In 1945, at the end of WWII, a Nazi train allegedly packed with gold left Wroclaw and went missing as the Soviet Red Army closed in. Last week, treasure hunters said they found the 500-foot train in Poland’s mountainous Walbrzych district. According to CNN, the men won’t reveal the whereabouts of the train without a guarantee that they’ll be rewarded 10% of the treasure. Polish legend says that the mystery train is loaded with gems, artworks, weapons, and over 300 tons of gold.
Rumors of a Nazi ghost train hidden in one of the secret railway tunnels built near Walbrzych have existed for decades. As part of a project called “Riese” (Giant), Hitler created an underground tunnel system below the Owl Mountains. While most of the secret rail lines were sealed up after the war, the story of a vanishing train packed with Nazi plunder never disappeared.
Is the ghost train real or just another Nazi myth? The existence of the train has never been conclusively proven – a Polish miner said he was told about it by German miners – but it hasn’t stopped treasure hunters and conspiracy theorists from scouring the area in search of riches. There are all sorts of myths and legends involving Nazis, and while the idea that Adolph Hitler had a secret military base on the moon can be debunked, whether or not the Third Reich hid loot in Lake Toplitz is still up for debate. Here are 10 Nazi myths that may or may not be true.
10. The German Antarctic Expedition
In 1938, Germany carried out an expedition to the western part of Antarctica to scout territory for its expanding whaling industry. The conspiracy theory surrounding the Antarctic expedition, however, is much different than the story found in German documents and history books.
It’s said that the Third Reich found a network of warm water rivers and underground caves on Antarctica, and that one of the caves extended 30 miles into the earth. A team of Nazi scientists and military units built a city-base in the “hollow earth” called New Berlin or Base 211, where high-ranking SS officials hosted the Thule Society, shadowy cabals of Nazi occultists, and, of course, the Illuminati.
Cue the music from the X-Files…
9. Lost Loot in Lake Toplitz
For decades, treasure hunters have flocked to Lake Toplitz in the Austrian Alps looking for fabled Nazi loot. With U.S. troops closing in and Germany on the brink of collapse, the Third Reich is said to have sunk metal boxes in the lake, the bottom of which is encrusted in a thick carpet of logs. Nobody knows what’s inside the metal boxes. Some say they’re filled with gold looted by German troops. Others believe the boxes contain documents showing where assets confiscated from Jewish victims were hidden.
In 1959, a German diving team found forged sterling silver in the lake. The currency was part of Hitler’s secret counterfeiting operation designed to weaken the British economy. Still, treasure hunters don’t believe that’s the only Nazi secret hidden in Lake Toplitz.
8. The Nazi Connection with Tibet
Germany sent expeditions to Tibet from 1926 to 1943. Supposedly, Ernst Schafer, a hunter and biologist, led the expeditions for sport and zoological research. However, several high-ranking Nazi officials had occult beliefs and it’s been suggested that the expeditions to Tibet had nothing to do with sport and zoological research, but were veiled attempts to find mythical lands such as Shambhala, Agharti, and Hyporborea-Thule.
The Nazis believed their Aryan forefathers – a race of supreme beings – lived in these mythical lands. The Third Reich travelled to Tibet to find and maintain contact with their Aryan forefathers.
7. Gold Buried on Auckland Island
Auckland Island is remote and uninhibited, which makes it the perfect place to stash millions in stolen loot. It’s long been rumored that a German U-Boat visited Auckland Island in 1945.
Some stories say the crew buried the gold on the island, while others suggest the cargo was dumped offshore. While nothing has ever been found to suggest that Hitler hid a hoard of gold on Auckland Island, Nazi soldiers used lookout towers in the area during WWII, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that treasure is buried there.
