May 10, 2011
Historians believe that at the end of World War II, the Third Reich managed to hide considerable gold stores before succumbing to the Allied invasion. Some of these gold stores were discovered shortly after the war ended, but others may still lay undiscovered, as though some sort of Nazi-pirate treasure.
Nazi archives show that battalions of Organisation Todt - the Third Reich’s main labour organisation - were shipped into the Leinawald in 1944 on the orders of Hitler’s armaments minister Albert Speer.
According to the working theory, the Germans buried what today amounts to $800 million in gold in an underground complex, marking it with sand workings in the shape of a human skull1. Aerial photography and historical accounts confirm the general location of the gold stash, which remains hidden despite earlier attempts by treasure-seekers and the German government to find it.
There are a couple questions we have with the scenario, however. One, why did Albert Speer not mention any of this in his memoirs, particularly after coming to realize the details of the Holocaust and the likely source of some of that gold? And two, why would the German government seek out the gold in 1961, knowing that if it was found, the government would likely have to give it up anyway? If there were individuals alive at the end of the war who were aware of this cache, why wouldn’t they have invested considerable time by now to discover the lode and pilfer the riches?
The tale is a good one, and though there are probably several instances of hidden Nazi stashes still left to be discovered, stashes of this size are likely the stuff of legend rather than fact. We’ll know for sure in a month or so.
As far fetched as that sounds, its hardly the most ridiculous thing to come out of Hitler’s empire. The skull was a common symbol used by the Third Reich, particularly by the Waffen-SS. ↩