WALBRZYCH, Poland — A military train of historical significance has been found but it isn't clear whether it includes Nazi carriages laden with gold as a treasure-hunting duo claims, local officials in Poland said Wednesday.
"The city [of Walbrzych] is full of mysterious stories because of its history," the town's deputy mayor Zygmunt Nowaczyk told journalists at a press conference. "Now it is formal information — [we] have found something."
Arkadiusz Golebiewski, a press officer for the local government, confirmed that a military train had been discovered in Walbrzych, which is near Poland's border with the Czech Republic.
The find came to light last week when authorities announced that two unidentified tipsters were claiming they had located a Nazi train.
Marika Tokarska, a Walbrzych city council official, said Thursday that the pair had informed authorities via a lawyer that they would reveal the location of their alleged find only if they were guaranteed to eventually receive a finders' fee of 10 percent of its value.
Towards the end of World War II, the Nazis built many military installations underground to protect them from Allied air raids. According to local legend, a German military train carrying guns and valuables went missing inside one such tunnel during the advance of the Soviet Army towards Berlin in 1945.
A tour guide in Walbrzych's Ksiaz Castle told NBC News that rumors of a Nazi treasure train had circulated in the region for years. Some believe that a top Nazi commander put stolen gold and bank deposits from Wroclaw in one place, probably on a train that left the city toward the end of the war, Mateusz Meissner added.
Where that train went next was a mystery, the guide said.
"During World War II the German army dug a lot of tunnels in the area," Meissner said. "What we know is they tried to convert the castle into a hotel for Hitler's officials during the war and Hitler had to be safe so they made tunnels underneath."
He added: "This is only a theory but a logical one: They wanted to hide [the train] in the huge tunnels because the tunnels are up to 5 meters [16 feet] high so the train would fit perfectly."