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Has a mysterious WW2 train been found and was it carrying tonnes of gold image www.crimefiles.net

Has a mysterious WW2 train been found and was it carrying tonnes of gold?

Warsaw: Two people in Poland say they have found a Nazi German train cloaked in mystery since it was rumoured to have gone missing near the end of World War II while carrying away gold, gems and guns ahead of advancing Soviet Red Army forces.

Local authorities in Poland’s south-western district of Walbrzych said they had been contacted by a law firm representing a Pole and a German who said they had located the train and were seeking 10 per cent of the value of the findings.

“Lawyers, the army, the police and the fire brigade are dealing with this,” Marika Tokarska, an official at the Walbrzych district council, said. “The area has never been excavated before and we don’t know what we might find.”

Sobibor train station in Poland in 2009. The Nazis killed at least 250,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp during the Holocaust.image www.crimefiles.net
A view of the Sobibor train station in Poland in 2009. The Nazis killed at least 250,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp during the Holocaust. Photo: ReutersLocal news reports said the train in question went missing in 1945, packed with loot from the-then eastern German city of Breslau, now called Wroclaw and part of Poland, as the Red Army closed in at the end of World War II.
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One local media report said the train was armoured and belonged to the Wehrmacht (Nazi Germany’s military).

Radio Wroclaw cited local folklore as saying the train entered a tunnel near Ksiaz Castle in the mountainous Lower Silesian region and never emerged. According to that theory, the tunnel was later closed and its location long forgotten.

Other media said the train could have been carrying some 300 tonnes of gold.

According to Radio Wroclaw, the 150-metre-long train was carrying guns, “industrial equipment”, gems and other valuable treasure. Tokarska said she did not have any details on the location or the contents of the missing train.

Some sceptics say there is no evidence that it ever existed.

“A handful of people have already looked for the train, damaging the line in the process, but nothing was ever found,” Radio Wroclaw quoted Joanna Lamparska as saying, describing her as a connoisseur of the region’s history.

“But the legend has captured imaginations.”

Trains were indeed used to spirit Nazi loot back to Berlin as US-led Allied and Soviet forces surged towards the German capital from the west and the east in the winter and spring of 1945.

In the case of the so-called “Gold Train”, Nazi forces sent 24 freight carriages from Budapest towards Germany filled with family treasures including gold, silver and valuable paintings seized from Hungarian Jews and estimated to be worth up to $US200 million ($273 million).

That train was intercepted by US soldiers, who, according to a later US investigation, helped themselves to some of the loot.

Reuters
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‘I haven’t come across a single wallet or mobile’

Ukraine coal miner

Journalist at the MH17 crash scene gives a harrowing account of death and looting.

Walking around the crash site of the ill-fated MH17, freelance photojournalist Filip Warwick witnessed the lives of nearly 300 victims frozen in time.

Members of the public and pro-Russian separatists have been able to access the crash site without restrictions, raising fears the site has been contaminated image www.crimefiles.net

“I saw one or two passengers still strapped into their seats,” he told Fairfax Media from Donetsk province, the epicentre of the pro-Russian movement and the region in which the Malaysia Airlines flight fell.

MH17: ‘justice’ demands thorough investigation

Crash investigators face almost unsurmountable challenges, but for the sake of the 298 victims, they must try, says retired US transport investigator Hank Hughes.

Ukrainian coal miners sift through flower fields in the grim search for remains image www.crimefiles.net

Ukrainian coal miners sift through flower fields in the grim search for remains. Photo: AP

“It’s a very grim sight out there.

“So many bodies are beyond recognition, and then there are one or two with barely a scratch and then other cases just bones.”While Ukraine has invited international aviation representatives to assist with the investigation of the MH17 crash, actually getting those representatives to the site is a separate challenge, said Warwick.”They can arrive to Kiev, but it’s another matter altogether of having them actually access the site itself,” he said.

FLIGHT PATH MAP OF MH14 Plane SHOOTDOWN IMAGE www.crimeflies.net

Members of the public and pro-Russian separatists have been able to access the crash site without restrictions, raising fears the site has been contaminated. Photo: AP

“In terms of the area itself there are a number of checkpoints. Even to get here from Donetsk itself you have to go through six or seven checkpoints.”

Warwick’s arrival at the scene came in the first few hours before there was any security presence, and he believes he saw strong evidence that looting was already well underway.

“I noticed that I hadn’t come across a single wallet with money, or a mobile phone or a camera. They’ve all mysteriously gone missing.”

A pro-Russian separatist holds up a stuffed toy found at the crash site mh17 image www.crimefiles.net

A pro-Russian separatist holds up a stuffed toy found at the crash site

Among the shocks for Warwick was the almost complete lack of official presence or signs of investigation, noting: “The place hadn’t yet been roped off.”

When he arrived he said villagers, locals and journalists were walking around stepping on wings and over the wreckage.

Speaking with Fairfax Media more than 24 hours after a surface-to-air-missile struck flight MH17, he noted the absence of organised disaster recovery procedures, such as a “grid”.

“The grid is to make sure you have nothing left uncovered. You would use a grid to make marks of the location and you would also mark the various pieces of evidence on the ground,” he said.

