German Pensioner May Have Found Nazi-Looted Amber Room

Once considered to be the eighth Wonder of the World, the Amber Room was allegedly stolen from Russia by the Nazis in 1941. Now a German pensioner thinks he knows where it was hidden, but needs help to access it.

The Amber Room was an intricate and lavish room, decorated with amber plates. The room was apparently given to Peter the Great in 1716 by Prussia's Friedrich Wilhelm. The chamber consisted of amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors. A photo of the original room is included here.

Amber Room
The original Amber Room - photo taken in 1931.

It is believed that in 1941 the Nazis dismantled the panels of the stunningly beautiful room and shipped them to Koenigsberg in Germany, where they subsequently disappeared.

Now a 68-year-old retired agricultural engineer is digging up the streets of Wuppertal in Germany, searching for the lost treasure. Karl-Heinz Kleine told NBC that he and his six friends are not treasure hunters.

"But we believe that Erich Koch, the former Nazi chief administrator in East Prussia, may have secretly brought looted art to his home town of Wuppertal — including the Amber Room."
Their search began in 2008 when the group obtained permission from the city of Wuppertal to begin exploring the tunnels and bunkers hidden under the city.According to a city spokeswoman, Kathrin Petersen, Kleine has been given permission to "look behind walls or do some of his own drilling during scheduled building or restoration projects."

According to Kleine, the city is believed to be home to around 170 tunnels, bunkers and underground storage facilities. The group of historians dig and excavate almost daily and have sometimes spent days underground exploring the hidden labyrinth.

Apparently Kleine and his compatriots don't need a map to explore the tunnels. One of his friends, Wilfried Fischer, 63, reportedly "has the seventh sense and finds locations for us when he is out walking his dog."

Up until now, Kleine and the group have only found an old well, which can now be visited by tourists, but he says they have gained a lot of experience. He is 100 percent sure the treasure will be discovered under the city.

They have run into problems, however, and need money to buy better machinery and equipment to continue their search. Apparently up until now they have had access to a large core drill from a local building company, but the company asked for it back and Reuters reports that Kleine is asking for help.

"The search is very costly. We need helpers, special equipment and money."
According to Kleine the lack of funding and equipment has left the seven of them exploring the streets, looking for potential new excavation points to make their work easier.Whatever the men are lucky enough to find will, of course, have to be returned to the rightful owners. While the Soviet government decided in 1979 to construct a replica of the Amber Room, which took them 24 years and some 40 Russian and German experts in amber craftsmanship, it is certain that they would be thrilled to have the original work returned.

Despite this Kleine says the work is worthwhile for its historic benefits alone, as well as the fact that under German law, the group would be entitled to three percent of the estimated value of their discovery. Not bad pay indeed.

You can bet Kleine and his pals would have been interested in another discovery made recently, as the Inquisitr reports on the find of a lost city that could possibly be the legendary City of the Monkey God.

[Images: All in the public domain]