6 Legendary Lost Treasures of World War II

6 Legendary Lost Treasures of World War II



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War has always brought chaos, and with it an opportunity for pillage and plunder. This was especially true during World War II, when countless pieces of priceless art, artifacts and other treasure were destroyed and spirited away from both Europe and the Asia Pacific. Nazis, in particular, systematically looted cultural property from museums, private homes and royal palaces, some of it to help Adolf Hitler build his proposed Führermuseum, but other armies carried away their own spoils as well.

When the war ended, tales of real and imagined lost treasures blended together, especially when it came to rumors of stolen Nazi gold. Some of the items on this list are more verifiable than others, but all of them have motivated treasure hunters to seek them out.

1. Yamashita’s Gold

WATCH: Dictator Steals Treasure

Yamashita Tomoyuki was a general in the Japanese Empire who defended Japan’s occupation of the Philippines in 1944 and 1945. According to legend, he also carried out orders from Emperor Hirohito to hide gold and treasure in tunnels in the Philippines, booby-trapped with trip mines, gas canisters and the like. The plan, apparently, was to use the treasure to rebuild Japan after the war.

Since then, there have been many claims about where the gold ended up. In a United States court case, a Filipino locksmith named Rogelio Roxas claimed he discovered some of the hidden gold in the 1970s and that Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos later sent strongmen to steal it from him. The legend has also prompted treasure hunts for “Yamashita’s gold” in the Philippines that continue to this day.

The new season of Lost Gold of World War II, which documents one such hunt, premieres Tuesday, April 28 at 10/9c on HISTORY.

2. The Amber Room

Designed in the early 18th century, the Amber Room was an ornate set of floor-to-ceiling wall panels decorated with fossilized amber, semi-precious stones and backed with gold leaf. In 1716, Prussian King Frederick William I gifted the panels, designed to cover 180 square feet, to Russian Emperor Peter the Great as a symbol of Prussia and Russia’s alliance against Sweden.

When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa in 1941, the Amber Room occupied a chamber at the Catherine Palace in the Russian town of Pushkin. Believing the room to be German art that rightfully belonged to them, the Nazis disassembled the room and shipped it to a castle museum in Königsberg, Germany (now Kaliningrad, Russia). In 1944, allied bombing destroyed the city, the castle museum and likely the Amber Room as well—but that hasn’t stopped treasure hunters from trying to locate the lost room.

3. Rommel’s Gold

One of the most mythologized types of WWII treasures is stolen Nazi gold. In 1943, during the German occupation of Tunisia, Nazis reportedly stole a large amount of gold from Jewish people on the island of Djerba. They shipped the gold to Corsica, an island between the coasts of France and Italy, but it allegedly sank on its trip from Corsica to Germany.

This rumored treasure is often known as “Rommel’s gold” after Erwin Rommel, a Nazi general who led campaigns of terror against Jewish people in in North Africa, even though Rommel probably wasn’t involved with this particular theft. In any case, the legend has motivated both real and fictional treasure hunters. In Ian Fleming’s 1963 James Bond novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service, two divers are supposedly killed while searching for “Rommel's treasure.”

READ MORE: Sunken Nazi Gold and 4 Other Never-Found Treasures

4. Peking Man Fossils

Not all lost WWII treasures are man-made. In September 1941, China sent 200 early human fossils to the U.S. to keep them safe in case Japan invaded. Yet these “Peking Man” fossils, as they were known, never arrived.

Some have speculated the fossils were destroyed, but others have hope that they’re still around. In 2012, researchers suggested they may have been buried at a former U.S. Marine base in China and covered by an asphalt parking lot. Fortunately, Chinese researchers made casts of the fossils before they disappeared, so scientists can still study them today.

5. Raphael’s 'Portrait of a Young Man'

The Nazis stole a lot of paintings during WWII, but one of the most famous and historically important ones to go missing is Portrait of a Young Man by the revered Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. The Nazis filched the painting from the Prince Czartoryski Museum in Kraków, Poland in 1939.

At first, the painting went to Hans Frank, who ran the Nazi General Government in Poland. During the war, it traveled to Berlin, Dresden and Linz before returning to Kraków, where Frank hung it in Wawel Castle. Yet when U.S. troops arrested Frank at the castle that year, the painting—along with more than 800 other artifacts—was missing. Seventy-five years later, there is still no trace of the lost masterpiece.

READ MORE: Four Works of Nazi-Looted Art Identified and Returned to Jewish Family

6. S.S. Minden

On its way from Rio de Janeiro to Germany in 1939, the Nazi ship S.S. Minden ran into a British ship off the coast of Iceland. Supposedly, the Nazis sank their own ship to avoid the British finding their cargo, which legend says was a hoard of gold. (What else?)


