Since the end of the Second World War, numerous expeditions have been launched to find one of the biggest treasures belonging to the Third Reich.
It’s a timeless story that nobody has yet managed to solve. In May 1945, when Germany surrendered to the Allies, many Nazi leaders are said to have fled to Austria to hide what is now being known as ‘The Lost Treasure of the Nazis.’
A treasure hiding under Lake Toplitz
According to archived reports, numerous metal safes transported by military vehicles could have been buried underground, about 103 metres deep, in Lake Toplitz (on the outskirts of Salzburg), which was a naval base for the regime at the time.
According to theorists, and although there is still no proof that it is actually gold, this loot could mainly compose of what the SS took when they pillaged towns and cities through Europe. But according to another theory posed by The Guardian, it could also contain documents revealing the locations of goods and valuables that were confiscated from Jews and hidden, particularly in bank accounts in Switzerland.
For 60 years, explorers have been breaking their backs trying to find this legendary treasure. Unsuccessfully. In 2005, the state company which controls the lake, Bundesforste AG, even made a deal with Norman Scott, an American treasure hunter who is determined to solve this mystery. Irwin Klissenbauer, one of the directors at Bundesforste AG, explains:
This is a beautiful area. You have heard of Loch Ness. For Austrians, this has been a bit like Loch Ness. Lots of people come here. And whether there is gold down there or not, the mystery has been very good for tourism.
I really don’t know if there is anything down there, but we want to resolve the mystery once and for all. The aim at first is to measure the lake. Obviously, if they recover anything which has an identifiable owner, under Austrian law, we have to give it back.
But searching for this hypothetical treasure isn’t without risk. Since 1947, no less than 7 explorers have lost their lives at Lake Toplitz.