Polish divers have uncovered the wreckage of a German World War Two ship which may help to solve the mystery of the Amber Room – a stolen tsarist Russian chamber that has not been seen since 1945.
The room, built in 18th century Prussia as a gift to Tsar Peter the Great, was considered an eighth wonder of the world for the amber and gold leaf panels it was adorned with. However the chamber was looted by Nazi troops during World War Two – with the panels removed for reassembly. It was last spotted towards the end of the conflict in the former German port city of Koenigsberg, now Kaliningrad, Russia.
“We have been looking for the wreckage since last year when we realised there could be the most interesting, undiscovered story lying at the bottom of the Baltic Sea,” diver Tomasz Stachura said in a statement.
“It is practically intact. In its holds, we discovered military vehicles, porcelain and many crates with contents still unknown. The ship had been part of Operation Hannibal, a mass sea evacuation designed to help more than one million German troops and civilians from East Prussia escape the Soviet advance towards the conclusion of the war.
Documentation from the time suggests the boat left Koenigsberg in a hurry, with a large cargo and 1,083 people on board.
“All this, put together, stimulates the human imagination”, said diver Tomasz Zwara.
“Finding the German steamer and the crates with contents as yet unknown resting on the bottom of the Baltic Sea may be significant for the whole story,”