In 2017 and 2018, a company based in the United Kingdom attempted to locate the sunken ship and its reputed gold stash. Mapping by the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute has located the possible site of the shipwreck, but so far no one has been able to locate any treasure there.

Season 2 of Lost Gold of World War II premieres Tuesday, April 28 at 10/9c.


7 Missing Historical Treasures That May Never Be Seen Again

For all the television shows that set out to solve the world’s great mysteries, and the intrepid adventurers hunting for lost artifacts, some of the most famous treasures of history are still missing. These include one of the most dazzling rooms ever made, a giant yellow diamond, and the work of a renowned Greek poetess. Here are just a few of these enigmas.

1. THE AMBER ROOM

Designed in the 18th century by German sculptor Andreas Schlüter and Danish amber artist Gottfried Wolfram, and gifted to Russia in 1716, the Amber Room of Catherine Palace was the pride of the Saint Petersburg area. Lavishly decorated in jewels, gilding, and, of course, panels of amber, it was sometimes called the "Eighth Wonder of the World."

When the German army neared Saint Petersburg during World War II, the curators at Catherine Palace knew they had to hide this treasure. They tried to take it apart, but the dry amber crumbled in their hands instead they hid it behind wallpaper. German soldiers found the Amber Room anyway, and broke it down into pieces that were packed in crates and shipped to Königsberg, then part of Germany (now part of Russia). For a time, the Amber Room was installed in the Königsberg castle museum. After that, its fate gets fuzzy. Some researchers believe it was destroyed in the bombardments of the war, while others think that it’s still hidden somewhere. Despite periodic claims of it being found—and verified remnants turning up in 1997—most of it remains missing. In 2003, a reconstruction of the Amber Room was unveiled near Saint Petersburg, so visitors can at least get a glimpse of its lost glory.

2. SAPPHO'S POEMS

Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, Sappho and Alcaeus (1881) Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Ancient sources state that the Greek poet Sappho penned nine volumes of writing, but only a couple of full poems—and a few hundred lines on shreds of papyrus and potsherds—survive. Some contain just a handful of words, yet they hint at the passion in her work: "I desire/And I crave," one remnant reads. Many of these bits survive thanks to her popularity in antiquity, since her writing was frequently quoted in other sources.

There may be more of Sappho's work to discover. A late 19th- to early 20th-century excavation at a trash dump in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, turned up valuable fragments of her poems. As recently as 2014, two works on papyrus fragments were identified by an Oxford papyrologist. With any luck, there may still be scattered remains of her poems to unearth in the detritus of the classical world.

3. THE FLORENTINE DIAMOND

According to legend, Charles the Bold—the Duke of Burgundy—carried this 132.27-carat yellow diamond into the 1477 Battle of Nancy as a talisman. The treasure did little to protect him, however, and he fell along with his gem. His mutilated corpse is said to have later been recovered from the battlefield, but the diamond was gone, supposedly picked up by a scavenger who sold it for two francs because he thought it was just glass.

However, in the 1920s the art historian Nello Tarchiani did archival research that revealed the diamond likely had no connection to the duke. The gemstone had originated in southern India, where it stayed until the Portuguese seized the area in the 1500s. Soon afterward, it made its way to Europe and into the hands of a series of illustrious owners, including Ferdinand de’ Medici, the Duke of Tuscany, in 1601. It was in the treasury of the Medicis in Florence that it got its name—the Florentine Diamond—and most likely its glistening, 126-facet double rose cut.

When Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici, the last of the Medici ruling family, died in 1743, the diamond didn't stay with the treasure trove she bequeathed to the Tuscan state. Instead, Francis Stephan of Lorraine (who later became the Grand Duke of Tuscany and Holy Roman Emperor) bought it for his wife, Empress Maria Teresa, herself at the end of the House of Habsburg line. For a time, the Florentine diamond became part of the crown jewels in Vienna. Then the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed after World War I, and the diamond, it’s believed, was carried into exile in Switzerland by its last emperor, Charles I.

But where is it now? There are many theories on its disappearance, including that it was sold by the exiled emperor, and perhaps cut into smaller gems for that purpose. Others posit that it was stolen and spirited to South America. With no trace of the diamond in years, its whereabouts remain a mystery.

