Skip to comments.Hitlerís Gold: Uncovering the Biggest Bank Heist in History
Posted on 10/09/2009 7:24:03 AM PDT by BGHater
Image: via Food Court Lunch
Among the chaos of the collapse of Hitlers empire in April 1945 the biggest heist in history took place. Gold bars, jewels and stolen foreign currency with an estimated worth of $3.34 billion vanished from the Reichsbank vaults, in Germany.
Reichsbank, Berlin 1933
Image: German Federal Archive
In the ensuing decades small quantities of this bounty have turned up in Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey, Spain and Sweden but the majority remains missing. Across the world search teams look for this missing treasure and the supreme prize of the legendary Amber Room, an acquisition from St. Petersburg during WWII, believed to be a room entirely cast in gold and amber. After 60 years the bulk of this bounty still hasnt turned up, so just where is Hitlers missing gold?
Image: National Archives
One of the most popular beliefs behind the whereabouts of Hitlers missing gold is that its buried in Deutschneudorf, Germany and that the famed Amber Room is hidden among the dilapidated copper mines in the area. As the allies approached Berlin and it became clear that Germany was not going to win the war, myth has it that Hitler ordered Operation Sunset, where trusted Nazi officials hid huge quantities of gold, art and other assorted treasures in the caves surrounding the Deutchschneudorf area.
Replica Amber Room
Images: via Wikimedia Commons
The hope was that this booty would be used to fund the rebuilding of the German army after the war. Despite worldwide media attention in February 2008, where the leading German treasure hunter on the scene was 90% certain that they had located the Amber Room and up to two tones of the missing gold little has surfaced. So, before heading to Deutschneudorf with your pick axe make sure that you will be happy with the possibility of finding only copper.
Images: Home Planet
The serene and beautiful Lake Toplitz in the Austrian Alps is thought to be another possible location for the missing Nazi gold, and since 1947 to the present day explorers have searched its depths for the riches of the Reich. Lake Topiltz has long been considered the possible dumping site of the fortune because the senior German officers retreated to this area as the allies swiftly moved through Germany. As US forces quickly approached its thought that German officers transported large boxes, by truck and horse drawn carriage to the edge of the lake and sunk them into the 107 meter (350 ft) deep lake.
The problem is that to this day no one knows what was in those boxes. The seniority of German officers involved and locale to Hitlers Eagles Nest have led many to believe that this is the dumping site of the famed Nazi gold. However, despite years of searching, the only thing that was discovered was through a search by German magazine Stern, who found £72m in forged sterling currency, part of Hitlers master plan to weaken the British economy. It is believed that the treasure could still be secreted away in the depths of Lake Topiltz but because the lake bottom is full of a thick crust of logs its believed that discovering anything would be very difficult.
Images: Bleach Report and The Olive Press
In 1993, Trenton Parker, a veteran CIA operative, claimed on Radio Free America, that he knew what happened to Hitlers lost hoard of gold. Parker claims that the gold was shipped to Generalissimo Franco because it was a major access and exit point for Germany. According to Parker, the gold had been shipped to Spain years earlier and was kept under the watchful eye of Franco until his death, when the close of the Suez Canal and other factors became bargaining chips for power brokers trading this gold.
Parker claims Hitlers gold was turned into counterfeit Krugerrands and sold throughout the United States of America. Then again, Trenton Parkers reputation as the gasoline to the conspiracy theorist fire precedes itself and he seems to know every secret concerning major world events over the past 50 years, including the CIA assignation of JFK. If the widely questioned Parker is in fact correct your gold ring or necklace may just be that lost Nazi gold.
Images: Barry Parker and NASA
The belief that the gold could be in the Auckland Islands is more hearsay and myth, than fact. Apparently, a single Nazi U-Boat containing large boxes of gold, jewelry and silver arrived on the Auckland Islands in 1945. It is believed the gold was buried on the Islands rather than sunk, as was the alleged command, but the fact that nothing has turned up to validate this as a rational theory suggests it is more legend than truth. Also, the only rationale behind the belief that the gold is in fact dispersed among the Auckland Islands is that lookout towers in the area were once used by Nazi soldiers. So, if youre a current islander, dont get your hopes up of finding vast riches any time soon!
While its common knowledge that huge amounts of Nazi commandeered assets, especially gold, passed through Swiss banks during WWII, it is reported up to $409 million in gold was purchased by Swiss banks during Hitlers control over Germany. However, the Swiss are not the only country accused of receiving Nazi gold during the war. Among the countries to have allegedly received Nazi funds are: Sweden, Portugal, and even the Vatican. Although, one country after another has reluctantly opened its accounts, it is unclear how much gold is in question and where it could be.
The Vatican has refused to open its accounts to the public, and a class action suit by Holocaust survivors, originally brought in 2000 and dismissed in 2007 on the basis of sovereign immunity, has conspiracy writers tongues wagging.
Images: HEART and Mental Floss
The fact remains, Hitlers missing money could not have vanished into thin air, and while the conspiracy theories are abundant the fact that no one has located $3.34 billion in missing booty suggests that whoever knows of its whereabouts and there must be someone who knows isnt talking.
Despite all the conspiracy theories surrounding the story, the demise of Hitlers fortunes is probably less convoluted than many would have you believe. While Hitlers troops may have been given orders to bury the bounty in mines or drop it in lakes, entrepreneurial Nazi officers who realized the war was beyond recovery may have simply spread it among their troops and themselves. Just as likely, or unlikely, a group of allied soldiers could have come across the stash and thought it was their lucky day. However, there is no substantial evidence to back either of these claims up. What we do know is that $3.34 billion worth of treasure doesnt simply vanish.
Biggest? Not after last year.
An amber mosaic from the Amber Room was located and returned to St. Pete a few years ago. Some Wehrmacht guy had waited 50 years to try to sell it; he advertised it and the authorities pounced on it. He had apparently found it in East Prussia during the German retreat in 1945, knew what it was and decided it was finally safe to sell it. No one has any idea where the rest of the Amber Room went.
There is another option this author did not mention. I have read that this gold was transported to Argentina and given to Juan Peron in return for providing samctuary for various and sundry Nazi war criminals. He used it to purchase the British-owned railroads, his jumping-off spot for massive government involvement in the private sector economy.
exactly what I was thinking, Clint Eastwood has it in his wine cellar.
There may be a lesson buried in this story. What may be hidden is the fact that Germany was broke and did not have much gold left by the end of the war. Germany racked up huge obligations and then cranked up the printing presses to cover the debt. If they had had gold they would have used it to continue the war effort. We know the end of that story, hyperinflation. So rather than admit it was looted by German officials (also known as government spending) just tell everyone it was stolen, the bankers did it, the soldiers did it, our enemies took it...sound familiar?
I am very disappointed that it took 5 posts for Kelly’s Heroes to come up. Great Movie!
To this list of theories should be added one more: that the gold was recovered by the US Army but then stolen by various officers, many of them high-ranking.
The Federal Reserve Act was the biggest bank heist in history. :)
So that was a documentary?
Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo · Google ·
· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.