First it was Poland, where a lust for contraband led failed digs for stolen Nazi gold. Now it’s the Czech Republic, where amateur sleuths claim they’re close to unearthing $63.5 billion in Nazi treasure.
Nazi gold fever has taken over Štěchovice, site of a former SS pioneer school, where the hunt is on for chests of diamonds, gold and valuable old masters allegedly left behind by the fleeing Germans in 1945, the Daily Mail reported Thursday.
Josef Mužík, an amateur sleuth in the town 20 miles from the Czech capital of Prague, claims close to sniffing out 540 crates of treasure worth approximately $63.5 billion.
He and a partner say they’ve discovered “solid evidence” in secret archives that Nazi General Emil Klein had built the boxes and stuffed them with gold, gemstones, paintings, and documents from the Berlin Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institute – a German scientific and medical foundation, according to the British newspaper.
Mužík, who began his search three decades ago, has now teamed up with Sudeten German Helmut Gänsel, who once worked for the Czech intelligence service and who interrogated General Klein after the war.
He hopes to crowdfund future digs at the site which will need substantial amounts of money for plant and equipment.
Rumors of the Štěchovice treasure have swirled in the Central Bohemian Region since the end of World War II. Documents discovered in Germany 23 years ago led seekers of Nazi loot stashed in the Czech Republic.
Gaensel claims he has the original documents — including a map from Klein, the former SS general in command — and knows exactly where to find the hidden treasure.
In 1964, the former spook had arranged the release of Klein from the KZ Valdice prison in Czechoslovakia. From the 1970s to 1989, the nation’s communist government tried to recover the alleged Štěchovice treasure, reportedly hidden by 16 feet of rubble at the mouth of a cave.
Gaensel bought the property decades ago and has obtained sole rights from Czech authorities to unearth the alleged treasure. He and Mužík hope to dig it up by spring of next year.
A dozen years ago, however, Mužík said he’d come as close as ever to uncovering the treasure, according to Radio Prague. Some even thought they might find the famous “Amber Room” stolen by the Nazis from Russia.
All he’d managed to find, however, were a few savings books from towns in northern Germany where V1 and V2 rockets were developed.
Last year, treasure hunters in Poland sparked a media frenzy after claiming they were close to finding a buried train loaded with Nazi treasure, according to the Independent. But their search ended in failure in August when the purported train that appeared on radar images turned out to be rock formed by underground ice.