4. FABERGÉ EGGS

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

The legendary House of Fabergé was once the largest jeweler in Russia, employing 500 designers and craftsmen to transform everything from mantel clocks to cigarette cases into delicate and elaborate works of art. Their most famous achievement is the series of jewel-drenched Easter eggs they produced for Czars Alexander III and Nicholas II, which the Russian rulers gave as gifts to their wives and mothers. Each egg contained a surprise, from the Trans-Siberian Railway Egg (with a wind-up train made from gold and platinum) to the Bay Tree Egg (shaped like a tree, with a mechanical singing bird emerging from its branches). After the Russian Revolution overthrew the Romanov Dynasty—and the imperial family was executed—the new Soviet rulers seized the eggs. Lenin was interested in preserving such cultural heritage, but Stalin saw them as economic resources, and the eggs were sold off. Out of the 50 Imperial Eggs (as the eggs created for the czars are known), seven are missing.

Information on the lost eggs is sparse. There are few photographs—the only image we have of one of the eggs, the Cherub with Chariot Egg, is a reflection in the glass of a display case. Sometimes the surprises inside are detailed in records, and in other cases they remain a mystery. However, in 2012 a Midwest man who had bought what he thought was a fancy doodad for scrap gold happened to do an internet search on the name on the little clock inside: “Vacheron Constantin.” He discovered that his trinket, which he’d bought for $14,000, was one of the lost Imperial Eggs, worth $33 million.

5. CROWN JEWELS OF IRELAND

Lord Dudley, Grand Master of the Order of St. Patrick, wearing what's often called the Irish Crown Jewels National Library of Australia, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

On July 6, 1907, regalia belonging to the Grand Master of the Order of St. Patrick—referred to as the "Crown Jewels of Ireland"—were discovered to be missing, the keys boldly left hanging in the safe’s lock. The pricey pieces, which included a diamond star and badge, had been presented to the order of knights in 1830. As added insult, five collars of Knight Members of the Order had also been spirited away.

Security was perhaps a bit lax. A safe room had been built for Dublin Castle in 1903, yet the safe that protected the jewels was too big to fit in the door, so it was kept in a library strongroom.

An investigation was immediately launched, but a century later, the case is unsolved. One rumor is that the investigation was halted under the orders of Edward VII because it ended up touching on a sexual scandal at Dublin Castle. One top suspect is Francis Shackleton, second-in-command at the castle, and brother to the famed explorer Ernest Shackleton some say he may have been trying to raise funds for his brother's polar expedition.

6. ART FROM THE ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM

Empty frames at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In the early morning of March 18, 1990, the security guards at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston buzzed in two men claiming to be police officers. Once inside, they handcuffed the guards and revealed their true intention: stealing art. They made off with 13 works valued at $500 million, the biggest unsolved art theft in the world.

Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas, and Manet works are among the stolen art, although strangely, the robbers also opted to take a bronze eagle from the top of a Napoleonic flag and an ancient Chinese beaker rather than other, more valuable objects nearby. Because the museum’s collection and layout are permanent—both the legacy of the late art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner—the frames of the missing artworks are kept empty, a memorial and a reminder that the burglars are still at large. The FBI believes the paintings made their way to organized crime circles in Philadelphia, but haven’t had a lead since 2003. Currently, the reward is $10 million for information leading to the artworks’ recovery.

7. THE HONJŌ MASAMUNE

At the end of World War II, citizens in Japan were required to turn over privately owned weapons, including historic pieces. Among them was one of the most famous swords ever made: the Kamakura-period Honjō Masamune. Created by Masamune, who lived circa 1260-1340 and is often considered Japan’s greatest sword maker, the sword was celebrated for its strength and artistry.

Its last owner was Tokugawa Iemasa, who brought the Honjō Masamune, along with other heirloom swords, to a Tokyo police station in compliance with the Allied orders. They were handed off to someone in the Foreign Liquidations Commission of AFWESPAC (Army Forces, Western Pacific), then disappeared. Some surrendered swords from this era were brought back to the United States by American soldiers, while others were melted or tossed in the sea. Today, the fate of the Honjō Masamune is unknown.


Will There be a The Lost Gold of WW2 Season 3?

Foraging of treasure that had been long lost in history, acts as an interesting premise for multiple shows — and rightly so. Contemporary researchers are intrigued by the prospect of finding hidden gold — stowed away in unknown corners of the world. Well, another documentary that adopts this format is ‘The Lost Gold of World War II’, which restarts the search for “hundreds of billions of dollars of stolen loot supposedly hidden in Southeast Asia by Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita” — as outlined by History. The docuseries, which has recently finished airing its second season, has managed to captivate viewers all over the world. So does this mean that we will see its third outing as well? Read on and get your answer!

The Lost Gold of World War II Season 3 Release Date: When Will it Premiere?

