National Archives of the Netherlands
- A map indicating where the Nazi loot might be buried was released in The Netherlands.
- Four German ammunition boxes laden with coins, jewelry, and diamonds are said to contain the hoard.
- The valuables are believed to have been stolen after a bank was bombed in the city of Arnhem.
A treasure hunt has been sparked in the Netherlands after the National Archives released a map revealing the location of a hoard of Nazi gold and jewels.
The trove was said to have been buried by four German soldiers in World War II and has never been found.
The loot, believed to have been stolen after a bank was bombed in the city of Arnhem, contains four ammunition cases laden with coins, watches, jewelry, and diamonds. It is thought to be worth $19.1 million, the Guardian reports.
The map indicates the treasure is buried near the town of Ommeren in the municipality of Buren, central Holland. It has been searched for several times previously, according to The National Archives.
The existence of the treasure has never been confirmed, National Archive spokeswoman Anne-Marieke Samson told Reuters, with many failed attempts to uncover the loot making the hunt even more exciting.
Annet Waalkens, an adviser at the National Archives, told The Guardian that the treasure is thought to have been left in April 1945, when Nazis were being flushed out of their occupied territory in the eastern Netherlands.
“They decide to bury the treasure because it’s just getting a bit too hot under their feet, and they’re getting scared,” Waalkens said.
Adolf Hitler’s retreating soldiers are said to have buried the looted treasure.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The National Archives says they are “overwhelmed by interest,” but the local council is urging caution from treasure hunters.
The Buren council website warned, “Experts point out that the area is close to the frontline of the Second World War. Searching there is dangerous because of possible unexploded bombs, landmines, or grenades. We, therefore, advise against searching for the Nazi treasure.”
The new information on the supposed loot emerged last week when the National Archive released more than 1,300 historical documents, including a file of failed attempts by the Dutch authorities to find the cache shortly after the war ended in 1946-47.
Working on information from a German soldier, named only as Helmut S., who said he’d helped bury the ammunition boxes in 1945 as Hitler’s army retreated, the authorities conducted three searches. Nothing was found, and it was suspected locals may have seen the German soldiers burying the loot and liberated it themselves.
Another theory is that American soldiers nabbed the treasure. During the third dig, staff from the Dutch Institute of Asset and Property Management, which managed the wealth of people who had disappeared during World War II, were approached by two US officers.
The Americans told the searchers, “‘we don’t know what you’re doing, but please mind your business, and this is our affair,'” Waalkens said, per The Guardian