The box, which was found about 3 meters underground, is said to be 1.5 meters long and 50 cm in diameter. The discovery was made using a geo-radar scan of an abandoned conservatory in an 18th century palace in the village of Minkowskie in southern Poland.
Excavations, which began in May last year at the palace, which served as a brothel for Hitler’s SS, are expected to unearth 10 tonnes of gold along with other valuables. The treasure was stolen towards the end of World War II, on the orders of SS officer Heinrich Himmler to establish the Fourth Reich. The hoard is believed to contain the “Breslau Gold” lost in Wrocław, Poland. Breslau, then a German city, was one of the richest in Hitler’s Third Reich.
THEY MISSED THE LOOT OF THE RED ARMY
But the imminent arrival of the Red Army meant that the Germans had to hide tons of gold and valuables. According to legend, the treasure was collected from the building of the police station and piled up in chests. He was then transported from Breslau, under the watch of an SS guard, to present-day Jelenia Góra in Poland, and then to the Sudeten Mountains. However, he lost sight of himself shortly after his departure and the fate of this gold has been unknown since then.
The treasury is also believed to contain jewelry and valuables from the private collections of wealthy Germans living in the area, who turned over their possessions to the SS to prevent looting by the advancing Red Army. Roman Furmaniak of the Silesian Bridge Foundation, who led the search, said geo-radar readings from the latest search had revealed “anomalies”, adding: “The first exercise we did showed some unnatural twists and turns. We did a second probe and got the same result. “The probe struck an object. The shapes and colors show anomalies, i.e. human interference with the ground. The metal has a different density than the earth, which appears as a darker color in the scans.”
LETTER FROM THE TREASURY FROM A NAZI OFFICER
The location of the treasure was revealed by classified documents, an SS officer’s diary and a map that treasure hunters obtained from the descendants of officers belonging to a secret lodge 1000 years ago. Among the documents is a letter written by a senior SS officer to one of the women who worked at the palace and who later became his girlfriend. The officer wrote in his letter: “My dear Inge, by the grace of God, I will fulfill my duty. Some transfers have been successful. Here I entrust the remaining 48 Reichsbank heavy safes and all family safes. Only you know where they are. God help me, help me and accomplish my mission.”
The newspaper explains that the treasury contains 47 works of art of international importance which were allegedly stolen from collections in France. The loot apparently includes works by Botticelli, Rubens, Cézanne, Carravagio, Monet, Dürer, Rafael and Rembrandt. Other valuables are said to include gold coins, medals, jewelry, which were given to the local Nazi police by wealthy people in the city for safekeeping.
The Silesian Bridge Foundation is now awaiting permission to bring the box to the surface. Army permission is also required, as the foundation claims the hideout may have been booby-trapped by SS officers. Another treasure in the palace is believed to have been collected by Himmler, who collected relics from around the world to find evidence for Hitler’s racial theories. Minkowskie Palace is the first of 11 sites in Lower Silesia identified in the penciled pages of the diary kept by the Foundation, which leased the building for 10 years. “We are preparing to start excavations at 10 other sites where we hope to find more. We are described everywhere as treasure hunters, but we don’t want anything for ourselves,” Furmaniak said last year. The purpose of the Quedlinburg Lodge, and therefore of the foundation, is to return this treasure to its beneficiaries in the name of world heritage and as an atonement for the Second World War.