‘The Lost Gold of World War II’ season 2 premiered on April 28, 2020, on the History Channel. It ended with its eighth episode on June 16, 2020. The second season follows the team as they dig deeper into the mystery of General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s hidden treasure. They get hold of recent scans and divert their attention to three key sites: a mysterious waterfall, a crater called Breach 6, and a massive, recently discovered tunnel. We learn more about the conspiracies surrounding Yamashita&rsquos Gold, its connection to the CIA, and iconic world leaders.

The second season, which showcases unparalleled advanced technology and interesting historical information, is, no doubt, more captivating than the first outing. Moreover, there is still a lot to be revealed and more secrets to be unearthed. Noting the fans’ thirst for added narratives regarding these fascinating real-life tales based in the Philippines, we expect History to renew the show for another season. Once that happens, we can expect ‘The Lost Gold of World War II’ season 3 to premiere sometime in 2021.

The Lost Gold of World War II Season 3 Cast: Who Can be in it?

John Casey is a construction professional, who has been intrigued by the lost treasure from WW2 since his childhood and his expedition was inspired by a Filipino villager. He leads the team to the rugged terrains of the Philippines, accompanied by his younger brother Rob — who is also from the construction and engineering industry. Metallurgist Rick Hurt is an experienced expert in the mountains in this region. George &ldquoGeo&rdquo Duncan is a third-generation miner and his son, Levi, is a former Marine and fourth-generation hard rock miner. Rounding up the crew is Colin Miazga (a geoscientist with experience in geophysics and archaeology), Max Layton (a master of geophysical applications), and Bingo Minerva (the head researcher). Season 3 is expected to mark the return of all the aforementioned experts.


Sarcophagus of Menkaure

The pyramid of the Egyptian pharaoh Menkaure is the smallest of the three pyramids that were constructed at Giza around 4,500 years ago. In the 1830s, English military officer Howard Vyse explored the Giza pyramids, at times using destructive techniques (his use of explosives being the most notorious) to make his way through the structures. Among his discoveries at Giza was an ornate sarcophagus found in Menkaure's pyramid that Vyse tried to ship to England in 1838, aboard the merchant ship Beatrice. The Beatrice sank during its journey, taking the ornate sarcophagus along with it. If the Beatrice is ever found, it may be possible to retrieve and the sarcophagus.


It is rare when marine archaeologists do not have to dive deeply to unearth an ancient treasure. In the spring of 2021, a dugout canoe from the Stone Age was recovered in the remote riverbed of the Old Rhine at Lake Constance. The boat corpus was very well preserved: The bank mud had preserved the wood airtight. The valuable "original boat" was discovered by a standup paddler.

Treasures of underwater archaeology


Yamashita’s gold has been found and it's not what you think

Long before Yamashita ever set foot in the islands, local sleuths would go on the hunt for the caches of silver dollars left over from the Philippine-American War. In the Spanish era the hunt was on for Francisco Dagohoy’s treasure or lost religious relics and other legendary artifacts. Perhaps the oldest myth is that of the "lost treasure" of Limahong, a 16th-century Chinese pirate who is said to have buried his loot somewhere in Pangasinan.

Stories of lost treasure intersect seamlessly with the rich tradition Filipino folk tales documented since the late 19th century. These tales are not merely fairy stories for entertaining children. Despite having no identifiable "author", they are complex works of literature that have always played an important role in village and metropolitan life. By sharing and elaborating on folktales, ordinary people become empowered to express their values, reinforce moral codes, and impose meaning on collective desires and anxieties.

In Philippine folklore, objects are often deliberately concealed only to be lost forever. Variations on this theme include tales of unexpected wealth that is quickly lost again due to the failure of the hero to observe proper conduct.

In these stories, caves are supernatural sources of generosity. One popular tale is of fine jars and plates found inside the mouth of a cave, which are borrowed by locals for special events but always faithfully returned. Inevitably, an individual fails to give back a plate or jar resulting in the repossession of all the borrowed goods and the closure of the cave’s mouth.

All over the Philippines, one hears the story of a church bell that was hidden by locals to protect it from Moro pirates but that after the marauders have moved on, the bell could no longer be retrieved from its chosen hiding place.

War treasure in times of crisis

Stories are also told of valuable items that are concealed during times of crisis and occupation. The tales end with the caution that only a future hero will be able to recuperate the treasure. Unworthy fortune-seekers – especially Spaniards or Americans – will face all kinds of environmental catastrophes if they try to claim it for themselves.

Lucetta K Ratcliff recorded a characteristic story from the Botocan river in La Laguna. Set during the height of the Philippine-American war, the tale describes a tree covered in mysterious inscriptions in an unrecognized language that grew in front of a waterfall. Behind the waterfall lived a wealthy water spirit who gave a poor peasant girl money and golden jewelry, with the instruction not to tell anybody where she got it from. When her mother eventually compelled the girl to tell the truth, her new treasure disappeared. After the Americans learned of the treasure in the cave, they tried to obtain it but were continually thwarted.

