Recent weeks have flung the sleepy Bavarian town Mittenwald in a flurry of diggings – scenes that bring into mind George Lucas’ films Indiana Jones.
The man behind the diggings, Dutch filmmaker, 51-year-old Leon Giesen believes he has decoded the message written by Martin Bormann, Hitler’s secretary, marked in composer Gottfried Federlein’s Marsch-Impromptu and these markings point the site where the Nazis hid their treasures – gold bars and possibly diamonds – that is in Mittenwald.
This theory was first pushed by Dutch journalist Karl Hammer Kaatee the previous year when he published scans of the years-old sheet music which Bormann purportedly marked-up. Kaatee saw handwritten scribbles on the musical score along with a number of mysterious annotations. Kaatee holds the belief that in the ebbing days of the Second World War, Bormann used the said musical account to reveal the hiding place of the Nazi’s buried wealth which included at least a hundred gold bars and the Third Reich dictator’s diamond collection known as the Tears of the Wolf. Kaatee further argued that the Fuhrer had meant the document with the hidden message to reach Franz Xaver Schwarz, the Nazi party’s accountant, who was in Munich that time. However, Schwarz got arrested.
Nazi’s Treasures: True or Hoax?
The Nazis having a hidden chest of treasures has long gripped the public. And Bavaria, being a former stronghold of Hitler’s party, gives rich grounds for those practicing their treasure-hunting skills.
It was in 1944 with the Allied Forces going stronger and advancing threateningly, it was in the country that one of Nazi Germany’s most powerful men, Heinrich Himmler, planned to build an Alpine Fortress which would serve as the party’s last stand until the end.
Additionally, Wehrmacht armed forces and officials of the Reichsbank approved a plan to store part of German Reichsbank’s reserve in Einsiedl, a small town located in the southwestern shore of lake Walchen in 1945. These assets, though, were surrendered over to the Allies when WWII ended; all except around 100 gold bars, some sacks of dollars and Swiss francs. These, and possibly more treasure stockpiles, went missing.
The location to these hidden treasures were accordingly scribbled by Hitler’ secretary, that is Bormann, in Federlein’s score as a secret code.
Kaatee had these musical sheets with him for years but after being stumped in his attmepts to crack the code, he finally had them go public last December. There is no proof, however, that the scores are genuine. But somewhat magically, it has gotten the attention of many.
“It’s like a treasure map that can’t be deciphered,” says Jürgen Proske, a local historian from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and a hobby archeologist who has located Wehrmacht paraphernalia and a wine cellar from 1940 in the mountains around Mittenwald and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
On to Mittenwald
Leon Giesen, who works separately from Kaatee, had already done three excavations within Mittenwald using Bormann’s annotations as guide.
According to his interpretation, Bormann’s handwritten phrase “Wo Matthias die Saiten Streichelt” (“where Matthew plucks strings”) is in fact a reference to one of the town’s most famous residents, Matthias Klotz.
Another phrase, “Enden der Tanz” (“end the dance”), is according to him an allusion to one of Mittenwald railway’s buffer stops. he even believes that somewhere in the music sheet is “a concealed diagram of the city’s train tracks”.
Giesen’s Mittenwald drilling proved to be fruitful as these were able to unearth unidentified metals in bulk.
“Geologists call it an anomaly, a substance that doesn’t belong there,” says Giesen.
he hopes to find a company that specializes in excavations and deals with explosives to continue the drills and has also started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to pay for the costs which is estimated to be within 25,000 pounds. he also plans to make a documentary out of the project.
Local historian Jürgen Proske doubts the finds, though. “It could be a treasure chest,” he says. “But it could just be a manhole cover.”
Mittenwald residents have also reacted to the diggings that had recently happened in heir peaceful town.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” says one. “I can’t wait to see what they find down there,” says another.
-Article based from features that appeared in The Guardian and Spiegel Online International