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German treasure hunters forge ahead with hunt for Nazi plunder

German treasure hunters forge ahead with hunt for Nazi plunder

German treasure hunters were to begin digging Tuesday for what they claim to be plunder buried by the Nazis in a man-made cavern near the Czech border.
The area's mayor, Hans-Peter Haustein, and a man who found the coordinates for the buried booty in a notebook among his deceased father's belongings, maintain that a scan of the spot has revealed that a large quantity of metal is about 20 meters (yards) below the surface. They believe it to be either gold or silver, based on the scan with a sophisticated metal detector.
On Tuesday, a drilling company was to start work on the site, some 100 meters (yards) from the Czech Republic in the eastern German state of Saxony, boring a hole so that a camera can be snaked down to the find to determine exactly what it is.
Haustein _ an amateur treasure hunter who is also a member of Germany's parliament for the opposition Free Democratic Party _ said the process could take several days, depending on how much rock needs to be penetrated.
"We have no time pressure," he said. "Our top priority is safety _ we can't allow anything to happen."
Haustein has been working with Christian Hanisch to find the suspected treasure for about eight weeks, after Hanisch found the notebook in the belongings of his father, a former Luftwaffe radio operator who died last year.
Haustein said last week that he was convinced they had found the storied Amber Room treasure, but later acknowledged that while there could be "cultural treasures" in the cavern, such as paintings or amber paneling, they are not things that show up with a metal detector.
The Amber Room _ named for magnificent wall panels of golden-brown amber _ was stolen by the Nazis from a palace outside St. Petersburg during World War II and has never been recovered in its entirety.
Experts have been skeptical of Haustein's claim, pointing out that stories of the Amber Room surface regularly, only to be proved wrong, and that the Amber Room had no significant amounts of gold or silver in it.


Updated : 2020-12-06 02:34 GMT+08:00