The story concludes that to this day, “whenever an American or any foreigner goes there, even if it be Mr William H. Taft it rains heavily although the sun shines brightly."

Rediscovering the true meaning of treasure

As an outsider to the Philippines, these stories have intrigued me for what they really reveal, not about the locus of lost wealth, but the postcolonial national psyche.

Far from unchecked hysteria, the search for treasure is more like a search for explanations, justice, and hope. The stories are fundamentally about resources that are unfairly withheld from their deserving recipients, and they almost always correspond to periods of colonial occupation and political suppression.

In this light, mythical treasure might be seen as a repressed hope for future economic rewards. In circumstances of hardship and dramatic wealth-inequality, the discovery of lost treasure becomes a plausible explanation for why one family is rich while their neighbors remain poor. If the status quo is a brutal and unshakeable class sytem, wealth is quite rationally explained as a matter of blind luck rather than hard work.

It is unsurprising then that Ferdinand Marcos is sometimes cast as a conspirator in the retrieval of Japanese gold. One legend has it that a poor farmer discovered a golden statue of Buddha while ploughing his field, but this happy find was forcefully reappropriated by the Marcos regime. Can there be any simpler analogy for the economic exploitation of the poor by the powerful?

It’s also possible that these stories are not just about lamenting a loss of material resources but are also a way of accounting for a perceived loss of intangible heritage. What is referred to today as "colonial mentality" is a kind of cultural inferiority complex stemming from past occupations by foreign rulers. Or as Rizal tried to explain it way back in 1889, Filipinos “gave up their writing, their songs, their poems, their laws” and “became ashamed of what was their own they began to admire and praise whatever was foreign and incomprehensible their spirit was dismayed and it surrendered.”

Treasure stories serve as a morale-boosting reminder that the nation holds a secret and priceless wealth that has not yet been fully actualized. After all, despite the predations of unlicensed treasure hunters, Philippine archeologists continue to bring us knowledge of the archipelago’s distant past, while historians, artists and narrators of folktales creatively preserve and rework the “songs, poems and laws” that were presumed to have been lost.

Philippine cultural heritage and identity is a priceless treasure and well within our grasp. We need to recognize it before we destroy it in pursuit of a glittering mirage. – Rappler.com

Piers Kelly is a linguistic anthropologist at the Max Planck Institute of the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. He has previously worked as an author and editor for Lonely Planet and a linguist at the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (Bohol). His article on Philippine stories about lost bells and other valuables is published this month in the Journal of Folklore Research.


TST Recommends

The Amber Room was a room decorated entirely with panels of amber, gold leaf and mirrors. It was built by master sculptor Andreas Schluter for the Catherine Palace near Saint Petersburg some 300 years ago.

With over six tons of pure amber, not to mention the extraordinary skill and beauty invested in this room, it was once known as the Eighth Wonder of the World.

During World War II occupying German soldiers looted the room, taking it apart and shipping the entire thing back to Konigsberg Castle, now known as Kaliningrad. That&aposs where the Amber Room vanished into history. Nazi officials began evacuating the treasure before Allied armies could seize it, but no one knows what happened next. Witnesses claimed to see it in crates, and rumors have placed pieces of the Amber Room across most of Europe. However Konigsberg Castle was the last time anyone has ever seen the room intact or even known where it was.

#2. The Treasure of Cocos Island
Last Seen: Lima, Peru

The legend of Cocos Island begins two hundred years ago in occupied Lima.

For hundreds of years, Spain looted the Incan Empire, collecting its wealth in Lima under the authority of the Catholic Church. When revolution began spreading across South America in 1820 the governor decided to ship this gold back to Spain, loading it onto the brig Mary Dear in the care of Captain William Thompson.

Once at sea, Thompson and his crew rose up and murdered the soldiers and clergy sent to guard the treasure, then buried it on Cocos Island off the coast of modern Costa Rica. They planned to come back for the gold when tensions had cleared but were captured before they could do so. Spanish authorities executed every member of the Mary Dear&aposs crew for piracy, sparing only Thompson and his first mate in exchange for a promise to lead them back to their stolen treasure.

That never happened. When searchers got to Cocos Island Thompson and his first mate escaped into the jungle. Neither were ever seen again, and the treasure was never found. To this day it remains hidden, buried somewhere on an island off of Costa Rica.

