A World War II ship was found on the bottom of the Baltic Sea that divers believe may contain the legendary Amber Chamber.
The wreck of the German cruiser Karlsruhe was discovered off the Polish coast by divers who explored the area in search of the ship which was sunk in April 1945.
Tomasz Stachura of the Baltictech dive group, which is in charge of examining the wrecks of the Baltic, said: “It seems that after months of searching, we have finally arrived at the wreck of the Karlsruhe steamer.
A WWII ship was found on the bottom of the Baltic Sea that divers believe may contain the legendary Amber Chamber
The Amber Room (pictured in Russia in 1917), which was filled with amber, gold and precious jewels, was looted by the Nazis in 1941 and its contents mysteriously disappeared in 1945
“We have been looking for this ship for over a year.
“The wreck was found on the bottom of the Baltic Sea several dozen kilometers north of Ustka.
‘It rests at a depth of 88 meters (290 feet). It is practically intact. In its holds we discovered military vehicles, porcelain and many crates with contents hitherto unknown ”.
He added that the discovery could provide groundbreaking information about the disappearance of the legendary Amber Chamber.
“It was in Königsberg that the Amber Chamber was last seen.
The wreck of the German cruiser Karlsruhe was discovered off the Polish coast by divers who explored the area in search of the ship which was sunk in April 1945
The ship carried 1,083 refugees and 360 tons of cargo and has been underwater at 290 feet for decades
Divers discovered military vehicles, porcelain and many crates with hitherto unknown contents
The shipwreck was found on the bottom of the Baltic Sea several dozen kilometers north of Ustka
“From there the Karlsruhe left on its last journey with a big load.”
For three centuries, the Amber Room, which is sometimes dubbed the eighth wonder of the world, was located in the Imperial Palace of Catherine near St. Petersburg.
Covering more than 590 square feet and containing over 6 tons of amber, it was dismantled by German troops during the occupation of the USSR.
In 1941, the Amber Room was stored in the then East Prussian city of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), and then disappeared.
Divers found the shipwreck at a depth of 88 meters and say most of it is practically intact
Explorers say the ship was in Königsberg around the time the Amber Room was last seen
Karlsruhe took part in Operation Hannibal, a German naval operation that involved the evacuation by sea of German troops and civilians
The ship is not to be confused with the Karlsruhe, also recently discovered off the Norwegian coast, which sank in 1940
Baltictech’s Tomasz Zwara added: “The history and available documentation show that the Karlsruhe was leaving the port in a hurry and with a large load”
Divers now believe that the 196-foot-long Karlsruhe, which was used towards the end of the war to evacuate the Germans from what was then East Prussia, may be involved in the disappearance.
The ship is not to be confused with the Karlsruhe, also recently discovered off the Norwegian coast, which sank in 1940.
Baltictech’s Stachura told Polish media: “ The German steamship Karlsruhe, which after Gustloff, Goyi and Steuben was another unit participating in Operation Hannibal, left for its final voyage from Pilawa on April 12, 1945 and was the l last ship to leave Królewiec before the Russians took it.
The remains of the Amber Room after it was seized by the Nazis, who packed the amber panels into 27 crates and shipped them to Germany, where they disappeared and have not been seen since.
“It took 1,083 refugees and 360 tons of cargo with it. He embarked on his last journey under a strong escort.
Sunk on April 13, 1945 in the morning. Only 113 people were saved.
“We don’t want to get excited, but if the Germans were to take the Amber Chamber across the Baltic Sea, then the Karlsruhe Steamer was their last chance …”.
Baltictech’s Tomasz Zwara added: “ The history and available documentation show that Karlsruhe was leaving the port in great haste and with a large load. […] All this put together stimulates the imagination. ‘
The story of the missing amber room sacked by the Nazis
The amber room was originally a gift to Peter the Great (pictured
The Amber Room was originally supposed to be an amber cabinet, a gift from Frederick William I of Prussia to Peter the Great, who admired the work during a visit to his castle in 1716.
But instead of a wardrobe, it was decided to use the panels as wall coverings, surrounding them with gilded carvings, mirrors and even more amber panels.
The room was made up of panels containing six tonnes of amber resin, it took 10 years to complete and is valued at around £ 250 million in today’s money.
The 16 feet of puzzle-style panels were constructed from over 100,000 perfectly matched pieces of amber.
In 1755, he was transferred to the Catherine Palace in Tsarkoe Selo, 17 miles south of the Russian imperial capital of St. Petersburg.
In 1941, the approaching Nazi army surrounded the city, then known by the Soviet name of Leningrad. Tsarkoe Selo was one of the outlying areas occupied by the Germans.
The Russians tried to hide the walls behind the wallpaper.
But the Nazis knew what was behind the mundane cover and dismantled the room, a process that took 36 hours.
Believing that the Prussian gift rightfully belonged to them, they packed the amber panels in 27 crates and shipped them to Germany.
But the contents of the room vanished in 1945 and were never seen again.