Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Lost Treasure of Treacherous Lake Toplitz - Last dive for Nazi gold

In a dense mountain forest high up in the Austrian Alps, 60 miles from Salzburg, the mysterious Lake Toplitz lies isolated. It is surrounded by cliffs and forests in the picturesque Salzkammergut lake district within the Totes Gebirge, or dead mountains. Luftwaffe Commander-in-Chief Hermann Goering had a villa not far from the lake. He would sit in the local bar with Adolf Hitler himself, communing contentedly with the villagers.

This region was intended to be the Alpenfestung, the Reich's Alpine Fortress and last redoubt, but by April 1945, Hitler was dead, the Allies were closing in, and the Reich found itself out of time. Allied artillery echoed in the mountains. Many of the last leaders of the Nazi regime fled here - some to make a last stand, others to try to preserve some shred of the Reich in hope of a future rebirth. Among the artifacts hidden here is rumored to be a horde of Nazi gold.

Supposedly, the Nazis stashed vast quantities of gold and other priceless plunder, including the lost panels from Russia’s Amber Chamber, as well as documents detailing the whereabouts of other Third Reich caches. These rumors have lured treasure hunters into its depths, some to their death.

Local villagers hired by the German army to transport heavy loads to the lake shore helped fuel rumors of sunken treasure. "Based on what they testified, something was definitely submerged in the lake — whether it’s a treasure remains to be seen," said Albrecht Syen, landlord of the local Fischer Hut and custodian of memorabilia from past dives. "There’s official documentation of a large delivery taken to the lake, but nobody knows what happened to it." 

Ida Weisenbacher was a 21-year-old farm girl when Nazi soldiers arrived at her door on February 23, 1945. "It was five o'clock in the morning, we were still in bed when we heard the knock on the door," claims Weisenbacher. "'Get up immediately. Hitch up the horse wagon, we need you.'" The soldiers needed the wagon because their truck had reached the end of the road and only horses could venture further to the lake's shore. "A commander was there. He told us to bring these boxes as fast as possible to Lake Toplitz," says Weisenbacher.

According to Weisenbacher, each box was labeled with bold letters and a number. Three wagonloads were taken to Lake Toplitz. "When I brought the last load, I saw how they went on to the lake and dropped the boxes into the water.... The S.S. kept shoving me away but I saw the boxes were sunk into the lake."

The Lost Treasure of Treacherous Lake Toplitz 

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