Polish divers say they have found a German World War II shipwreck that may help solve a decade-old mystery about an ornate chamber in the Amber Room, which the Nazis had captured from a picture palace in Russia Was robbed
Decorated with amber and gold, the room was part of the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg. It was last seen in the Baltic port city of Königsberg, Germany, but now in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
The Karlsruhe steamer sailed sail from Königsberg in 1945 with a heavy cargo before Soviet warplanes threw it off the coast of Poland.
Divers from the Baltichek group say they have found the wreckage of Karlsruhe.
“We have been searching for the wreck since last year when we realized what might be the most interesting, undiscovered story at the bottom of the Baltic Sea,” Tomas Stachura, one of the divers, said in a statement.
“It is practically intact. In its grip we discovered military vehicles, porcelain and many boxes with unknowns. “
Karlsruhe was participating in Operation Hannibal, one of the largest maritime evacuations in history that helped more than one million German soldiers and civilians from East Prussia flee the Soviet advance at the end of World War II.
Documentation from time to time shows that Köngsburg left the ship in a hurry with a large cargo and 1,083 people on board.
“All this, put together, stimulates the human imagination. Finding crates with German steamers and material as a yet unknown rest at the bottom of the Baltic Sea could be important to the whole story, ”said Tomáš Zvára, another of the divers.
The amber room was built in Prussia and then given to Peter the Great of Russia in 1716 as present.
The Nazis destroyed it and took it to Königsberg, from where it disappeared during the allied bombing raids on the city. Many believed that it was destroyed. Russian craftsmen have constructed replicas of the rooms at Catherine’s Palace.