A freshly released map is believed to mark the spot where Nazi soldiers hid a treasure trove of gold and jewels potentially worth millions of dollars. The World War 2-era document was recently released to the public by the National Archives in the Netherlands as part of their annual Open Access Day.
The map suggests that the treasure is buried in the ground at a location near the small Dutch village of Ommeren. It's thought the loot consists of four large boxes filled with diamonds, rubies, gold, silver, and jewelry that were stolen by Nazi soldiers during an explosion at a bank in the nearby city of Arnhem around August 1944.
By April 1945, Allied forces were close to liberating Arnhem so the soldiers supposedly frantically buried the spoils near Ommeren. The Dutch state even brought a former Nazi soldier back to the Netherlands after the war in a bid to uncover the stolen objects, but they were never found.
"It's worth several million," Annet Waalkens of the National Archives told Omroep Gelderland.
"Of course, it stimulates the imagination," added historian Joost Rosendaal. "It hardly happens. The fact that there is such a specific map is special."
While there’s no certainty that the valuable objects are still there, amateur treasure hunters didn’t waste any time attempting to find the loot with dozens of people reportedly flocking to the area.
The situation became so overwhelming for the village that the Municipality of Buren released a statement to explain that people aren’t allowed to dig for treasure using metal detectors without their permission. Furthermore, all archaeological discoveries have to be declared, so people will not be allowed to take the treasure for themselves.
The Netherlands was one of the many countries in Europe that fell under German occupation during the Second World War. As part of the misery inflicted on these territories, the Nazis held a policy of looting the riches of their victims to help fund the war effort. Gold, silver, and currency were frequently plundered, but they were also known to steal objects of cultural significance, such as fine art, ceramics, books, and religious treasures.
So-called “Nazi gold” has attracted a huge amount of interest since WW2, not least because some of the stolen objects remain undiscovered. One of the most mysterious stories speaks of a Nazi gold train, or Wałbrzych gold train, that was hidden within a tunnel somewhere in Poland during the dying days of World War II. This armed train carriage is said to be loaded with gold and other valuable relics.
In recent years, interest in the Nazi gold train was reignited when ground-penetrating radar revealed a promising discovery near Walbrzych in southwestern Poland. Although excavations were carried out, they ultimately found nothing. Many still hold out hope that the train carriage will be unearthed someday, but others are starting to believe the story is nothing more than wartime rumor and urban folklore.