6. The Holy Grail
According to Dr. Henning Hassmannof the Archeology Institute in Dresden, Henrich Himmler, the head of the SS, saw the potential of archeology as a political tool. In creating the Das Ahnenerbe (The Ancestral Heritage Society) and staffing it with Germany’s leading academics and scientists, Himmler wanted to draw on the myths, legends, and power of prehistory to give Nazi propaganda an objective truth.
Das Ahnenerbe organized excavations and expeditions to different parts of the world. Nazi academics travelled to the Canary Islands in search of Atlantis and to Iran to find proof of ancient kings with Aryan blood. Himmler even recruited Otto Rahn, a leading authority on the Holy Grail, to help the SS search for the mythic object.
5. The Lone-Nut Theory
Conspiracy buffs have long claimed that Hitler only had one testicle. How did this story originate? As a soldier in World War I, Hitler was wounded in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. While sources differ on the precise location of the wound, some say it was in the groin area. In 1968, a book was published that included the autopsy report done on Hitler’s body by Russian pathologists.
Hitler’s “left testicle could not be found either in the scrotum or on the spermatic cord inside the inguinal canal, or in the small pelvis…”
There are questions surrounding the authenticity of the Russian autopsy record, but the lone-nut theory is yet to be dismissed.
4. Who Really Turned in Anne Frank and Her Family?
The identity of the informant who called the Gestapo and revealed the hiding place of Anne Frank and her family is a mystery that’s long plagued historians and Nazi hunters. For years, suspicion fell on Willem Van Maaren, a man who worked in the warehouse attached to the Franks’ concealed annex. However, Van Maaren professed his innocence up until his death in 1971.
In 2002, two new theories emerged. One claimed that Anton Ahlers, a 26-year old business associate of Otto’s and a committed Nazi, turned in the family because he needed money. The second theory claimed that Lena Hartog, a cleaning lady in the warehouse, betrayed the family. Supposedly Hartog feared she would be deported and lose her husband for aiding the Franks.
3. Hitler’s Hoard Hidden by Spain’s General Franco
The Gold Trail that stemmed from Nazi Germany in the 1940s went in several directions, one of which was Spain. In a 1993 interview with Radio Free Europe, Trenton Parker, a veteran CIA operative, said that the Third Reich’s hoard of looted gold had been shipped to Spain and guarded by General Franco.
Parker claimed that the stolen gold remained in Franco’s care until 1975 and was eventually turned into counterfeit Krugerrands and sold throughout the United States.
2. Looted Art
How many artworks did the Nazi’s really loot? In 2012, German authorities seized 1,280 pieces of stolen art from Cornelius Gurlitt’s Munich apartment, including works by Picasso, Matisse, and Chagall. Authorities then seized another 200 artworks at Gurlitt’s apartment in Austria. Gurlitt inherited the stolen art from his father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, a dealer who worked closely with the Nazis.
Most of the art in Gurlitt’s possession had been seized from museums across Europe or stolen from Jewish families and collectors. Experts feared the works had been lost or destroyed. If that much looted art is still being unearthed in 2012 – sixty-seven years after the end of WWII – how much is still hidden out there?
1. Hitler Died in Argentina
Did Hitler actually die in South America in 1962? In the book Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolph Hitler, British journalists Gerrard Williams and Simon Dunstan claim that Hitler didn’t commit suicide in a Berlin bunker in 1945, but escaped to Argentina in a submarine. According to Williams and Dunstan, the skull fragments that were used to confirm the Fuhrer’s death actually belonged to a young woman. They journalists go on to say that Stalin, Eisenhower, and Hoover all knew that there was no proof that Hitler committed suicide. And the conspiracy doesn’t end there…
Declassified FBI documents contain a number of alleged Hitler sightings in South America, and an unnamed Argentinian informant even claims he was one of four men who were at Mar de Plata, an Argentinian naval base, when Hitler’s submarine arrived two months after the end of the war. Williams and Dunstan claim that Hitler lived in hiding at Hacienda San Ramos in the foothills of the Andes Mountains for 17 years.