#3. The City of Paititi
Last Seen: Western Brazil

Somewhere deep in the jungle, east of the Andes, there is a city named Paititi just waiting to be found. According to stories, this city was one of the greatest capitals of the Incan Empire, one never discovered by the west despite hundreds of years of exploration and war.

The legend of Paititi started with an Italian missionary named Andres Lopez, a Jesuit who left behind journals from the year 1600. In them he described a great Incan city in the middle of the rainforest glittering with gold, silver and jewels. The locals, he said, called this city Paititi, although few had ever actually visited.

Lopez&aposs reports started the story of Paititi, but they didn&apost end there. Over the years other sources have fleshed out the legend, claiming that the city was founded by Incan hero Inkarri who built it as a refuge from the invading Spanish. Although some people claim that Paititi has been discovered, the fortress uncovered in 2008 doesn&apost match historic descriptions of Paititi or what little geography we have about the Incan refuge. For now, Lopez&aposs city of gold remains a mystery lost in the jungle.

#4. The Treasure of the Knights Templar
Last Seen: France

The Knights Templar were one of the great orders founded during the Crusades. For nearly 200 years they fought as one of the most powerful factions in medieval Europe until, almost overnight, they were wiped out. The story of how a French king, deeply in debt, joined forces with the Pope to smash this group of warrior monks is one of history&aposs best.

But we&aposre interested in their treasure. Unsurprisingly for a group that spanned from London to Jerusalem, the Knights Templar had immense wealth. Legend says that before King Phillip of France arrived, Templar agents managed to smuggle their treasures away for safekeeping. The agents ran while Templar knights fought with Phillip&aposs armies. They escaped while those knights died, and they hid the treasure of the Templars. somewhere.

That&aposs where the trail goes cold. Some reports claim that agents shipped their trust to Scotland, while others believe it&aposs hidden in the Rennes-le-Château in southern France. A few people even think that the Templar gold is at the bottom of a pit in Nova Scotia. The only thing we do know (mostly because we want to) is that it&aposs somewhere. Waiting.

#5. The Tomb of Genghis Khan
Last Seen: Mongolia

On a river in the Kandehuo Enclosure in Mongolia, devotees built a mausoleum to Genghis Khan. It is a massive temple dedicated to the worship of his spirit. The mausoleum has a coffin, but what it does not have is Genghis Khan.

His tomb has been lost for nearly a thousand years.

Before Khan died, he ordered that no one mark or even know the location of his grave. According to legend once workers completed the tomb, Khan&aposs personal guard slaughtered the slaves and soldiers who built it. They buried all of the bodies in Khan&aposs tomb, and then diverted a river to flood the site of his grave and seal Genghis Khan away from the world forever.

Civilizations have spent nearly a thousand years searching for this tomb in central Asia. Whether or not Khan was buried with treasures, the discovery alone would make history.

#6. Blackbeard&aposs Gold
Last Seen: North Carolina

Here&aposs what we all know about Edward Teach, the renowned pirate known as Captain Blackbeard. Some 300 years ago, he set sail, raiding ships and settlements across Mexico, the Caribbean and the southeast coast of North America. For less than a year, he captained his most famous ship the Queen Anne&aposs Revenge, but in that time was so successful that the ship itself became a legend before Teach finally ran it aground in North Carolina.

In 1718, Blackbeard was killed by a posse of soldiers and sailors from Virginia, bringing his days of piracy to an end but never recovering their spoils. Legends have spread about Blackbeard&aposs treasure almost since the day he died as people have speculated on what happened to the pirate&aposs ill-gotten gains. Rumors of Blackbeard&aposs gold have stretched from desert islands in the Caribbean to the Nova Scotia Money Pit, but the most popular theory is that Blackbeard buried his treasure where his ship died: in North Carolina, waiting for the captain to return.

Or, they could all be stories inspired by Robert Lewis Stevenson.

#7. The Treasure of the Copper Scroll
Last Seen: Ancient Israel

In the Great Cistern which is in the Court of Peristyle, in the spout in its floor, concealed in a hole in front of the upper opening: nine hundred talents.

This is the location of one of the Copper Scroll&aposs treasures. There are 63 more where that came from, if you can figure out what they mean.

When a shepherd discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls, they marked one of humanity&aposs greatest archeological finds. However one scroll was different. It was made out of beaten copper instead of parchment and papyrus like the rest, and instead of history and literature, this scroll listed the hiding places of treasures scattered and hidden across the Holy Land.

The Copper Scroll keeps its artifacts safe. It isn&apost just made of different material, it was written in a different style and language from the rest of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Most of its vocabulary doesn&apost exist in the Bible and intersperses Greek letters among the Hebrew while directing searchers to treasure buried the ruins of fortresses that fell down 2,500 years ago.