“So a body would be marked in a particular colour, personal items given a particular colour and plane parts a particular colour. This is standard procedure for any crime scene and this is missing as we speak.”

Dr Geoff Dell, an air crash investigation expert from Central Queensland University, also emphasised the importance of proper investigation protocols such as the setting up of a grid when he spoke with Fairfax Media.

Men search a field in eastern Ukraine for victims of flight MH17 image www.crimefiles.net

Men search a field in eastern Ukraine for victims of flight MH17.

Warwick said he believed the absence of such protocols suggested that those on the ground lacked “the know-how” in dealing with such circumstances.

He reported that a group of 10 separatist soldiers were situated slightly off from the crash site, but “they weren’t interacting with anyone and there wasn’t anyone interacting with them.

“The only people you could talk to are the emergency services, who are looking for bodies and they won’t comment,” he said.

Local miners, firemen, fathers and sons have all been seen in the crash area, where bodies are being marked by sticks with white ribbons.

The bodies are reportedly “starting to decompose in the fields”, yet Warwick said there was no indication as to when a recovery operation for the victims would take place.

MH17 tragedy: Chaos at crash scene amid reports of looting

Reports of looting are now emerging from the crash site of MH17 as bodies remain strewn across the area more than 24 hours after the disaster.

Adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs, Anton Gerashchenko has reported that “terrorists” have begun collecting valuables belonging to the victims of the tragedy.

“Death-hunters collecting Were not Only Cash money and Jewelry of the crashed Boing passengers died but Also the credit cards of the Victims [sic],” he wrote on his Facebook page.

MH17: ‘justice’ demands thorough investigation

Crash investigators face almost unsurmountable challenges, but for the sake of the 298 victims, they must try, says retired US transport investigator Hank Hughes.

Pro-Russian separatists look at passengers’ belongings at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Michael Bociurkiw, spokesman for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s special monitoring mission for Ukraine, told ABC News Radio that bodies at the crash site were already “starting to decompose in the fields”.

”It is astonishing to go there and this scene with no recovery going on,” Mr Bociukiw said.

CRASH SCENE MH14 SHOT DOWM IMAGES www.crimefiles (1)

He said there there appeared to be no tampering with bodies at the site except markers were being placed near to them or to body parts. He said debris seemed to still be in place. He said the crash site could be up to six kilometres wide.

”It is a very, very gruesome scene and it boggles the mind that this could go on, we are going into day two or three now,” Mr Bociukiw said.

He said it was disturbing to find no credible leader in the separatist-held area to establish the facts at the site.

The reports come alongside those of a chaotic investigation being conducted among the wheat fields at the crash site.

There have been reports of looting and gunfire at the site of the wreckage. Questions remained about how many bodies were there and the location of the black box. Mr Bociukiw’s delegation needed to find out whether it was safe enough for international experts to begin their investigation into the disaster. He said many of the separatists appeared ”very aggressive”, under the influence of alcohol and possibly drugs.

”It is kind of the world’s biggest crime scene right now,” Mr Bociurkiw said.

CRASH SCENE MH14 SHOT DOWM IMAGES www.crimefiles (2)

He said his team had been in touch with Malaysian senior officials whose prime concern was that the bodies were treated in a human way.

”One immediate requirement would be refrigerated trailers – anything where these bodies could be moved – so they don’t continue to lie there, exposed to the elements,” Mr Bociurkiw said.

He said, 25 workers from the OSCE had access to the crash site for just 75 minutes before they were forced to leave. He said a gun shot was fired into the air as they left.

OSCE council chairman, Thomas Greminger told Reuters that workers assessing the scene “did not have the kind of access that they expected. They did not have the freedom of movement that they need to do their job. The crash site is not sealed off”.

Denjen Doroschenko, an Australian journalist working in Ukraine told Fairfax Media in a radio interview that separatist organisations on the ground were “clueless about how to control a disaster area at all”.

Dr Geoff Dell, an air crash investigation expert from Central Queensland University, said in any crash investigation it is critical that all on site know what they are doing.

“The longer it stays unexamined the more likely it gets contaminated, especially when there is people that aren’t really familiar with accident scenes, stomping all over it,” he said.

“The longer that goes on the more likely something you’re looking for is either destroyed, or stolen.”

He referred to Lauda Air Flight 004 which crashed in Thailand in 1991, in which a critical component was never found due to looting.

“Overnight a large percentage of the wreckage was pilfered. Pieces of the airplane that you couldn’t for the life of you think someone would want to steal, were taken,” he said.

Dr Dell said it was crucial that proper protocols were followed, such as protecting the perimeter to keep people out and setting up a grid.

“You draw up a grid so you can set up the relationship with the wreckage and identify exactly where each critical piece of evidence came from,” he said.

Armed guards are reportedly guarding the crash site near Torez, in a remote eastern area of Ukraine, where it is said the typical investigation grid is absent.

Dr Dell said bodies that are still at the scene pose a different risk, as the risk of infection and disease to investigators on the crash scene increases.

“It’s inevitable some contamination will take place during the rescue of removal of the bodies,” he said.

“In other parts of the world there is less awareness of that, and I wouldn’t be surprised given what we’ve seen, if the crash site hasn’t already been substantially altered by the actions of the people in the first response.”

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