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Treasure chest
Treasure chest


Hunting for lost diamonds

Great treasures were looted during World War II. ROE KALB reports that many people still search today for the hidden and lost treasures looted by the Nazi’s. 

Before World War II, Germany was a known trading zone in Europe, taking a big part in the European jewellery trading. During the war, German Nazis looted gold, diamond, art and treasures from the territories they occupied and the people they victimized, later to be looted themselves by Russians at the end of war.

In the last months of the war, some of the Third Reich's secret archives were hurriedly transported from Berlin to the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia, Moravia, Southern Germany and Austria. 

In April, 1945, the chief cashier of the main branch of Berlin’s Reichsbank (back then it was the central bank), Georg Netzeband, was entrusted with 164 jute sacks containing 730 bars of gold.

He was to take the treasure to an abandoned potash mine near the town of Merkers in Thuringia, central Germany, where it was assumed that the treasures would be safer than in Berlin. 

In addition, diamonds, gems and jewelry were added to the shipment. The amount or value of the diamonds is unknown, but historians assume the diamonds were worth at least several million Euro in today's terms. 

Colonel Franz Pfeiffer, commander of the Alpine division, had been tipped-off about the gold by friends in Berlin. When Netzeband arrived in the mountains, Pfeiffer seized the valuable cargo. Among the diamonds and jewellery were special pieces with fancy shapes, and which were thought to be quite large. 

Under the cover of darkness Pfeiffer dispatched a mule train to an isolated forester’s house at Einsiedl, high above Lake Walchen near the Austrian border, but it was not long before he realized that too many people knew about the hiding place. Villagers had spotted the trucks and the mules.  

The gold ingots were too bulky and heavy to be carried further through the mountains so they were left in place, while the rest of the treasure such as cash money in US currencies, was speared among the soldiers. 

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Austrian authorities are now considering a 99-year ban on a search for Nazi treasure at the bottom of a lake in a bid to protect wildlife. The ban will include diving expeditions at the Toplitz Lake where treasure seekers have tried for decades to find Nazi treasure. 

Over the years, many treasure hunters and divers searched the lake looking for the dumped diamond and gold as Allied forces swept through Europe at the end of World War Two. 

Josef Muzik, a Czech treasure hunter, spent thirteen years clearing rubble from underground tunnels and investing all his money into the effort. He says that now he's come as close as ever to uncovering the treasure he believes lies hidden near the village of Stechovice in Czech Republic. 

The story of "The Treasure of Stechovice" that was hidden by the Nazis at several locations in the valley of the Vltava River in Central Bohemia has excited treasure hunters since the end of the Second World War. 

Some believe the Nazis buried priceless war booty in specially-created tunnels near the village of Hradistko near Stechovice. It is believed to include gold, diamonds, jewellery and pieces of art, as well as secret files and scientific documents. 

Some people even believe the Nazis hid the famous "Amber Room" looted from Russia in 1941 in the tunnels. However, to-date Josef Muzik's team has found nothing.  

Roe Kalb is the editor of the Israel Diamond Institute Blog

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Tuesday, 15 October, 2019 04:59pm
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