappeared in 1945. It was one of several trains used by the Nazis in an attempt to save their war plunder from the advancing Allies. According to local lore, the train vanished after entering a network of tunnels under the Owl Mountains.
Last Friday, Polish Deputy Culture Minister Piotr Zuchowski said at a news conference that he had seen a ground-penetrating radar image indicating that the train, which two unidentified individuals claimed to locate earlier this month, likely exists. Zuchowski said he was “more than 99 per cent certain that this train exists,” the Associated Press reported.
But earlier this week the Polish governor of the province in which the train supposedly was sighted, Tomasz Smolarz, tried to tamp down expectations, saying new reports about the train’s location and its contents “are not any stronger than similar claims made in past decades.”