As Germany collapsed, its fascist masters tried to hide $7.5 billion in gold and thousands of priceless stolen masterpieces. Much of the hoard has never been recovered. Among the chaos of the collapse of Hitler’s empire in April 1945 the biggest heist in history took place. Gold bars, jewels and stolen foreign currency with an estimated worth of $3.34 billion vanished from the Reichsbank vaults, in Germany.
The Reichsbank vaults held the major part of Nazi Germany’s gold reserves, estimated to be worth about $7.5 billion by today’s standards, including $1.5 billion of Italian gold.
On April 7, U.S. officers took an elevator 2,100 feet down into a cave hewn from salt rock and found a billion Reichsmarks in the 550 bags left behind. After dynamiting the steel door to Room No. 8, they discovered more than 7,000 numbered bags in a room 150 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 12 feet high. The hoard included 8,527 gold bars, gold coins from France, Switzerland, and the United States, and still more stacks of paper money. Gold and silver plate, smashed flat for easier storage, was packed in boxes and trunks. There were suitcases filled with diamonds, pearls, and other precious stones robbed from death camp victims along with sacks stuffed with gold dental bridges and fillings. Added to minor amounts of money from Britain, Norway,Turkey, Spain, and Portugal, the entire cache proved to be one of the richest deposits anywhere in the world at that time. It represented an astonishing 93.17 percent of Germany’s entire financial reserves as the war reached an end.
But that was not all. In other tunnels that webbed through the soft rock, investigators found 400 tons of art, including paintings from 15 German museums, and important books from the Goethe collection from Weimar. Under heavy guard, the treasures of the mines were placed in 11,750 containers and loaded onto 32 10-ton trucks for transport to Frankfurt, where they were stored in the vaults of the Reichsbank branch there. Despite persistent rumors about the disappearance of one of the trucks in the convoy, none of the gold or art was lost in transit.
In the ensuing decades small quantities of the treasures have turned up in Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey, Spain, Sweden and even a small town outside of Texas in the United States, but the majority remains missing. Across the world search teams look for this missing treasure but after 60 years the challenge becomes more and more formidable.
So where is Hitler’s missing gold? Here is a list of popular theories as to the loot’s disappearance.