EXCLUSIVE: Hidden railway track discovered in Nazi bunker ‘could lead to the long-lost Gold Train Amber Room’ that was plundered by Hitler’s men
- The Amber Room was looted by the Nazis during the Second World War
- It was built for Russian tsar Peter the Great in the 1700s and packed with amber
History buffs say they may have stumbled upon the hiding place of the long-lost Amber Room after uncovering hidden rail tracks and wagon wheels at a former Nazi bunker.
The Jaćwież Historical and Exploratory Association came across the surprise discovery while digging at the Mamerki bunker complex in northern Poland.
The tracks of the narrow-gauge railroad were uncovered five-feet below the surface in an area of flat open ground that had recently been cleared of trees.
The complex was the headquarters of Hitler’s German Army Supreme Command, and was just a few kilometres from Hitler’s Wolf’s Lair bunker.
Although it is known that a rail line ran from Mamerki to the Wolf’s Lair, there have not been any accounts or documents that a railway line existed inside the complex itself.
The hidden railway track and wagon wheels were discovered while digging at the Mamerki bunker complex in northern Poland
A visualisation of what the train tracks may have looked when it ran from Mamerki to the Wolf’s Lair
The Amber Room (pictured in the Catherin Palace in 1917) was a gift to Russian tsar Peter the Great from the King of Prussia in 1716
The Jaćwież Historical and Exploratory Association came across the surprise discovery while digging at the Mamerki bunker complex in northern Poland
Posting a photo on social media, Bartlomiej Plebańczyk from the Mamerki museum said: ‘This is a huge surprise as we did not know that there was a railroad inside the complex.
‘Could it be the Gold Train with the Amber Room? We’ll find out soon enough….’.
He added: ‘We don’t know why this track was even made here.
‘What did the Germans carry in the wagons and why did someone bother to cover it with a one and a half metre layer of earth.
The room, built for Russian tsar Peter the Great in the 1700s and packed with amber, gold and precious jewels, was looted by the Nazis in 1941.
Upon their arrival at Catherine the Great’s White Palace near St. Petersburg, they dismantled the room, putting the precious contents on a train to Koenigsberg Castle, in what was then East Prussia, now just two hours from the bunker.
In January 1945 it mysteriously disappeared after air raids and a savage ground assault on the city.
While some claimed it had been destroyed by bombs, others suggested the Nazis had spirited it away to safety.
The Mamerki bunker was the headquarters of Hitler’s German Army Supreme Command , and was just a few kilometres from Hitler’s Wolf’s Lair bunker
A reconstruction of the Amber Room opened in the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, outside St. Petersburg, Russia in 2003
Peter the Great of Russia was presented with the Amber Room’s panels in the 1700s to commemorate a treaty between his country and Prussia
Some purported witnesses reported seeing 40 wagons moving away from the castle under a cloak of secrecy after the city fell to the Red Army.
The search has been on ever since.
In May last year, the Mamerki museum once again raised hopes that the Amber Room could be hidden on its grounds following the discovery of a network of secret tunnels.
But excavations revealed that they were empty.
How an Amber Cabinet became the Amber Room
The Amber Room was originally supposed to have been an amber cabinet, a gift from Friedrich-Wilhelm I of Prussia to Peter the Great, who admired the work on a visit to his castle in 1716.
But instead of a cabinet, it was decided to use the panels as wall coverings, surrounding them with gilded carving, mirrors and yet more amber panels.
The Amber Room was built for Russian tsar Peter the Great in the 1700s
In total, the room used 450kg of amber, and was finally completed in 1770.
The room was so fragile it had a permanent caretaker, and when the Russians tried to hide the crumbling walls behind wallpaper.
But the Nazis knew what was behind the mundane covering, and went about dismantling the room – a process which took 36 hours.
They believed, as a Prussian gift, it belonged to them.
But the room, taken back to the castle where it had originally been created for Friedrich-Wilhelm, was never seen again after 1945.
Some claimed it had been destroyed in the bombings, but others say the panels were spirited away by the Nazis keen to keep hold of their loot.
But the Russians weren’t willing to give up on this crowning glory, and began a replica in 1982.
It took more than 20 years and cost more than $12million, but visitors to the Catherine Palace, near St Petersburg, can now see the grand room for themselves.
Sources: Catherine Palace and the Smithsonian