Polish media abuzz with rumoured discovery of Nazi 'gold train'

Warsaw (AFP) - Local media are abuzz over the rumoured discovery of an armoured train car in southwestern Poland, which has revived old lore of trains full of gold and jewels stolen by the Nazis that vanished after World War II.

"Has Hitler's gold train been located?" asked the leading daily Gazeta Wyborcza in a headline echoed by broadcaster TVP.info, tabloid Fakt and broadcaster TVN24 among other media.

The legends revolve around the huge secret underground tunnels near the southwestern city of Walbrzych that Nazi Germany had built by forced labourers and concentration camp inmates.

The tunnels, code-named Riese (Giant), were built to be used as production spaces for German strategic weapons as the site was safe from Allied air raids.

Portions of the tunnels are now open to tourists, while the region also attracts treasure-hunters inspired by old rumours that the Third Reich had stashed its treasures in the underground passages.

But even the two men -- a German and Pole -- who claim to have found a 120-150 metre-long (400-500 foot-long) train are skeptical that it contains gold, according to their lawyer.

"These are serious people... What they presented during our talk makes me believe this business (of the train) is very credible," lawyer Jaroslaw Chmielewski told the Polish news portal Onet.

"My clients are however skeptical as to whether it is really the famous (Nazi) train" packed with gold and other precious objects, he said.

"But we also can't completely exclude the possibility."

Walbrzych cityhall spokesman Arkadiusz Grudzien told AFP they had indeed received a legal letter saying the two men had "identified the location of a train carriage, probably armoured".

He said there was no mention of the exact location of the find, but that the men had asked to meet with city officials.

Local Radio Wroclaw said the men are asking for 10 percent of whatever may be found on the train.

"They claim they found a lost train full of gold. And they want a reward," headlined broadcaster TVN24.

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