London: Two treasure hunters have claimed to have found a mysterious Nazi train which had disappeared on its way to Germany from Hungary in 1945 carrying guns, gems and other valuable items, including paintings estimated to be worth up to $200 million.
A Pole and a German claim to have located the train and have sought 10% of the value of the findings.
The 150-metre-long armoured train is said to have gone missing near the then East German city of Breslau, now a Polish city named Wroclaw, as the Soviet army approached towards the end of the World War II. It is believed that the train entered a tunnel near Ksiaz Castle in the mountainous Lower Silesian region and never emerged. The tunnel was later closed and long forgotten.
Authorities in Walbrzych said they have been contacted by a law firm representing the duo. "Lawyers, the army , the police and the fire brigade are dealing with this. The area has never been excavated before and we don't know what we might find," Markia Tokarska, a Walbrzych council officer said.
Trains were used to spirit Nazi loot back to Berlin as US-led Allied and Soviet forces surged towards the German capital in 1945. In the case of the "gold train", Nazi forces sent 24 freight carriages from Budapest towards Germany , filled with family treasures, which included valuable paintings seized from Hungarian Jews. The train was intercepted by US soldiers, who, according to a later investigation, helped themselves to some of the loot.