Tip-off from mystery man on bike leads explorers to hidden weapons stash
History hunters have found a haul of weapons from World War II after a tip-off from a mystery man on a bike.
The haul of 12 weapons was found in woods outside the town of Rzepin, in western Poland, near the border with Germany, by members of the Perkun Exploration Association, which focuses on the search for historical secrets and treasures.
The story began four years ago when members of the Association were out exploring and got chatting to a man on a bike who expressed interest in their equipment.
Paweł Piątkiewicz from the Association told regional newspaper Gazeta Lubuska: “It quickly turned out that the man on the bicycle had very interesting information to convey.
“At the end of the conversation, he said that his grandfather had shown him a place in the woods where he buried a deposit of firearms in the 1950s.”
The group travelled to the site, where the man showed them an area covering around 100 metres.
Despite the unexpected tip-off from the stranger, it took another four years before Piątkiewicz and his team could obtain the necessary permissions to start searching for the weapons using metal detectors.
Working with an archeologist, last week they eventually discovered the stash, which included nine German Mauser rifles, a German MP-40 submachine gun, a Soviet submachine gun and a rare French Lebel R35 rifle.
Little is known about the circumstances in which the weapons were buried, the stranger on the bike lacked information himself and his grandfather is no longer alive.
Piątkiewicz has linked the hidden weapons to Poland’s history after 1945, when this area became part of the country and Polish settlers moved there.
“We can only assume that the settlers who arrived here shortly after the end of World War II might have felt a threat in new, unknown territories. Times were very turbulent,” he said.
Later, the more stable situation and the threat of punishment for the illegal possession of weapons may have led the person with the weapons to bury them in the forest, he suggested.
The weapons will undergo renovation at the museum at the Kostrzyn nad Odrą Fortress, where they will be put on display.