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Stolen WWII Gold Found in German Tunnels | In Search Of (Season 2) | History

Stolen WWII Gold Found in German Tunnels | In Search Of (Season 2) | History


NARRATOR: NYU professor Dr.
Timothy Naftali is a leading expert on Nazi plunder. Today he’s gotten
a rare opportunity to visit what might be the
Nazis’ favorite hiding spot for their secrets stolen goods. TIMOTHY NAFTALI: Today I’m two
hours outside of Frankfurt. I’m headed to Merkers Mine
to see where the Nazis put the gold that they had
plundered from Europe at the end of World War II. NARRATOR: The town of Merkers
is still home to a working salt and potassium mine. And just like in 1945,
the Nazis’ secret treasure room is not easily accessible. The journey starts with
a 2,000-foot descent in the mine’s industrial lift. When you descend
in the elevator, you have this sense
of claustrophobia. And when you leave
the entry way, you have a sense that you’re
completely locked away. NARRATOR: Dr. Naftali
has never had the chance to visit this site before. Luckily, he has the
advantage of a mining truck and a driver who knows the way. A visitor in 1945
could have spent years wandering these
tunnels without ever finding the stolen gold. TIMOTHY NAFTALI: Here
we are 500 meters down, traveling in a truck. It’s very dark. There are 30 kilometers of
passageways in this mine. You could take the
map of this mine and put it over
the map of Leipzig, a large city in Germany. That’s how extensive
the mine is. NARRATOR: Dr.
Naftali has finally reached a nondescript
entrance to the room the Nazis simply called number eight. Behind this door sat
one of the greatest treasure hordes ever assembled. 75 feet wide and 150 feet long,
with 12-foot-high ceilings and its own tram railway
leading in and out, this space once contained
the lion’s share of Nazi Germany’s secret wealth. I could see why the Nazis had
selected this place because I don’t know how anyone
without a little bit of luck could have found it. NARRATOR: But how did the
Allies find this room, thousands of feet below ground, along
one of the near infinite series of tunnels? Actually, it was
completely by accident. Two French women
told American soldiers that they had seen
sacks of money being taken out of the mine. Well, at that point the
US Army took notice. [ARTILLERY FIRE] NARRATOR: But the Nazis wouldn’t
give up their secret treasure so easily. [EXPLOSIONS] There was an intense
battle before the US took control of the
mine and discovered the door of room number eight. Fearing the door would
be booby trapped, troops blew a hole in the wall. It wasn’t until the dust settled
that they realized the enormity of their discovery. US soldiers come
into this room, and they discover 8,198
of these gold bars. NARRATOR: But despite all
of the meticulous oversight, it’s here that the true mystery
begins because, as it turns out, the secret
treasurer of Merkers Mine was quite a bit
lighter than expected. The fact of the matter
is the sums don’t add up, and there still is
some mystery as to what happened to all of that gold. It is estimated that the
Nazis stole $598 million– this is 1945 dollars– worth of gold. What was found here
was not all of it. NARRATOR: The gold
stored at Merkers Mine was worth about $250 million
in 1945, less than half of the alleged
$598 million total. So where was the rest of it? The fact of the matter is,
we don’t know where all of it went.


Reader Comments

  1. At first it got stolen by Germans… now it will get stolen by Americans… why not give it back to where its ORIGINALLY from

  2. Gold is valuable because society decided it should be. Go anywhere in the world and present gold and you'll have the atmost access.

  3. Isnt there some kinda international law that mandates that gold is turned over to the jews since theyre the ones it was stolen from? Or their remaining families?

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