News, WW2

Treasure Hunters Still Searching for WW2 Gold

  • German soldiers buried gold in different parts of Europe during World War Two to hide it from their enemies.
  • US troops had seized multiple German gold mines by the war’s end.
  • Even in 2023, treasure hunters are keeping on their toes and hoping to hit the jackpot. 
  • According to historians, gold worth millions may still lie in the depths of Europe.

During World War Two, the Germans relocated most of their gold and wealth to different parts of Europe. As a result, the treasure spread far and wide across the continent. The exact locations of all the loot remain a mystery.

But that has not stopped the hunters from trying. 

The Merkers Gold Mine

Since the end of World War Two, people have found some of that Nazi gold. Keyword: some. No one has been able to find the treasure to its full extent. 

The Germans grew concerned about their gold as the war gained pace. Most of the German gold was stashed at the Reichsbank in Berlin. In 1943, officials shipped gold bars to other branches in Central and Southern Germany. 

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By 1945, the Germans had dispatched large quantities of gold across the country. Then, as the war escalated, the President of Reichsbank and the Reich Minister of Economics decided to send the gold reserves to a mine at Merkers in Thuringia, Germany.

Only, the mine was not as safe as they had thought.

The US troops found gold worth $238 million after infiltrating the Merkers Salt Mine in 1945. The American forces destroyed the structure of the mine to reach the main vault. Upon finding the main vault, the troops saw over 7000 bags of glittering Nazi gold. 

The mine also contained British gold , nine bags of valuable coins, 1,300 boxes of Reichsmarks, and 20 silver bars. The American troops successfully seized the gold. It was later divided among America, France, Britain, and the Tripartite Gold Commission. 

Merkers Salt Mine
The mind boggling Nazi treasures in Merkers Salt Mine as discovered by US troops in 1945 (Photo Cpl. Donald R. Ornitz)

The Gold Train

The Nazi Gold Train is a story about a train laden with gold and invaluable treasure. Initially, the Germans had captured it from Hungarian Jews. The train contained artistic pieces of gold, and silver, owned by the Hungarians. Then, the Americans plundered the train in Austria in the aftermath of the Second World War. 

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The mystery of the gold train revolves around the fate of the booty that the Americans captured. Unfortunately, the pillagers did not return any gold to its rightful owners — estimates of the treasure range from $50 million to $120 million. 

US troops sent most of the bounty to a government warehouse in Salzburg. However, the Army Exchange Store sold and auctioned a large percentage. According to The New York Times, The US government earned $152,000 by auctioning the train’s contents. 

Gold Train
Stories abound of Nazi gold trains. Some real, some not. The hunt goes on.

The Hunt For Nazi Treasure Continues

Even today, treasure hunters are searching for Nazi artefacts all around Europe. A diary of an SS officer surfaced in 2019. The document claimed that an 18th-century palace in Poland contained 10 tons of Nazi gold worth $200 million.

The intriguing story takes place in a Polish village called Minkowskie. The suspected building was a brothel during World War Two. Some historians believe that SS chief Heinrich Himmler had ordered the burial of the gold around that area.  

The race was on. European treasure hunters started digging for gold in that area in May 2021. 

During the hunt, workers raised the alleged ‘Gold of Breslau.’ The story has it that the so-called Gold of Breslau had disappeared from police headquarters in Wroclaw, Poland. Many believe that it contained valuables and jewellery owned by rich Germans.

In August, the Polish government granted the Silesian Bridge Foundation permission to raise a buried canister containing the Gold of Breslau.

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In September 2021, some workers discovered German coins marked with swastikas.

The workers argued that the Nazis must have owned the discovery site. Nevertheless, experts have now raised doubts and gone as far as to declare the document a “complete forgery.”

According to Roman Furmaniak, the Foundation’s head, the canister matches the description depicted in the diary. “The shapes and colours show anomalies, in other words, human interference. Metal has a different density to earth, and this is shown as a darker colour in the images.” 

True or false, real or fake, the hunt for Nazi gold continues.