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May 4, 2024 46 mins

As if being murdering SOBs weren’t enough, the Nazis were also thieving rats. During WWII, they stole billons in gold from countries they overran and moved it to Germany. But at the end of the war, only part of it was recovered. Where’s the rest? Find out the extent of our knowledge in this classic episode.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hey, everybody, it's me Josh, and for this week's select
I've chosen our episode on Legends of Nazi Gold from
April of twenty twenty. This is the one where we
learned that Nazis were even worse than we thought. Not
only were they murder a swine, obviously, they were also
scumbag thieves too, who didn't have enough money to fund
the war they started in the first place, so they

(00:22):
went around looting and robbing from neighboring countries, and by
the end of the war, with the writing on the wall,
they hid a lot of that gold that they stole
in strange, unmarked places around Europe. Some people believe it's
still hidden, just waiting to be found, hence this episode.
Hope you enjoy.

Speaker 2 (00:44):
Welcome to Stuff You Should Know, a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 1 (00:54):
Hey, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark, and
there's Charles w Chuck Bryan over there, and somewhere we
lost I think she wandered off.

Speaker 3 (01:03):
Yeah, but this.

Speaker 1 (01:04):
Is stuff you should know regardless the Lost Nazi Gold.

Speaker 3 (01:10):
Edition, the Legend of Curly's Gold.

Speaker 1 (01:13):
If Curly was a white nationalist.

Speaker 3 (01:16):
Well who's to say he wasn't I don't.

Speaker 1 (01:18):
I don't know. He Jack Palance seems like the kind
who would have beat up white nationalists for fun, as
like a hobby, you know what I mean.

Speaker 4 (01:26):
Yeah, you know, we can't get into the super ins
and outs. But as you know, my brother worked on
the Legend of Curley's Gold and Jack Balance was a
tough sob Yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:38):
I hear he used to do shots of nails.

Speaker 4 (01:41):
Yeah, I mean, he wasn't a jerk. I wouldn't say,
but it just sounded like he was just sort of
a very cantankerous old fella to work with.

Speaker 1 (01:49):
That's so funny, man, because I mean, if you at
the end of the date, he's an actor.

Speaker 3 (01:54):
I know, you're an app on the earth.

Speaker 1 (01:56):
It's not like you you weld machine guns or something
like that. Give me a break, You're an actor.

Speaker 4 (02:01):
Yeah, like clinice Wood's not really tough. Well, actually that's
not true.

Speaker 1 (02:07):
Is he?

Speaker 3 (02:08):
Oh sure, probably he's got to be.

Speaker 1 (02:11):
At the very least. He's been acting like it's so
long he's developed. Yeah. Yeah, it's probably like a callous
you know what I mean, where it's just kind of
forms and stays a callous. It's the callousness of toughness
that an actor.

Speaker 4 (02:26):
I don't think Clint Eastwood whinds about a hang nail.
Let's just say that, no, like like we do.

Speaker 1 (02:32):
That'd be pretty disappointing. I actually was whinding about a
hangnail to myself the other day, of course, But I'm
not an actor. I'm a podcaster.

Speaker 4 (02:40):
No, we have a TV show that proves that. And
I'm speaking for both of us.

Speaker 3 (02:44):
Ouch.

Speaker 1 (02:46):
I thought I did some good work.

Speaker 3 (02:47):
I thought you did a better job than I, And actually.

Speaker 1 (02:49):
I think we both did a much better job than you.

Speaker 3 (02:52):
Remember.

Speaker 1 (02:53):
All Right, So if you hate Nazis and you're like
it's been a while since I was given a reason
to hate Nazis a new one, rejoice because we're about
to give you another one. At least I didn't really
realize this to this extent, did you.

Speaker 3 (03:10):
You know?

Speaker 4 (03:10):
I knew about Nazi gold and that they took things,
but I didn't know that it was almost one big
people killing and world robbing operation.

Speaker 1 (03:22):
Yeah, that's the thing. That's the new thing to hate
them for. Not only were they murderers, they were also
just common thieves as well. I mean thieves on one
of the greatest scales anyone's ever seen. But thieves nonetheless.

Speaker 3 (03:36):
Become an exceptional thief.

Speaker 1 (03:39):
Who was that Michael Kaine, No.

Speaker 4 (03:42):
Diehard, They called him a common thief, and he goes exceptional.

Speaker 1 (03:46):
Thief, right, Rodney conscr You imagine. Oh, I can't wait
till Telogy gets like advanced enough that you can just
insert whoever into whatever character and they'll say the same
lines and everything. Uh huh, that'd be great. That's the
first one I'm doing. Is Rodney Daegerfield is Hans Gruber.

(04:08):
He would have been wonderful.

Speaker 4 (04:10):
That scene where he's fooling him into thinking he was
one of the party goers.

Speaker 3 (04:15):
And he goes, what's your name, It's Bill Clay. Yeah,
that's what it is.

Speaker 1 (04:20):
Don't shoot me.

Speaker 3 (04:22):
Come on, nobody shoots me. I got no respect.

Speaker 1 (04:24):
That's pretty good, Pretty good, no boy? Okay. So the
Nazis were thieves, not just because they looted and plundered
like the countries that they occupied, but that they did
it because they were broke to start off with. That's
what truly makes them thieving sobs is that their whole jam,

(04:47):
this whole war World War that they started, they didn't
have the resources financially or industrially to actually carry out
this war they had to go steal to f and
their role in World War Two, which they started.

