A newly released map is believed to mark the spot where Nazi soldiers hid a treasure chest of gold and jewels potentially worth millions of dollars. The World War II document was recently released to the public by the National Archives of the Netherlands as part of their annual Open Access Day.
The map suggests that the treasure is buried in the ground at a location near the small Dutch village of Ommeren. The loot is believed to consist of four large boxes filled with diamonds, rubies, gold, silver and jewelery stolen by Nazi soldiers during an explosion at a bank in the nearby town of Arnhem around August 1944.
In April 1945, Allied forces were close to liberating Arnhem, so the soldiers allegedly frantically buried the spoils near the Ommeren. The Dutch state even brought a former Nazi soldier back to the Netherlands after the war in an attempt to uncover the stolen items, but they were never found.
“It is worth several millions,” Annet Waalkens of the National Archives told Omroep Gelderland.
– It naturally stimulates the imagination, added historian Joost Rosendaal. “It almost never happens. That there is such a specific map is special.”
Although it is not certain that the valuable items are still there, amateur treasure hunters wasted no time trying to find the loot with dozens of people reportedly flocking to the area.
The situation became so overwhelming for the village that Buren Municipality issued a statement to explain that people are not allowed to dig for treasure with metal detectors without their permission. Furthermore, all archaeological finds must be declared, so that people are not allowed to take the treasure for themselves.
Gold, jewels and artwork captured by the Nazis hidden in a salt mine under Merkers, Germany. Image credit: Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com
The Netherlands was one of the many countries in Europe that fell under German occupation during World War II. As part of the misery inflicted on these territories, the Nazis maintained a policy of looting the wealth of their victims to help finance the war effort. Gold, silver and currency were often looted, but they were also known to steal objects of cultural significance, such as art, pottery, books and religious treasures.
So-called “Nazi gold” has attracted great interest since the Second World War, not least because some of the stolen items remain undiscovered. One of the most mysterious stories talks about a Nazi gold train, or Wałbrzych gold train, which was hidden in a tunnel somewhere in Poland during the dying days of World War II. This armored train carriage is said to be loaded with gold and other valuable relics.
In recent years, interest in the Nazi gold train was rekindled when ground-penetrating radar revealed a promising find near Walbrzych in southwestern Poland. Although excavations were carried out, they ultimately found nothing. Many still hold out hope that the train car will one day be uncovered, but others are beginning to believe that the story is nothing more than war rumors and urban folklore.