Polish divers say they have found the wreck of a German WWII ship that could help solve a decades-old mystery about the whereabouts of the Amber Room, a decorated chamber that the Nazis looted from a building tsarist in Russia.
Decorated with amber and gold, the room was part of the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg. It was last seen in Königsberg, then a Baltic port city in Germany but now the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
The steamship Karlsruhe sailed from Königsberg in 1
Divers from the Baltictech group say they have found the wreck of the Karlsruhe.
“We have been looking for the wreck since last year, when we realized there may be the most interesting and unknown story lying at the bottom of the Baltic Sea,” Tomasz Stachura, one of the divers, said in a statement.
“It is practically intact. In its holds we discovered military vehicles, porcelain and many crates with as yet unknown contents “.
The Karlsruhe had taken part in Operation Hannibal, one of the largest sea evacuations in history, which helped more than a million German soldiers and East Prussian civilians escape the Soviet advance towards the end of World War II.
Documentation from the time suggests that the ship left Königsberg quickly with a large cargo and 1,083 people on board.
“All this, put together, stimulates the human imagination. Finding the German steamer and crates with as yet unknown contents resting on the bottom of the Baltic Sea could be significant for the whole story, ”said Tomasz Zwara, another of the divers.
The Amber Room was built in Prussia and then donated to Peter the Great of Russia in 1716.
The Nazis dismantled it and took it to Königsberg, from where it disappeared during the Allied bombing raids on the city. Many believe it was destroyed. Russian craftsmen built a replica of the Catherine Palace room.