#8. La Ciudad Blanca - The White City
Last Seen: Honduras

Legends of golden cities have long lured adventurers to South and Central America, inspiring people to brave jungles, snakes and Michael Douglas in their quest for a place where, against catastrophic odds, the streets are actually paved with gold. Every now and again this quest even makes sense because, like Paititi, there&aposs a chance that The White City actually exists.

For centuries travelers and explorers in the Honduran jungles have passed down stories of the White City of Gold, a fabulous capital built of gleaming stones where nobles ate off golden plates and erected massive jeweled statues. In the 16th Century, the regional Bishop himself wrote about catching a glimpse of this city through the jungle canopy, and hundreds of years later, Charles Lindbergh would report spotting the ruins of a great white city while flying over the jungle, only to lose it again.

Throwing fuel on the flame, in 2012 scientists used aerial mapping to discover a topographical oddity deep within the Honduran jungle: undiscovered ruins. Whether or not it&aposs a city of gold, there&aposs something out there.

#9. Atlantis
Last Seen: The Cyclades Islands, Greece

Here&aposs the thing about Atlantis: it wasn&apost necessarily made up. Plato&aposs utopian, underwater empire? Fiction. A mystical realm beneath the Atlantic where people get power from crystals (for some reason)? So much fiction. An advanced society that sank beneath the sea long ago though? For that, you&aposll have to let me take you to the island of Santorini and the end of the Minoans.

Today Santorini is a crescent shaped resort island in the Aegean Sea with a smoldering volcanic caldera in the middle of its bay. Thousands of years ago, though, it had a lot more land and an advanced society thriving at the edges of Crete&aposs Minoan Civilization. Then the volcano erupted. Not only was this eruption powerful enough to wipe out the Minoans almost entirely, but it also blew a hole in the island, burying huge sections of ancient Santorini under the sea.

We know that some villages from ancient Santorini showed signs of great progress, hints of plumbing, technology and ideas far beyond the Bronze Age. We also know that the coast of Santorini, where its greatest towns would have been built, was swallowed by the sea. It isn&apost crazy to believe that, under that water, is a city far beyond anything the Greeks would have known.

#10.The Oak Island Money Pit
Last Seen: Oak Island, Nova Scotia

In good conscience I can&apost fully recommend the Money Pit, because we don&apost actually know there&aposs anything in it. I can&apost leave the pit off the list though, either, because come on: someone dug a pit more than 230 feet deep, lined it with brutally clever traps and irrigated it with the freaking Atlantic Ocean. We&aposre supposed to believe that they did all this on an 18th Century dare?

Mark my words, there&aposs something at the bottom of that hole. We just don&apost know what it is yet.


Stolpsee Lake, $1.8 Billion in Gold and Platinum

Stolpsee Lake. Photo Credit.

A cache of gold worth over $1 billion is suspected to be in Stolpsee Lake, near Berlin. According to legend, 18 crates of gold were dumped in less than 15 meters of water.

In 1986, the Stasi secret police made a series of dives in hopes of finding the gold to sell to buy foreign currency. They failed to find it.

In 2013, the German government sponsored an Israeli researcher to use sonar to find the gold. That attempt also failed.

Eyewitnesses testify that Polish slave laborers helped dump the gold and then were executed. A local priest who was a pastor in a nearby town has stoked the flames of curiosity with his recent comments: Erich Koehler, 79, said, “The gold is there – and the bodies of the poor souls forced to dump it.”


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According to the apocryphal story, in the last months of World War II, a Nazi armoured train laden with gold and other treasures left Breslau (now Wrocław), arrived at the station Świebodzice (Freiburg in Schlesien), but did not reach the next station in Wałbrzych (Waldenburg in Schlesien). [3] The train is suspected to have entered into a system of tunnels under castle Książ or the Owl Mountains, which were part of the unfinished top-secret Nazi construction project Project Riese. [4] [5] Onboard the train was supposed to be more than 300 t (330 tons) of gold, jewels, weapons, and artistic masterpieces. [6] [7]

According to historians, it has never been proven that the train ever existed. [5] During the Polish People's Republic (1947–1989), the Polish Armed Forces carried out numerous searches for the train but found nothing. [8]

In late August 2015, news stories began circulating about two unidentified men who had obtained a death-bed confession about a buried gold train. [8] The two were later identified as Piotr Koper of Poland and Andreas Richter of Germany, [4] co-owners of the mine exploration company XYZ S.C. [9] Using lawyers as an intermediary, the two men opened secret negotiations with the Polish government for a "finders' fee" of 10% of the value of the train in return for information leading to its location. [8] They would reveal the exact location once the documents were signed. [10]

