The Saga of Poland's Hidden Nazi Gold Just Took a Bizarre Turn

Possible arson, the army, mysteries and conspiracies.
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Possible arson, the army, mysteries and conspiracies.
Tunnels where Nazi gold train may be

Even if there isn't actually an armored train full of Nazi gold hidden in a Polish forest, it's clear some are convinced it's there and may even be willing to set the woods on fire to find it.

The Telegraph reported Monday that the embankment and woods by the section of rail line long thought to be the most likely location for Adolf Hitler's ill-gotten gold stash "was burnt along with 219 square yards of forest and bush on it." It took five engines to finally take down the fire, reported the British paper, and the "fire brigade said they were almost certain it was not arson." Because sure, of course it wasn't. Right.

Fire ripping through the woods isn't too weird in the dry heat of summer, but the Daily Mail writes that this already Spielberg-friendly mystery has taken some strange X Files-like turns in the past. The Mail reports that even after receiving permission to poke around in the forest from officials 12 years ago, researcher Tadeusz Slowikowski said he was approached by "three men in civilian clothes and carrying guns" who behaved in a threatening manner. Slowikowski also claimed his dog was mysteriously poisoned and his phone lines tapped. Another, unnamed researcher told the Mail many "dangerous people are interested in finding this train."

This story already has the makings of a summer heist flick, but this is only the beginning. On Tuesday the Telegraph reported that the Polish army is ready to settle the question of whether there's a damned train full of gold in—or in tunnels under—those woods or not. "Military experts will use radar technology to conduct a geophysical survey of the trackside site," reports the Telegraph, and in preparation for their activities, civil authorities have put up "No Trespassing" signs. Chances are, Polish troops and armed fortune hunters may meet in the middle of the forest. This is going to end badly.

We still don't really know if there's a Nazi train full of stolen treasure—it could end up being the Polish answer to Al Capone's Vault—but trying to find the truth is obviously a journey full of fire and danger. It's also pretty fun if you're not the one in danger or on fire.

Photos by Janek Skarzynski/AFP