The loss of the “The Amber Room” has been a great mystery up until the present. But in the very new future it’s a possibility that it may resurface as a result of some very good detective work done by 57-year-old Herr Gluba and Gunter Richter, now 80.
These two men have been on the hunt for the missing Amber Room of the Czars which has been considered one of the wonders of the modern-day world. The priceless room which once belonged the King of Prussia Peter the Great which was presented to him in 1716 by the King of Prussia. When its 565 candles were lit the Amber Room was said to ‘glow a fiery gold’.
Later, Catherine the Great commissioned a new generation of craftsmen to embellish the room and moved it from the Winter Palace in St Petersburg to her new summer abode in Tsarskoye Selo, outside the city.
Prussian count Sommes Laubach, the Germans’ ‘art protection officer’ and holder of a degree in art history, supervised the room’s transport to Koenigsberg Castle when the Nazis invaded. In January 1945, after air raids and a savage ground assault on the city, the room was lost.
Although the original room was partially restored in 1979, it lacks the incredible splendour of the original. The Amber Room has since it disappeared became the new El Dorado, a quest that enthralled the wealthy and the poor alike.
The Amber Room was stolen by the Nazis from a Czarist palace during their invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Crafted entirely out of amber, gold and precious stones, the room made of many panels was a masterpiece of baroque art and widely regarded as one of the world’s most important art treasures.
Auerswalde was the place where Hitler built the two biggest guns in history – Dora and Gustav – both mighty railway mounted monsters capable of hurling shells weighing tons.
As he probed into the history of the cannons he discovered plans for secret underground workings.
Then he found details of clandestine shipments from the city of Koenigsberg – now Kaliningrad and part of Russia but in 1945 the main city of Germany’s province of East Prussia – which was the last known storage place of the fabled Amber Room before it fell to the Red Army.
He found documents about an air raid on the marshalling yards of Breslau – then German, now the Polish city of Wroclaw – on 4 February 1945. The army reported stated that 40 waggons from Koneigsberg, which had fallen days earlier to the Red Army, were undamaged in the attack and were moving down to Auerswalde ‘under conditions of the greatest secrecy.’
I then found documents stating that captured Soviet POWS, a hundred of them, were detailed to unload the crates from the train and store them in an underground facility in woods outside the town,’ he said. ‘And there are records of an S.S. detachment being sent down to guard this operation.
To have this kind of operation so late on in the war when the transport system was descending into chaos suggests that something very valuable indeed was in those crates.’
Gunter Richter, now 80, is an Auerswalde resident who told Glube that, as a child, he remembered in the Muna Forest outside the town a massive shelter built for munitions works employees that he went into as a boy.
The shelter was ‘massive,’ he recalled, ‘big enough for trucks to turn around in.’ It vanished from maps after the war but last week he and Gluba managed to find a ventilation shaft that leads down into a subterranean structure they believe is the old shelter.
‘If this shipment from Koenigsberg that was guarded by the S.S. was unloaded here, then we owe it to history to open it up and look in there,’ he said. Planning permission for an excavation is due to be granted next month.
The researchers are expected to enter the bunker in the coming days. It is unclear who will claim ownership of the vast treasure if it is discovered, with many experts putting the value of the room at least £150m.
- The Lost Amber Room (oddemerald.wordpress.com)
- Where’s the Nazi gold? The mystery of still missing treasures plundered by the Nazis (mirror.co.uk)