One year after the Polish authorities announced the launch of a major search for a storied Nazi gold train, it seems this search has produced absolutely nothing.
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According to legend, the gold train disappeared in Poland toward the end of World War II, and since then, all trace of it has been lost. But a story that opened with a bang last summer now seems to be ending, as expected, with a whimper.
The Polish media reported Tuesday that the excavations in southern Poland will be halted, and from now on, efforts to locate the train will be made through other means. They also reported that local governments have asked the national government to extend the dig, which was supposed to finish at the end of the month, until the end of the year.
A press conference has been called for Friday, at which a new timetable for the search is expected to be unveiled. But it seems this is merely an effort by Polish officials to postpone the inevitable end, in the hope that a miracle will save them from having to admit a predictable failure.
Last August, the gold train story made headlines worldwide after two men claimed to have discovered the train near the city of Walbrzych by using ground-penetrating radar. The two, a Pole and a German, set off international gold fever by claiming they had detected several railway cars, totaling 98 meters in length, deep underground.
This month, exactly a year after their initial announcement, the two made headlines again by promising that the riddle of the train’s location would be solved “within days.” And once again, the media both in Poland and overseas sent crews to cover the metal detectors and earthmovers at the site.
But this time, too, the story seems to be fueled mainly by speculation about the riches likely to be found in the legendary train, ranging from arms through artworks stolen by the Nazis to diamonds and gold of incalculable value.
In reality, despite the massive media coverage, nothing has changed: There still isn’t a single shred of evidence that the gold train ever existed.