Unsolved Mysteries from WWII: From Anne Frank To Missing Gold Trains

The "gold train" is supposedly hidden underground, on August 28, 2015 in Walbrzych, Poland. Poland's deputy culture minister on Friday said he was 99 percent sure of its existence. (Photo Credit: Janek Skarzynski / AFP via Getty Images)

We all love a mystery, and the Second World War provided plenty. The sheer scale of the war and scorched earth tactics involved meant many people went missing, and many advanced technologies were created that were also lost to time. Answers to these questions died with the only ones who knew them, and solving these mysteries has been one of the most pursued avenues of research since the war.

Here are some of the most interesting unsolved mysteries from WWII.

Who Turned in Anne Frank?

Anne Frank
Anne Frank (1929 – 1945, she died at the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen). (Photo by: Photo 12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Anne Frank was one of the millions of victims of the Holocaust. But this young girl posthumously rose to fame after her diary, which detailed her life and her experiences of hiding from the Nazis, was published. Her diary has made her one of the most well-known historical figures, and as a result, every moment of her life has been studied in great depth. However, one question remains: who revealed her and her family’s location?

A number of different theories have been presented that supposedly answer the question, but no solid evidence has been provided so far.

Foo fighters

Foo Fighters WWII
The 1940s: Three world war II US Navy Dive Bombers flying in formation. (Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images)

Unidentified flying objects are a favorite among those interested in mysteries, and WWII was host to many weird aerial sightings.

Strange objects were encountered in the skies many times by pilots during WWII. These objects came in different sizes, shapes, and colors, and even behaved differently, but were collectively known as “foo fighters.” To begin with, military officials believed these sightings to be the result of combat fatigue, tiredness, or atmospheric phenomena, but after reports kept coming in an official investigation was launched to try and figure out what they were.

There were fears that these objects were a secret enemy technology, but their seemingly friendly nature made this explanation unlikely. Investigations were unable to find any answers, and the mystery of the foo fighters remains unsolved today.

We’re not saying it’s aliens, but…

Hitler’s globe

Hitler Globe
Hitler’s Globe photographed by a Soviet cameraman visiting the Reich Chancellery, 1945 (Wikipedia / Public Domain)

Hitler was known to like large things; just look at the tanks he approved of during the later years of the war. However, none of these are surrounded by mystery like the Fuhrer’s giant globe. This globe was built specifically for Hitler by a Berlin-based company in the 1930s. This giant ball (not the one in the Albert Hall) remained in Hitler’s office for most of its life and came to symbolize Hitler’s despotic ambitions, but after the war, the location of the globe has been a mystery.

A few similar globes were built around the same time, while more have come up for sale over the decades, but none have been confirmed to be Hitler’s personal one. It may have been destroyed in the chaos of WWII’s final days or looted by a soldier who has kept it hidden ever since.

As a side note, historian Wolfram Wolfram Pobanz suggests that Hitler was not a fan of the globe, as he is never seen in a photo with it.

List of names at Auschwitz

List of names at Auschwitz
Entrance gate with the inscription Arbeit macht frei (Work makes you free), Auschwitz concentration camp (Unesco World Heritage List, 1979), Poland.

In 2009 a historian discovered a list of 17 names at the Auschwitz concentration camp while conducting routine preservation works at the site. All of the names were British and were written on a piece of white celluloid. Eight of the names have a tick by them, so the list was certainly used to check something off, but what this was is a complete mystery.

In addition to the names, the list also contains a string of numbers and a few common German words with their English translations, like “since then”, “never” and “now.” Some explanations suggest that the names were a list of British spies or even a list of British troops who defected to the Nazis.

The allusive Nazi gold train

Gold Train
The mysterious underground Nazi city Riese where it is alleged the legendary Nazi Gold Train is hidden. (Photo by Adam Guz/Getty Images Poland/Getty Images).

Another Nazi-related mystery, the Nazi gold train is one of the greatest of all WWII mysteries.

While the exact story can vary, many believe that the Nazis loaded up a train with gold, art, treasure, and other valuables when all hopes of winning the war had vanished. This train was then hidden, likely in a sealed-off tunnel, and has never been found. If true, the haul on board could be worth tens of millions on its own, before accounting for the incredible history attached to it.

Although the story has essentially become an urban legend, it has been taken seriously by many authorities since 1945. The Polish military hunted for the train after the war, but the search was unsuccessful.

No evidence has been found to suggest the train ever existed, but a few years ago the hunt was reignited by two Polish men who claimed to have received a deathbed confession for the train’s whereabouts. Once again, no Nazi gold train was found.

As there will likely never be anyway to confirm the train didn’t exist, this captivating mystery will continue on.