Koper and Richter would later claim information about their discovery was leaked by the government, resulting in a worldwide media circus. [11]

On 28 August, Polish Deputy Culture Minister Piotr Żuchowski announced that ground-penetrating radar images taken by Koper and Richter confirmed with 99% probability that a train of 100 metres in length had been found. [8] [12] However, on August 31, Tomasz Smolarz, Governor of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship, told reporters that "There is no more proof for this alleged discovery than for other claims made over the years," saying, "It's impossible to claim that such a find actually exists at the location indicated based on the documents that have been submitted." [13]

On 4 September, Koper and Richter went public for the first time, breaking their previous anonymity. They announced that the precise location of the train had been given to Polish authorities. [10] They also released images they had taken with a KS-700 Ground Penetrating Radar system that appeared to show a 50-metre-deep man-made shaft with something in it. [14] Koper and Richter believed the train was buried next to a 4-kilometre (2.5-mile) stretch of track on Polish State Railways' Wrocław–Wałbrzych line at kilometre 65. [15] [16]

Polish authorities sectioned off woodland in the area of kilometer 65, as well as deploying police and other guards in order to prevent access to the numerous treasure hunters who had arrived armed with detection equipment. [16] In late September, the Polish military, acting at the request of the regional governor, began to clear the surface of trees and search for booby traps and mines. [17] The military confirmed on October 4 that no explosives or other dangers existed, down to a metre's depth. [18]

In mid-November, two different teams were cleared by city authorities in Wałbrzych to make a non-invasive assessment of the site. [19] The first team was Koper and Richter. The second team consisted of mining specialists from the Kraków Mining Academy, headed by Janusz Madej. On 15 December, the second team announced that a survey had found no evidence of a train, though possible evidence of a collapsed tunnel. [20] Koper and Richter stood by their claim of a train to which Madej responded: "It's human to make a mistake, but it's foolish to stand by it." [21]

In May 2016, despite outside expert opinion that no train existed, Koper and Richter secured permission to begin digging at the site from the owners of the property, Polish State Railways. [22] The excavation commenced on 15 August 2016 with a team of 64 people, including engineers, geologists, chemists, archaeologists and a specialist in military demolitions. [23] The excavation reportedly cost 116,000 euros or $131,000 and was financed by private sponsors, and with the help of volunteers. [24]

The dig was halted after seven days when no tracks, tunnel or train were found. [25] The radar images thought to have been the train were revealed to be natural ice formations. An official from the town admitted tourism was up 44% for the year and said "the publicity the town has gotten in the global media is worth roughly around $200 million. Our annual budget for promotion is $380,000, so think about that. Whether the explorers find anything or not, that the gold train has already arrived." The town mayor was considering naming a roundabout after Koper and Richter. [25]

At the beginning of December 2016, Koper and Richter declared their intention to create a foundation for the purpose of raising money to drill down to 20 meters in 2017. [26] [27] During the third search in June 2017, with the assistance of a geophysical company from Warsaw, the excavation team encountered seven cavities, which were suspected to be a railway tunnel. The find made deep drilling necessary, which, according to the contractors, would cost at least 100,000 zlotys (about 23,000 euros) for the permits and the actual excavation. The dig was scheduled for the spring or summer of 2018, when sponsors would be found. [28]

In August 2018, Richter left the excavation team. Koper announced he would continue the search. [29] While he never found Nazi gold, in January 2019, Koper discovered a series of large and "priceless" 16th-century wall paintings hidden behind a plaster wall while doing renovation work in an old palace in the village of Struga near Wrocław. [30]


Daring plan to keep the treasure from Ottoman hands

Regardless of the nature of the ‘Treasure of Priam’, the Ottoman authorities wanted to get their hands on the treasure. Schliemann, however, had other plans, and devised a plan to get the artifacts out of Ottoman territory. How Schliemann managed this feat is still a mystery, and there have been numerous speculations over the years. One legend, for instance, attributes Schliemann’s successful undertaking to his wife, Sophie, who smuggled the artifacts through Ottoman customs by hiding them in her knickers. Schliemann was eventually sued by the Ottoman government. He lost his case, and was fined £400 as compensation to the Ottomans. Schliemann, however, voluntarily paid £2000 instead, and it has been pointed out that this increase probably secured him something extra, though what this was exactly is unknown.

Portrait of Sophia Schliemann wearing some of the Priam Treasures ( Wikimedia Commons ). It is believed she helped smuggle her husband’s find out of the country by hiding some of the treasures in her underwear.


Watch the video: Lost Gold of WWII: TREASURE TUNNEL UNCOVERED Season 2. New Episodes Tuesdays at 98c. History