The hunts for Forrest Fenn’s treasure and other hidden or lost caches of wealth pale in comparison to the 80-year search for vast quantities of gold allegedly sequestered away for safekeeping by the Nazis during World War II. Often referred to as ‘Hitler’s gold’, it’s a collection of treasures looted from lands conquered by the Nazis and rumored to have been taken to South America or buried somewhere in Europe. That “somewhere” has been narrowed to Minkowskie, a village in southwestern Poland in the historical region of Silesia, and pinpointed to an abandoned palace based on a treasure map that once belonged to a senior SS officer who gave it to a girl working in the brothel at the palace.
“The remaining 48 heavy Reichsbank’s chests and all the family chests I hereby entrust to you. Only you know where they are located.”
Poland’s The First News reports that the Polish government has finally given approval to Roman Furmaniak, head of the Silesian Bridge foundation, to dig under one of the 11 locations in the Lower Silesia and Opole regions where the diary of SS standartenführer Egon Ollenhauer said they were buried in conjunction with Dr. Gunther Grundmann, a German conservator who helped locate suitable hiding places. In May of 2020, Furmaniak tried and failed to obtain permission to look under Hochberg Palace in the village of Roztoce where the diary alleged that treasures were stashed in locations under or near the palace. This time, he had the added evidence of a letter written by an SS officer named von Stein to a woman named Inge, who was his favorite at a brothel in a palace in Minkowskie used by SS officers for ‘rest and relaxation’. (Photos of the diary, the letter and the palace here.)
“She was in love with the handsome officer in a black SS uniform. They were like gods. She believed that she would have to stay there for a year, maybe two, then it would all be over. Nobody believed then that that region would come under the control of the Soviet Union. It was before Yalta. Even after Yalta, that information was not generally known.”
According to Furmaniak, von Stein put Inge in charge of watching over the hidden stash and she fully expected him to return, dig it up and live happily ever after with her. Furmiak managed to identify Inge and track her movements after the war – she hid from the Russians, who took the region from Germany, for two months in 1945, in the forest. Inge checked on the treasure hiding place and it was undisturbed, so she decided to stay in the area. As a German, she was forced to change her appearance and identity to blend in with the population and eventually married a local man, living in Minkowskie for 60 years and watching the palace change hands and be used by Russia’s Red Army, the Polish army, a local council office, a kindergarten and a cinema.
“We are focusing on Minkowskie now because we think it will be easier.”
The Silesian Bridge foundation says that the stash in Minkowskie is the famous Gold of Breslau, which went missing at the end of the war from the police headquarters in Breslau, now Wrocław. It is said to include Reichsbank gold, stock from jewelry stores in Breslau and valuables from private collections of wealthy Germans in the region hoping the SS would protect them from the Red Army. We know how that turned out.
This time, Furmaniak says he has all of the necessary permits from the Ministry of Culture and the heritage conservator and plans to return anything they find to the rightful owners. To be on the safe side, the Silesian Bridge foundation is also digging at the same time at another undisclosed location.
Will they find anything? It certainly would be a fitting end to one mysterious chapter of World War II.