Treasure hunters on Nazi Amber Room search

Treasure hunters in Germany believe they have found the hiding place of the lost Amber Room, which was looted by the Nazis from the Soviet Union during World War Two.

The treasure hunters are a group of local old-age pensioners, who have become enthralled with the prospect of locating and finding the Amber Room.

They believe it is located under the town of Wuppertal near Düsseldorf and have been granted permission to dig in certain places around the town to see if they can find the hidden Nazi treasure.

During the war, the Nazis looted and confiscated hundreds and thousands of valuable works of art and historical monuments. It was Hitler’s grand plan to have one dedicated complex of museums in Berlin, which would house the historical artifacts from around the German empire.

History dictated that this never came to fruition and towards the end of the war, the Nazis destroyed or hid the loot that was in their possession, so that the Allies or Soviet Union could not retrieve it.

While many paintings and artifacts were recovered, the Amber Room remains one of the greatest lost treasures that have never been found. Estimates suggest it could be worth up to $380-million.

The Amber Room was originally given to Peter the Great as a gift from the King of Prussia in 1716 and was installed at the Catherine Palace in St Petersburg. It was a chamber made of amber panels and decorated with gold leaf and mirrors, the Mail Online reports.

When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, they looted and stole many of the country’s royal historical artifacts. Records show that they disassembled the panelled Amber Room, boxed it up into 27 crates and sent it back to the then German city of Koenigsberg (which is now Kaliningrad in Russia). It is believed the room was stored in the city’s castle and could have been destroyed in heavy fighting between the Soviet Union and Nazis.

Others believe that the panels were taken by the Nazis to an Alpine lake and dumped there, never to be found again. But the group of pensioners believe it is hidden underneath Wuppertal’s streets. Wuppertal in North West Germany was a key location for the Nazis and has many underground tunnels, bunkers and rooms that were dug out during the war.

The group says that they have evidence that the panels were removed to Wuppertal in 1945, as the war was coming to an end.

Many attempts to find the Amber Room have taken place, but without success.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE