Now, a Polish law firm says it has been contacted by the two men claiming to have found the train. The firm says the two want 10 percent of the value of the treasure if they reveal its location. According to the news Web site walbrzych24.com, one of the men is German and the other Polish.
Britain's Independent newspaper referred to a Polish site called Wiadomosci Walbrzyskie that reported that the train might have carried up to 300 tons of gold. The site also speculated that the train could be about 500 feet long and hidden in a tunnel.
The excitement might turn out to be unfounded, though: Although local residents have passed on the legend of the Nazi gold train for decades, historians have not found any conclusive evidence of its existence, according to the Associated Press.
Questions have been raised about how such a long train could have vanished for more than half a century, even though the area where it supposedly disappeared was known.
Nevertheless, locals appear to take the two men's claim seriously. The news agency Reuters quoted local official Marika Tokarska as saying: “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.”
Officials have assembled an emergency committee, because they are worried about dangerous underground methane gas as well as the possibility that the train could be armed with explosives, according to the AP.
Nazi gold has a dark past: Most of it was melted into ingots, using jewelry seized from Jews and others who had been sent to concentration camps. With Allied forces advancing at the end of World War II, the Nazis transported their gold back to Germany. Trying to keep it from falling into the hands of the Soviets, the Germans sought to hide their treasures. Some of them have remained untraceable.