Speaker 4 (05:03):
That's right, they you point out here, you put this together,
good stuff. Thanks that in nineteen twenty three they had
hyperinflation such that in November of that year it cost
eighty billion marks to buy a loaf of bread.

Speaker 1 (05:16):
Is that right, Yeah, which sounds like a lot on
its own, but if you consider that earlier that year,
in January, a loaf of bread costs two hundred and
fifty marks. Yeah, so the price of bread went from
two hundred and fifty marks to eighty billion marks in
less than a year.

Speaker 3 (05:31):
But isn't that just a way of saying that nobody
bought bread?

Speaker 1 (05:34):
No, it meant it's a way of saying that their
money was totally worthless. Remember it happened in Zimbabwe. Oh yeah,
I can't remember what episode it was. Maybe how much
money is there in the world? We talked about hyperinflation,
I think.

Speaker 3 (05:46):
So that was staggering.

Speaker 1 (05:48):
It was staggering. And the same thing happened in nineteen
twenty three in the Ymar Republic. And this is the
state of the German economy that the Nazis rose to
power in because you know, that's one of the reasons
they were able to rise to power and fascism was
able to take over because the country and the economy
was in such dire straits that this idea of like, hey,

(06:09):
everybody get in line behind this guy, because he's going
to lead us out of it. That's how That's essentially
one way that Hitler and the Nazis were able to
rise to power. But that also means that he inherited
a terrible economy and he had to figure out what
to do. Not only a terrible economy took but they
Germany lacks natural resources that you would need to start

(06:30):
a war machine too.

Speaker 3 (06:32):
Yeah. They have no oil.

Speaker 4 (06:34):
No, they don't have mineral deposits that you can make
really find metals out of.

Speaker 3 (06:38):
Yeah, they've got sour kraut.

Speaker 1 (06:42):
They have sourk They have a lot of beer too,
and their to their credit. But you know, if that's
all you got, you need more to fight a war with.

Speaker 3 (06:51):
Yeah.

Speaker 4 (06:51):
So what happened was they they had what was called
the Reich's Mark, which was the monetary unit of the
Third Reich, and they were five neutral countries that declare
during World War Two, like, we're not going to trade
in reichs marks. So Hitler and Germany said, well, you
know what's always valuable anywhere is gold, and let's start

(07:14):
taking it from anywhere and everywhere we can get it.

Speaker 1 (07:17):
Yeah, and gold in particular, it's what's called a very
fungible commodity, Like you can trade just about anything for gold. Right.
If you have gold, people will give you whatever you want.
You can use it to buy oil, you can use
to buy guns, you can use it to fund terrorism,
you can use it to back your own currency. There's
a lot of stuff you can do with gold. But

(07:39):
in particular in World War two, if you were the
Third Reich, the Nazi regime, you needed to use gold
because these neutral countries couldn't accept reich marks by agreement.
But also the reichs marks were worthless anyway, so if
you wanted to buy a bunch of guns, you needed
some gold. And because Germany at the time only had

(08:02):
about twenty five tons of gold in its reserves, which
sounds like a lot, but as we'll see, is a
paltry amount of gold compared to what they looted and
pillaged and took. They needed some gold, and so yeah,
they started looting it. And the first place they turned
chuck was Austria.

Speaker 3 (08:22):
Yeah, how much gold did you say they had?

Speaker 1 (08:23):
They had twenty five metric from what I understand, twenty
five metric tons of gold and the reserve Germany did
at the outset of World War two.

Speaker 4 (08:32):
All right, well, this will drive home how much that is.
They looted fifteen tons, just ten tons less from the
citizens Jewish citizens of Vienna, Austria, from the capital city only.
They looted fifteen tons of gold from Jewish citizens, just citizens,
like you said, oh yeah, and that's those are just people.

(08:55):
So the Central Bank of Austria they got one hundred
tons of gold there, four times what they had in reserve.
And then they said, hey, you know that six tons
of gold that you're trying to send away to England
to keep safe from US. Huh, bring that back here too,
we want that.

Speaker 1 (09:13):
Yeah, they did. So just from Austria alone, they got
one hundred and what twenty one tons, yes, to add
to their existing twenty five tons. It was a huge
deal that kickstarted the Nazi war machine into high gear.
It was a big coup. Austria wasn't expecting it. No
one was expecting it, and so other countries in Europe

(09:37):
suddenly like gulped and they were like, we need to
we needed to take this as advance warning. Basically, we
don't want to become like Austria. And they triggered chuck,
the largest physical transfer of wealth that the world, the
planet has ever seen.

Speaker 4 (09:55):
Yeah, because I didn't know this, And it's kind of
cool that, you know, countries that are are friendly to
one another, we'll help.

Speaker 3 (10:01):
Each other out like this.

Speaker 4 (10:02):
Yeah, you can say, hey, US, you've got Fort Knox there.
I've heard that's a pretty safe place to keep gold
where England, So can we send you a bunch of
that to keep for us? And just you know, we'll
make a receipt out so we know how much there
is and I owe you and you promise not to spend.

Speaker 3 (10:19):
Any of it.

Speaker 4 (10:20):
And the US and Canada early on at least did
things like this. They accepted huge gold shipments. There was
a operation in nineteen forty called Project Fish where the
UK was sending or Britain was sending fifteen hundred metric
tons of gold to the US to store in Fort Knox.

Speaker 1 (10:39):
Yeah, and in twenty nineteen dollars. The amount that they
sent on slow boats through the Atlantic, which by the way,
we're infested with U boats by nineteen forty was worth
one hundred and sixty six billion dollars in today's dollars.

Speaker 3 (10:55):
And it got there somehow.

Speaker 1 (10:57):
Yeah, not one of those ships was sunk, astounding, and.

Speaker 3 (11:00):
That nutsy Well, they didn't know clearly, so.

Speaker 1 (11:04):
They they sent. So Britain sent that fifteen hundred metric tons.
Russia they were like, we're just going to take care
of ourselves. They evacuated a bunch of stuff from their stockpiles.
They sent twenty eight hundred tons of gold from its
banks to a location in the Ural Mountains for safe keeping.

(11:25):
They also sent two other national treasures too, the embalmed
corpse of Nikolai Lennon and artwork from the Hermitage Museum.
Those those were the three things they prized the most
to transfer by train to the Ural Mountains to stash
until the war was over.

Speaker 4 (11:44):
So all told, if you want to add it up,
during the course of World War Two, the Nazi stole
at least that we know of, four hundred million American
dollars in gold from countries they occupied, and another one
hundred and forty million dollars in gold from people, largely
Jewish people, from their homes. People that it were imprisoned

(12:07):
in concentration camps. Yeah, they stole It was a very
meticulous thing that they did. They would raid their homes.
They wouldn't just round people up, they would go to
their safety deposit boxes. They would rip their dental fillings
out of their teeth, such that it even got the
name tooth gold.

Speaker 3 (12:24):
It's on gold, and.

Speaker 4 (12:26):
That didn't you know, that covered everything that they stole
from people, not just the gold from teeth. That covered
people's wedding rings and their jewelry and their parts of
eyeglasses and other things like that. It's just unbelievable how
much gold they looted from concentration camp victims.

Speaker 1 (12:40):
Yeah, especially when you step back and look at it
like that. Germany really needed the money, The Third Reich
needed the money. They were just robbing, robbing and murdering,
that's what they were doing.

Speaker 2 (12:51):
You know.

Speaker 1 (12:51):
It really kind of puts it into perspective more. Oh yeah,
I mean the Nazis were the worst, dude, and still are.
Nazis are the worst. So most of that gold that
was stolen from occupied countries. I didn't see how many
tons it was, but what'd you say, generally the figure
I've seen is about five hundred to six hundred million

(13:13):
dollars in nineteen forties dollars stolen, and most of it
was put into the reichs Bank, which is Germany's central bank,
kind of like its federal reserve, and there are different
branches throughout the country, and you know, the gold was
kind of distributed here there, but as the war kind

(13:33):
of moved on, it was moved more and more into
the central reichs Bank in Berlin until nineteen forty five
and there was a bombing raid on Berlin on Germany,
and they said, we need to get this gold out
of here and into secret locations, and so the gold
from the reichs Bank, hundreds of millions today, billions and

(13:56):
billions worth of dollars worth of gold, was moved to
places where no one had any idea, secret locations that
weren't banks in Germany.

Speaker 4 (14:07):
Yeah, so this would set off I mean, people are
still looking for Nazi gold today, and not just walking
around with a metal detector, but some people are putting
a lot of money into looking for Nazi gold. And
one of the big reasons is a, like you just said,
we know that they moved it at some point. And
b In April of nineteen forty five, there were some

(14:29):
military police patrolling around the town of Merkers. They questioned
a couple of French women who had been displaced, and
they said in French, I would imagine that they saw
gold being stored in a potassium mine near the town.

Speaker 1 (14:45):
And the piece of soccer blue I mean holy cow.

Speaker 4 (14:50):
And the army investigates this and they found the it's
famous now the Merkers mine Treasure, which was a horde
of gold. There was a room covered in seven thousand
marked bags of gold coins, gold bars, gold jewelry valued
at about two hundred and thirty eight million, nineteen forty
five dollars. So this was a signal to everyone like, wow,

(15:13):
the legend of Curley's Gold is real.

Speaker 1 (15:15):
Yeah.

Speaker 4 (15:16):
Yeah, this is only about half the money. So let's
let's get our metal detectors out.

Speaker 1 (15:22):
Yeah. I mean, this idea that the Nazis hid gold
in mine shafts or all sorts of different places was
proven by that Murker's Mind treasure that they did this,
and there were substantial amounts to be found that was
two hundred and thirty eight million dollars worth, but they
stole five hundred to six hundred million dollars worth. Yeah,
which means that there is a substantial amount of gold

(15:44):
unaccounted for, and that is what has fueled treasure hunters
to look for what today would be billions of dollars
worth of gold that was lost and scattered and spread
after World War Two. And I say, Chuck, I have
a proposal for you.

Speaker 3 (16:01):
I bet I know what it is. Lie, what kind?

Speaker 1 (16:06):
What's your favorite kind of pie?

Speaker 3 (16:09):
Oh?

Speaker 4 (16:10):
I really love a key lime. Yeah, it's hard not
to go with key lime.

Speaker 1 (16:14):
Okay, but what about just like a standard traditional fruit pie.
They're really tough to beat, like a good cherry pie.

Speaker 4 (16:20):
If I'm going fruit pie, it's gonna be an apple
crumble for sure.

Speaker 1 (16:24):
Okay. I used to be in that same group with.

Speaker 3 (16:28):
You until you had the sweetest cherry pie.

Speaker 1 (16:31):
Yeah, Warrant. Warrant talked me into trying it, and I
loved it. Cherry pie is actually as good as the
song makes it sound.

Speaker 3 (16:42):
Wow, all right, we'll be right back, Okay. I want
to learn about a terrorist and call it horrid actyl.
How to take a bird is gone. That's another word up.

Speaker 2 (16:59):
Jerry cheese my cherry pie.

Speaker 1 (17:12):
Yeah, I've tried it with cheese, like they say, but
it's not very good. I think that's typically apple pie
that's supposed to have cheese on it. So I just
like straight cherry pie.

Speaker 3 (17:22):
Cherry pie, cool drink of water. It's a sweet surprise.

Speaker 1 (17:25):
Yep. I've tried it with the cool drink of water too.
It's good. It's better with just water than say, like coke,
because coke's sweet taste competes with the sweetness of the
cherry pie. So they're pretty much right on except for
the cheese.

Speaker 3 (17:37):
They say it'll make a grown man cry.

Speaker 1 (17:40):
I'm here to tell you that's the truth.

Speaker 4 (17:43):
Oh boy, that song and that video so dumb but
also very titillating for a very young chuck.

Speaker 1 (17:48):
You know, have you seen the Rush documentary? Oh sure,
did you know that Sebastian Bach from skid Row?

Speaker 4 (17:58):
It was skid Row, right, he was well warrant saying
cherry pie. But yeah, yeah, Baschion skid Row.

Speaker 1 (18:04):
I know, okay, but like it's just a huge leap
from skid Row to Warreck. Give me a break. But
Sebastian Bach was from Warrenck.

Speaker 3 (18:11):
Right, No, no, no, he was skid Row.

Speaker 1 (18:14):
Oh that's what I mean.

Speaker 3 (18:15):
Yeah, Warrant was Janie Lane if I was taken.

Speaker 1 (18:18):
Yeah, you're right, man, you got it. The poor man's
Brett Michaels.

Speaker 3 (18:22):
Yeah, in a way.

Speaker 1 (18:23):
So and sorry, Janey, I really didn't mean that, but
I couldn't leave it the But Sebastian Bach from skid
Row is one of the greatest and longest standing Rush
fans of all time.

Speaker 3 (18:36):
That's right. He was all over that.

Speaker 1 (18:37):
Yeah, I think he was. He joined their fan club
in like seventh or eighth grade, he said, and.

Speaker 3 (18:42):
I love it.

Speaker 4 (18:43):
Right now, somewhere Brett Michaels is walking around playing that
on repeat to his family.

Speaker 3 (18:47):
Did you hear that? Did you hear what Josh said?

Speaker 1 (18:49):
He thinks I'm better than the skid Row guy. No,
you mean Warret. It doesn't matter, all right. So we're
talking about Nazi gold, and we were saying before we
started talking about Warrant and everything, that that there is
gold that is unaccounted for, that was stolen by the
Nazis that just kind of vaporized after the war. Gold's

(19:11):
not supposed to do that. It's one of the things
that people love about gold is it doesn't just vaporize
into thin air. It's very easy to keep track of
if you want to. And so people started looking for
gold or looking for clues, and one of the big
clues that people started following was local rumors and legends.
Like in Murkers there were plenty of rumors and legends

(19:33):
that there was gold hidden in a mine nearby dar
Hills exactly, and they so that people people hearing local
legends has really kind of fueled hunt for hunts for
Nazi treasures for almost a century now.

Speaker 4 (19:50):
Yeah, so we're going to go through a bunch of these.
There's one called Lake Toplets. Yeah, Like it's a very
lovely place. I'm sure you looked up pictures. But people
and treasure hunters have been looking for this gold and
Lake Toplets ever since. And this is very much fact.
A bunch of Nazis retreated there in the Austrian Alps
in the final months of the war. US troops were

(20:13):
closing in fast and Germany was about to collapse, and
so they transported a bunch of boxes to this lake
military vehicles and then horse drawn wagons even and they
dumped them in the lake. So I think that part
is definitely true.

Speaker 1 (20:29):
Right, there's yes, from what I could tell, it was
reported on like that is fact, right? What was in
the boxes? Yes, what's up for debate exactly.

Speaker 4 (20:43):
Some people say that's the Nazi gold about five and
a half billion dollars worth. Other people said no, I
think some of this stuff are documents where they they
were basically confiscated from Jewish victims, about where they're assets
were hidden and what Swiss bank accounts they could loot maybe, And.

Speaker 1 (21:05):
I saw also artwork. Sure they think that was sealed artwork.
Also there's a rumor that there's three hundred pounds of
morphine in oh wow in those boxes. That was contributed
by I think Albania's president because he didn't want it
to fall into the hands of the Allies.

Speaker 4 (21:25):
Well, one thing they know is down there, because they
actually found some of these in nineteen eighty three. Was
Hitler had the idea at one point, Hey, let's sabotage
various countries by creating counterfeit money of those countries.

Speaker 1 (21:41):
Yeah, it's a pretty smart plan for a dirty Nazi
I know.

Speaker 4 (21:46):
So they created just hundreds of million dollars worth of
British pound notes, and in nineteen eighty three a German
biologist by accident discovered a lot of these British pounds
in the lake.

Speaker 1 (21:59):
What we talk about that in like how counterfeiting works.

Speaker 3 (22:02):
Maybe maybe it does sound familiar though for sure.

Speaker 1 (22:06):
We definitely talked about that plan. And remember there was
like a Jewish printer who was a Holocaust prisoner, a
prisoner of a concentration camp. We can't remember which one,
who turned out to be like this master counterfeitter. Yeah,
like because the Nazis trained him to or force them
to was if I remember correctly, it was our counterfeiting episode.

Speaker 4 (22:28):
Yeah, And in nineteen fifty nine I talked about the
nineteen eighty three fine. But in fifty nine they recovered
seven hundred million pounds of these counterfeit notes from that lake.
So some people say that's all that was down there.
Other people say there may still be gold down there.
And Austria actually still to this day has a problem

(22:50):
about ten divers a year illegally dive in that lake
looking for that treasure.

Speaker 1 (22:54):
Yeah, And what's interesting about this lake, aside from the
fact that there might be Nazi treasure in it, which
is interesting enough to make the lake remarkable and noteworthy.
But in addition to that, this lake has a kind
of a strange hydrology and that the top half of
it is fresh water the bottom half is salt water,
and they're separated by density. And in the middle of

(23:15):
these two layers is a layer of floating layer of
ancient logs that have fallen to the lake and been
preserved over time. And so you can only dive so
far before you hit this layer of logs, and some divers,
I think five divers at least have died in this
lake looking for Nazi gold, and at least one of

(23:36):
them got tangled up in this layer of logs. It's
a really dangerous place to dive. But the fact that
you can't really see past this layer of logs is
one of the things that keeps people coming back and
keeps this legend alive, because they can't thoroughly search this
lake and show conclusively, no, there's no gold here. Leave

(23:57):
this place alone, stay away. It is pretty amazing. And
then the other thing about it too, is this is
a really remote location that was used by Nazi officers,
high ranking Nazi officers and for missile testing. It seems
like a really odd place just to dump counterfeit pound notes. Yeah,

(24:18):
like you could dump those just about anywhere, So I
don't know, maybe there is something to it.

Speaker 3 (24:24):
You're gonna get your scuba.

Speaker 1 (24:25):
You're ready. I got my flippers on already. You can't see,
but I've got them on.

Speaker 3 (24:30):
All right.

Speaker 4 (24:31):
We're gonna move now to an eastern German town along
the Chech border called Deutsch katherinenberg N. It sort of
looks like the alphabet when it's on a page. It's
a lot of letters in a row. Yeah, but there
are people there that think and not only is there
gold here, but possibly the amber room which was this

(24:56):
You just look up pictures of the amber room room.
It's pretty amazing. Chamber of honey and lindseed and kangnac
confused amber panels, gold frame mosaics, marble, precious stones. And
it was a gift of Prussian King Frederick Wilhelm first
to Russia's Peter the Great, once called the eighth Wonder
of the World, and it disappeared during World War two.

Speaker 1 (25:18):
Yeah, the Nazis plundered it from Russia, from the USSR,
and they took it back to Germany, back to Kunigsburg
or Kunigsburg, which was I think now a time part
of Russia again, but at the time during World War
two it was part of Germany or Prussia, and they
had it on public exhibit for like four or five years,

(25:41):
and then at the end of the war it just
vanished and no one's seen it since. And there's a
lot of people who say, well, it was destroyed in
air raids. Other people say it was sunk on the
you know, on a ship that was secretly carrying it.
It's just lost. But there's a pair of treasure hunters
at Deutsch Katherinenburg who searched in the area because they

(26:02):
were sure that, among other things, the amber room panels
were buried there in that town.

Speaker 4 (26:09):
Yeah, and this is probably the worst ending to a
potentially cool story ever, But there was a pair of
searchers searching for this stuff. One of them's father was
a German Air Force officer in World War Two and
in his personal notes, this son thought that he'd found
the exact coordinates of this treasure. So he got together

(26:31):
with another treasure hunter who was another German. He was
a mayor in fact of a nearby town, and they
thought that they had discovered through radar this big rectangular
underground space about sixty feet down. And when I was
reading this, dude, it was so juicy. I was like,
oh boy, what happened? They didn't ever tell anyone. No

(26:53):
one knows if they found any treasure. They didn't say
anything about it. Apparently they had an acrimonious split in
two thousand and eight, and that's just sort of the
end of the story.

Speaker 1 (27:02):
Yeah, I guess the other treasure hunter was staying in
the mayor's town and the mayor kicked him out of town.
It was that acrimonious. Wow, So that's it. Last I
heard was that they didn't find anything in two thousand
and eight, or they did never search for it. Right,
So it was a little lame, but worth putting in there.
I think, Oh, no, it's worth putting in there. It's
just it has no good resolution. No, it's yeah, no,

(27:25):
But you read a lot of fiction, so you can
deal with that, right, that's right. Okay, So in Poland,
south southeastern southwestern Poland, and a little corner down there,
there's something there's a range of mountains called Owl Mountains
and there's a long standing and widespread rumor that's been

(27:47):
there for a very long time. I would say roughly
since around the end of the Second World War. That
would be my guess, that there is a ghost train
and Nazi ghost train loaded with jewels, gold, weapons, art,
basically everything you can think of that the Nazis would
have plundered or pillaged, loaded onto this train, driven into

(28:08):
a tunnel in the mountain, and left there hidden, And
that it's still there and people have been looking for
it for a very long time again since probably about
the end of World War Two. But the thing that's
kept this treasure hunt alive, Chuck, is there really is
a vast, unmapped network of tunnels in the Owl Mountains

(28:29):
that the Nazis dug there in World War two.

Speaker 3 (28:32):
Yeah. So again, some of this is based in fact.

Speaker 4 (28:34):
So that's what'll keep any sort of urban legend alive
if part of it is true.

Speaker 3 (28:40):
And they did.

Speaker 4 (28:40):
They dug these tunnels of mine shafts between forty three
and forty five. It was called the Reisa project, which
means giant in German.

Speaker 3 (28:50):
And no one knows why.

Speaker 4 (28:51):
Some people say it might have been in one of
their weird secret weapons programs. Yeah, some people say it
may have been potentially where Hitler was going to hold
up for his last stand. But it was very, very secretive,
even among the SS, because if you worked on this tunnel,
you had to sign a confidentiality agreement, which just sounds funny.

(29:12):
For some reason, I thought everything about the SS was
so secretive it would just be implicit.

Speaker 1 (29:18):
But right, and what are they going to do, like
take you to court that you violated your NDA or something. Well,
it is odd, isn't it.

Speaker 3 (29:25):
You know what they would do?

Speaker 1 (29:26):
Yeah, they just shoot you. I wouldn't think that you
would need a signed agreement for that. These are the
Nazis we're talking about, you know.

Speaker 4 (29:33):
Yeah, so they were not allowed to have their family
members within forty kilometers radius of this area, and these
tunnels were dug by forced labor from concentration camps nearby. Yeah,
and it might have been a place for gold. It
may still be. But the Soviets ruined all that in
nineteen forty five when they came knocking at the door

(29:55):
and the Nazis fled and basically blew up their own
tunnels behind them.

Speaker 1 (30:01):
Yeah. And I want to say, there's a really good
New Yorker article about the hunt. I can think it's
even called the Hunt for Nazi Gold, about this particular
legend and people looking for it, and they take a second.
I think it's really worth pointing out here too, is
you know, people who get who start looking for treasure,
no matter what the providence of the treasure is, just

(30:22):
get so wrapped up in the treasure and the legends
and the myths and everything that it's easy to forget
things like, well, you're running around a tunnel network that
was dug by people who were literally worked to death
over the course of weeks. They were worked that hard
they died digging these tunnels that hold maybe this legendary treasure.
That is the only thing you can focus on when

(30:43):
you're talking about that. And that's definitely like a part
of the problem that comes along with the job is
you know, forgetting like having blinders on that you forget
the reality of the situation. It's definitely it's important to
remember this that you know, some of this old we're
talking about was pulled from the teeth of dead Holocaust victims.

(31:04):
You know, yeah, it's I remember that too.

Speaker 4 (31:07):
It's like Bill Paxson in Titanic. He needed that reminder
from the old lady, like you're all pumped up looking
for this jewel.

Speaker 3 (31:15):
Yeah, people died. People die here man.

Speaker 1 (31:17):
Yeah, let's get it together, Paxixton rip. Yeah, that was
so jarring when you told me that that first time
few months back.

Speaker 3 (31:27):
Did I break you that news?

Speaker 1 (31:28):
You did? You broke it hard.

Speaker 4 (31:31):
So according to this legend, as far as the al
Mountains go, there was this ghost train, like you said,
and it was a freight train loaded with all kinds
of valuables, artwork, jewels, gold boyyon, bars of gold, and
that they drove that thing in this thing and it
never came out in those tunnels. And the other part

(31:52):
of this story that is rooted in fact is there
were Nazi trains that carried tons and tons of gold
and v and jewelry and paintings. That was one in
particular called the Hungarian Gold Train that was intercepted by
Allied forces in nineteen forty five. So you got a
real train that happened. You've got these real tunnels that

(32:13):
were dug and all of a sudden, this rumor of
the ghost train takes route.

Speaker 1 (32:17):
Yeah, the idea that those two things have come together
in the Owl Mountains.

Speaker 3 (32:22):
Though.

Speaker 1 (32:22):
That's the thing that's never been shown.

Speaker 3 (32:24):
To be true, that's right, And not from a lack
of looking.

Speaker 1 (32:27):
No, not at all. No, there's a lot of people
looking for that there. This one's actually my favorite, weirdly,
probably because it's a shipwreck. I'm just so fascinated by shipwrecks.
So the ship I'm talking about is called the SS Minden,
and it was a German merchant vessel and back in
I think nineteen thirty nine, it was disabled by the

(32:51):
British Royal Navy off of the coast of Iceland, right.
And what's so mysterious about this is that the Minden's
ship register shows that it was just carrying resin from Brazil.
I didn't see what kind of resin, but you can
do all sorts of industrial stuff with the resin, from
making adhesives to plastics to whatever, and then that was it. Right.

(33:13):
But the thing that makes the sinking of the men
In some mysterious is that the ship's captain, rather than
let it fall into British hands, sunk it himself. And
he sunk it in seventy seven hundred feet of water
off the icelandic coast and that's where it lay undiscovered
until I believe twenty seventeen when a mysterious ship showed

(33:34):
up and started looking around the Icelandic coast and it
believes that it found it.

Speaker 4 (33:39):
Yeah, I mean, it's definitely a little odd to sink
a ship full of resin only right. It raises a
little bit of suspicion, like you said, even though you
can do some things with it. It kind of stuck out
to me as like what else is on that boat?
But yeah, in twenty seventeen, the Coast Guard and Iceland
bordered a vessel of the seabed construct Or.

Speaker 1 (34:01):
It's like an unnervingly bland name.

Speaker 3 (34:04):
It's so boring.

Speaker 4 (34:05):
Yeah, it's not like the Well, now I can't all
boat names are kind of dumb.

Speaker 1 (34:10):
The Hercules of the sea, that's what I would name
in my boat.

Speaker 3 (34:15):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (34:15):
Sure.

Speaker 4 (34:18):
So they intercepted it. They said, hey, what are you
guys doing here? And they said, oh, well, this boat
has been leased by a group of British folks who
are searching for the wreck of the s S. Mendon
And they were like what They're like, haven't you heard
that that was just full of resin? And they said

(34:40):
clearly not, because we're spending one hundred thousand dollars a
day to lease this boat, which frankly is not that
great of a deal, but we couldn't talk them down
any So that I mean, if someone is spending one
hundred thousand dollars a day, that means that makes me
think they know something that we don't know.

Speaker 1 (34:54):
Yeah, And so the Icelandic press actually reported that they
think that the you know something we don't know, so
much so that they interviewed the crew, and the crew
said the official story is that they're looking for a
couple hundred million dollars worth of gold that they believe
was hidden in the safe on that ship, but that
the real story, the real prize for what they're looking for,

(35:17):
is only known to a handful of people, high ranking
people on the boat. Yeah, that man left at that
which man the Icelandic press knows how to spin a mystery,
if you ask me.

Speaker 4 (35:29):
Yeah, I mean that really added this extra air of
mystery on top of everything else, which is, oh, sure
we think there's one hundred million dollars plus in gold,
but we're really there for another secret reason.

Speaker 1 (35:41):
Yeah, if a hundred million dollars worth of gold is
your decoy cover story? Man, You're onto something impressive. I
can't wait until they raised that thing, because from what
I could tell, everything everything pointed to the fact that
they did successfully find the Minden. That that is the
minden they found. But as far as I know, they
have an gone down and salvage.

Speaker 3 (36:01):
Did it all get James Cameron on it?

Speaker 1 (36:04):
Who knows? Maybe I mean the Amber Room was sunk
and maybe it happened to be on the SS Minden,
So maybe we'll have the Amber Room back in the
next ten years. Well, hey man, you said today's magic
second ad break word James Cameron, which means we're now
obligated to take our second message break Do you want
to take it now or shall we have taken it

(36:27):
three minutes ago?

Speaker 3 (36:28):
No, let's take it now.

Speaker 1 (36:29):
Okay, we'll be right back. Everybody want to learn about
a terror's art and college lad Actel, how to take
a perfect boom, all about fractalk is gone.

Speaker 3 (36:36):
That's another hunt the.

Speaker 2 (36:39):
Everything should know.

Speaker 1 (36:45):
Word up, Jerry. All right, Chuck. So there's places where
you can physically go to search for legendary gold. You
can also just enter the international gold trade and you

(37:08):
can turn up alarmingly Nazi gold that was kind of
lost you could put it after the war.

Speaker 4 (37:17):
Yeah, this is really interesting. In nineteen forty six, as
part of reconstruction and restoration all over Europe, there was
a committee for him called the Tripartite Gold Commission or
the Tripartite Commission for the Restitution of Monetary Gold. And
this is formed by the US, by the French, and

(37:38):
by the Brits, and basically the whole jam here was,
let's find all this gold, let's account for all this
gold that we discovered as allies, and then let's redistribute
it back to where we if we can trace it
such to where it was looted, to the banks and
central banks, and even if we can find out human individuals,

(38:00):
that would be even better.

Speaker 1 (38:02):
And it was strictly to I believe, strictly to the
European central banks that had a claim to have it
having been looted from after the war. And then in
the late nineties there was a real push to try
to compensate the survivors and the heirs of the Holocaust
who also had been robbed too. So a lot of

(38:25):
gold that some countries still had claim on as part
of this London Conference on Nazi Gold that was held
in nineteen ninety seven. Some of the countries that said, well,
actually we're still owed a lot of this gold. They said, okay,
well we'll take a portion of this gold and divert
it to humanitarian groups who will use it to for

(38:47):
reparations to Holocaust victims, which is pretty cool. The big
outlier in this was a little tiny country that remained
neutral during World War Two, at least on paper, Switzerland,
who not only it turns out, was secretly assisting the
Nazis and laundering their gold in exchange for money that

(39:07):
the Nazis could go use to fund its war machine.
They hung on to this Nazi gold and from what
I can tell, still have all of the Nazi gold
that they had after World War Two, including gold that
was made from that zon gold melted down, personal effects,
and gold teeth that Switzerland apparently still has in its

(39:29):
gold reserves and is not willing to give up.

Speaker 3 (39:32):
Yeah, that was really surprising.

Speaker 4 (39:34):
This all came out because of a historical paper that
was part of that conference. It showed that the US
had a lot of this gold that they melted down
after the war and did return to the central banks
in Europe as part of an effort to stabilize their
economy there. But finding out that Switzerland did this, and
that Switzerland was neutral, and that the Geneva Convention, which

(39:58):
explicitly bars this kind of thing, comes from Geneva, Switzerland, right,
is like the ultimate irony here, and it's I just
want to know if there's more to this. There's got
to be something else.

Speaker 3 (40:09):
Right. They're good people.

Speaker 1 (40:11):
Sure, but I mean countries do bad things for sure,
you know, even if there are good people that live there,
there's I mean, from everything I could tell, it came
out in the nineties that it was pretty clear Switzerland
had served as money launderers for the Nazis without anybody
realizing it for decades.

Speaker 3 (40:31):
Wow.

Speaker 1 (40:32):
Yeah, it is pretty shocking, for sure. I think the
thing that gets me though, is the idea that there's
a lot of gold in the international gold trade today
that can be traced back to missing Nazi gold, that
it's not necessarily buried in the side of a mountain

(40:53):
in Poland or under a small town along the German
Czech border. That's it's out and about being used as
currency or as a commodity today in the international gold trade.
That to me is the most astounding part of all
of this.

Speaker 3 (41:09):
Yeah, how do you trace gold?

Speaker 1 (41:11):
They have a very strict system for it, but it's
only as strict as how it's observed. Oh okay, So, like,
for example, in twenty nineteen, the Simon Weisenthal Center, which
has spent a lot of time hunting down Nazi war
criminals in the I think starting in the sixties, seventies
and eighties, they accused Venezuela and specifically the administration of

(41:37):
Nicholas Maduro of trafficking in Nazi gold that he sold
over the course of his administration so far something like
seventy seven tons of gold. And they're like, you know what,
we're pretty sure that that was Nazi gold that was
transferred late in the war to Spain and then on

(41:57):
to South America to help fund a fourth Reich, a
rebuilding of the Nazi regime among the war criminals living there,
And they think that this was some of that gold,
and that Maduro has been selling it to kind of
bankroll his his country and his his his regime. Wow,
isn't that nuts? It is nuts?

Speaker 3 (42:20):
Is nuts?

Speaker 1 (42:21):
Yeah? It is absolutely the Like I can't remember how
I came across as I think it was a house
stuff works article. There's a couple on them, and it
just started digging further and further, and it's just one
of those things where it's it just takes such a
great left turn, great meaning like just surprising and unexpected,
where it's like, you know, you're going from treasure hunters

(42:41):
arguing and kicking one another out of little towns and
and kicking around mountains in Poland to the international gold
trade trafficking and Nazi gold. Still it's it's just just
a crazy story.

Speaker 4 (42:56):
Yeah, it's it's pretty mind blowing and disappointing in a
lot of ways.

Speaker 1 (42:59):
Yeah, for sure, because again, remember a lot of that gold,
those gold bars are melted down gold teeth taken from
Holocaust victims or gold wedding rings taken from Holocaust victims,
and now they're used to as part of an international
form of currency.

Speaker 3 (43:14):
Yeah, boo boo.

Speaker 1 (43:17):
Well that's it. You got anything else?

Speaker 3 (43:19):
Got nothing else?

Speaker 1 (43:20):
If you want to know more about Nazi gold, there's
a lot you can read. It's quite a rabbit hole
you can go down if you want to, So you
could start by going to HowStuffWorks dot com. And checking
out their articles on it. And since I said how
stuff works, it's been a while, that means it's time
for a listener may all.

Speaker 3 (43:39):
That's right.

Speaker 4 (43:41):
I was thinking that would be a good movie about
World War two era Nazi gold hunters. But it's sort
of like Three Kings already did that.

Speaker 3 (43:49):
But that was a Gulf War.

Speaker 1 (43:51):
Yeah. And then also there was that one museum men.
I think they were brought into kind of make sure
that the paintings that were looted we're not.

Speaker 3 (44:01):
Yeah, yeah, sure, whatever. I didn't see that. What was
it called? It wouldn't call museum and what was it?

Speaker 1 (44:04):
Almost positive of his museum?

Speaker 3 (44:06):
Man? Was it? Whill you look that up? While I
read listener? Real? All right, because that's a terrible name.

Speaker 1 (44:11):
I agree, I'm going to call this.

Speaker 4 (44:13):
We cited someone that we probably shouldn't have cited, and
this is from anonymous. Hey, guys, really enjoyed this show
this week. On universal Basic income, just a heads up,
you cited the conservative economist Charles Murray and his justifications
for introducing UBI to the American economy. I'm sure you
didn't realize this, but Murray is a particular favorite of

(44:34):
white supremacist, oh Boy, for his views on genetics and
their contribution to social inequality between whites and people of color.
He has a book called the Bell Curve that is
often cited as a data proven evidence for white supremacy.
It's also largely been debunked as pseudoscience.

Speaker 3 (44:52):
Wow.

Speaker 4 (44:52):
He links to a Southern poverty law center's write up
for our own reference, and he says, I will no
doubt keep on listening.

Speaker 3 (44:59):
Guys. I'm sure it was unintentional.

Speaker 4 (45:01):
Please take more care though in curating your sources, especially
if it might throw your narrative for a loop. And
that is from anonymous, and boy, Anonymous, you were right.
We had no idea, should have done a little bit
more digging there. So please everyone realize, and anyone that
listens to the show probably realizes we certainly did not
mean for that to be the case when we cited

(45:22):
mister Murray.

Speaker 1 (45:23):
Now, we kind of biffed that one big time. No
offense intended. Hopefully you didn't take it, and thank you
for a very measured and level and even handed correction.

Speaker 3 (45:34):
That's right, it was very kind.

Speaker 1 (45:36):
And by the way, Chuck, it's monuments men.

Speaker 3 (45:39):
Yeah, I knew there's something about it that didn't sound right.

Speaker 1 (45:42):
But there is a show called museum Men that's been
on since twenty fourteen.

Speaker 3 (45:47):
But they act sexy, do sense?

Speaker 1 (45:50):
They kind of They make displays for museums. They're craftsmen,
craft people. Okay, okay, so museum men monuments men, two
different things, that's right. And if you want to get
in touch with us, you can join us on the internet.
Send us an email, wrap it up, spank it on

(46:11):
the bottom, and send it off to stuff podcast at
iHeartRadio dot com.

Speaker 2 (46:18):
Stuff you Should Know is a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 4 (46:21):
For more podcasts my heart Radio, visit the iHeartRadio app,
Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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