Gold, Amber, Artwork and Military Paraphernalia: The Continuous Crusade for Lost Nazi Treasures
During World War II Poland and other parts of Central Europe were damaged, and many museums and precious collections were destroyed. Now, explorers are trying to find the places where gold, pieces of art, small planes, military cars, guns, and other artifacts were hidden in 1945.
Apart from millions of murdered people, thousands of looted places, and hundreds of ruined cities, World War II also brought a number of stories about hidden treasures. Although most of them are untrue, there are several tales which are real.
Legends about hidden treasures, paintings, gold, and military goods transformed many people into treasure hunters. Nowadays, in Poland there are possible archaeological sites that are damaged by amateur treasure hunters who commit illegal excavations while trying to find items left or lost by Nazis many decades ago. No matter how fascinating the stories about the lost treasures are, the reality is often sadder than most people expect.
Where is the Lost Amber Room?
The story of the amber room is one of the most famous tales about Nazi treasure. It has led many professional and amateur researchers onto adventures. The Amber Room was created in the 18th century in Prussia. It originally contained 450kg (992.08lb) of amber decorated with gold, pieces of art, jewels, and mirrors. It was located in St Petersburg from the times of Peter the Great, until the day when the Nazis dismantled it and decided to transport it to Königsberg Castle (Kaliningrad) (which was controlled by them at the time).
Königsberg Castle, 1925 (Public Domain)
It was during this transport that it apparently disappeared by accident. Strangely enough, the documentation connected with the transport was lost too.
Recently, researchers tried to find it in a place called Mamerki (in German: Mauerwald) where an unknown room measuring 3 meters (9.84 ft.) long and 2 meters (6.56 ft.) wide was discovered. Using geo-radar, the team said that they found a secret place located inside an old wartime bunker. However, when they explored that space, they didn't find anything. The outcome of their exploration created questions about the geo-radar results.
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Although many teams of researchers have tried to find the Amber Room, currently it seems that there are three main possibilities for its fate. First of all, it could have been destroyed during the bombing of one of the cities. Secondly, it could have been lost under the waters of the Baltic Sea while being transported by ship or submarine. Finally, it's possible that the Amber Room is in the private hands of a person who secretly enjoys its beauty.
Hand-colored photograph of the original Amber Room, 1931. (Public Domain)
The Treasures of Książ and Other Polish Cities
The castle of Książ is one of the pearls of the Silesia region in Poland. In this area there are more stories about hidden chests, trains, and chambers where Nazis could have hidden treasures than places for them to actually have done it. Essentially, every city which belonged to the Germans in the past has stories related to lost goods.
Książ Castle. (CC BY-SA 3.0 pl)
One of the most interesting stories is related to the precious treasures of Daisy of Pless and her possible lover Emperor Wilhelm II. However, it's only a legend. The possessions were stolen by the Russian army, and any that survived are currently exhibited in a museum.
Memorial to Daisy in Pszczyna, Poland. (Public Domain)
It is known that some of the ''lost treasures'' described in popular publications had never really been lost. For example, there are stories of Jewish treasures in the city of Danzig (Gdańsk). A few decades ago, there was a rumor about lost treasure in the city, however, the reality is completely different.
In 1938, when things started to get difficult, the Jewish community of Danzig sold their temple and most of them left the city. A huge part of this group went to the United States of America, where they settled the New York area.
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- The Disappearance of the Amber Room of Charlottenburg Palace
Nowadays, there is a small exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York dedicated to the Jews from modern Gdańsk. The artifacts come from families who took all of their treasures to their new home. This situation was rather rare, but still important to describe as it speaks of the lost treasures of World War II.
A Gold Train and Other Secrets
In 2015, two treasure hunters announced that they are going to unearth a lost train full of treasures hidden by Nazis in 1945. According to eyewitness’ memoirs, many treasures are hidden in the Owl Mountains of southeastern Poland. One of the most impressive could be a train full of items which the Nazis wanted to take to their country. However, it was impossible for them to follow through with the plan due to an unexpected need to leave the territory of current Poland, including Silesia, which had belonged to the Germans for quite some time.
A view of the Owl Mountains. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
While those researchers dream about the golden train another team is looking for a huge, hidden underground storage with German cars, trucks, and planes in Kamienna Góra, near Wrocław. Researchers believe that they will find it in one of more than ten places which they are going to explore in Silesia.
They claimed to know a family member of a man who saw this place and even suggested where it was located. However, it seems that after many decades the old man had forgotten certain pieces of information. Thus, the explorers need to prepare several surface surveys and drill in the ground to make, what they hope will be, one of the greatest discoveries of the century.
How to Find a Treasure?
Many mysterious treasures were ''discovered'' in private houses, palaces, etc. But several of the pieces of art the Polish government are looking for are already lost for different reasons, including fire or floods, which could have destroyed them forever. Currently, many people make amateur explorations and loot graves or battlefields. Therefore, professional teams must fight with time and try to enter every precious place as soon as possible, to prevent more losses.
Top image: Nazi Treasure. Source: (journalistsstreet.blogspot.my)
Szymon Wrzesiński, Krzysztof Urban, Skarby III Rzeszy ukryte na Dolnym Śląsku, 2014.
Jerzy Rostkowski, Zamek Książ. Zapomniana tajemnica, 2004.
Kamienna Góra: Ciężarówki z II wojny światowej wciąż poszukiwane by Alina Gierak, available at:
A frenzy in Poland over the latest mysterious ‘Nazi gold train’ by Sarah Kaplan, available at: