Stories about Nazi gold always get people’s attention – even if no gold has actually been found.
Several British tabloids are reporting that a British ship has discovered a cache of this Nazi gold 120 kilometers (75 miles) off the coast of Iceland. The crew of an Advanced Marine Services vessel decided to explore the sunken wreckage of the wartime SS Minden, within which resides at least one chest that tantalizingly remains locked.
This ship was scuttling en route from Brazil to Germany in 1939 when it was confronted by two British warships, and the contemporary crew claim that the golden treasure suspected to exist within is worth at least $130 million.
Frustratingly, the Icelandic government declared that the crew didn’t have the right license permitting them to salvage the wreck and its contents, and there’s now a legal battle determining who owns the discovery.
Robbed from annexed or occupied territories during the Second World War, it is appropriately known as “stolen gold” in German. It was also allegedly shipped overseas, particularly to institutions or nations that clandestinely assisted the Nazis before the conflict’s close.
The extent of the operation remains uncertain, but ever since rumors of it first surfaced, people all over the world have been searching for it. With its near-mythical legacy, any suggestions that previously unknown Nazi gold may have been found will never fail to make the headlines, as this article itself proves.
However, it’s important to note that in this instance, no Nazi gold has been found. Nor has it ever been, strictly speaking – at least not as the legends describe it.
Merkers Mine is the closest possible exception to this. Found in the heart of Germany by the 90th Infantry Division of the US 3rd Army in 1945, the cache included more than 8,300 gold bars, 55 boxes of bullion, 3,330 bags of gold coins, eight bags of gold rings, and additional silver, platinum, and stolen, valuable artwork.
This discovery, however, isn’t the Nazi gold of myth. It was found within Germany, not hiding in a collaborators’ mansion or bank or secret bunker elsewhere around the world. It would be incredible to find out that the SS Minden does indeed contain Nazi gold, but for now, it’s worth remembering that previously solid bets in this regard have turned out to be dead ends.
Take the search for a Nazi gold train buried beneath Poland, for example. Local legends spoke of a wealth-stuffed locomotive hidden within tunnels in the Owl Mountains, left behind by fleeing Nazi soldiers during the close of the war. Although radar images initially looked like there was indeed a train concealed beneath the surface, no trace of the train has ever been found.
So, in this case, we’d advise not holding your breath.