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What to do with a German treasure

Doug Krizner Feb 21, 2008
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What to do with a German treasure

Doug Krizner Feb 21, 2008
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Doug Krizner: Since the weekend, armed guards have been watching over a hole in the hills of eastern Germany. That’s where treasure hunters say they may have discovered a cavern full of Nazi gold stolen from Russia during the second World War.

Let’s go to Berlin and bring in reporter Brett Neely. So Brett, what do these treasure hunters think they’ve found?

Brett Neely: This is perhaps the most famous lost treasure from World War II. It was a gift from Prussia to Russia in the 18th century. It’s basically an entire room carved out of amber and gold leaf — about six tons worth of amber. They’re not sure if they’ve actually found it yet — they found a cavern — but they haven’t gone inside, ’cause they’re worried about boobie traps left over from World War II.

Krizner: How did they make the discovery?

Neely: Well, the mayor of the town near where this cavern is located has been looking for this for about 10 years. Another friend of his, who’s a treasure hunter, had a father who was in the German air force during the war and was sent on a secret mission to hide some treasure. And when he died recently, he, in his belongings there were map coordinates that led him to this spot. And then they basically used a giant metal detector to search the cavern from above.

Krizner: So if this really is the Amber Room, what happens next — do these guys get rich?

Neely: What probably happens is that the German government declares it a German property. But then, these guys are hoping that they would get some kind of reward. But he also says that what he hopes would happen is that Germany will return it unconditionally to Russia, and that Russia in return would give back some of the looted artwork that it stole from Germany after World War II as well.

Krizner: Brett Neely from Berlin, Germany. Hey Brett, thanks so much.

Neely: Thank you.

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