Thursday, 16 June 2016

Amber Room Search in Poland

After the predicted anticlimax over the non-existence of alleged Nazi Gold train, Polish treasure hunters are off on another jolly jape inspired by events in the dark days at the end of the Second World War.  Now they are looking for the Amber Room. For those who do not know the story:
The Amber Room was a gift of King Frederick Wilhelm I of Prussia to Russian Emperor Peter the Great. The room was brought to St. Petersburg in 1717 and was fitted into Russia’s Catherine Palace in the Tsarskoye Selo imperial residence. Architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli added gilded carving, mirrors and mosaic panels made of agate and jasper to the room’s interior decoration under the rule of Empress Elizabeth of Russia (born 1709-died 1761), the daughter of Emperor Peter the Great. The Amber Room remained intact for about 200 years. It was stolen by German fascists who occupied Tsarskoye Selo during WWII.
It was then shipped off to the Castle in Koenigsberg  (now in Russia’s Kaliningrad region) in 1941, and then when the Red Army advanced on the city, one story is that it was evacuated by the Germans and hidden somewhere in the Reich in 1945. One of the several places where it was believed it had been hidden was the bunker complex at what is now Mamerki in Poland. There were searches here in the 1950s-1960s because a witness claimed that the Germans had unloaded treasures there in 1945 (one of several dozen places where hearsay evidence located secret treasure hoards - very few of which prove to be in any way grounded in fact). Field engineers tried to find the alleged hidden treasure for several days, dynamiting entrances into that concrete facility, but found nothing.

Anyway more modern equipment has now been brought to bear on the legend, ground-penetrating radar - and drilling has started in the anomalies it revealed. The first hole, 3m deep, has found no empty cavities. A new borehole will be sunk next week. Tass reports on the story 'Amber Room not found in Poland so far — explorers' Tass June 15 2016.

Sadly, the actual truth seems to be that the Amber Room never left Koningsburg Castle and was destroyed in Red Army military action between 9 and 11 April 1945. Claims that the Nazis took it away would therefore be Soviet propaganda.

Vignette: President Putin in the reconstructed amber room - photo from interesting article.

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