Man Thinks He Knows Where Nazis Hid the 'Amber Room'

But Karl-Heinz Kleine needs a new drill to continue his search of Wuppertal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2015 3:47 AM CST
Updated Mar 4, 2015 6:57 AM CST
Guy on Trail of Nazi Loot Needs New Drill
A monument to Peter the Great is seen in St. Petersburg, Russia.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

The fabulous Amber Room looted by the Nazis from a Russian palace in 1941 may be the world's "most valuable piece of lost art," according to Reuters—and a 68-year-old man in western Germany thinks he knows where it is. Karl-Heinz Kleine and friends from his bowling club have been exploring tunnels and bunkers under the old industrial city of Wuppertal. He tells the Daily Mail that Erich Koch, the chief Nazi administrator in East Prussia, came from the town and had the jewel-clad chamber dismantled and shipped there as the Red Army advanced on Koenigsberg (now Kaliningrad), the room's last known location. "He brought it to a place he knew, where he had a good chance of accessing it in the future," says Kleine, who has studied records and talked to locals who were alive in the mid-'40s.

But Kleine says the search is expensive—and a building company that loaned the team a drill has now asked that it be returned. "We need helpers, special equipment, and money," he tells Reuters. "I only have a small pension, a new machine is too expensive for me. But whoever helps will get his share of the Amber Room when we find it," he adds, predicting that the search will move rapidly if he gets the right tools. The Smithsonian has more background on the amber-paneled room, a 1716 gift to Peter the Great from the King of Prussia that some called the "Eighth Wonder of the World." An interesting detail: With the Nazis approaching, the room was covered in wallpaper in an unsuccessful attempt to disguise it. In 2007 the magazine valued the room at $142 million in that year's dollars. (The long-lost diary of a Hitler aide recently surfaced in upstate New York.)

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