Thursday, March 3, 2011

Amber Room Update

Regular readers of this blog will know that along with covering my primary interests of the American Revolution and U.S. Civil War, I like to occasionally post items that cover other periods of history in which I am also interested.

With an interest in World War II, I have long been fascinated by the story of the Amber Room. I posted a news story on it back in October, and it is still the MOST widely read post in the history of this blog.

Below is a second news article by the United Kingdom's Daily Mail on the Amber Room from January 2010 - absolutely fascinating stuff. In it, a historian claimed that he found the Amber Room somewhere in Kaliningrad, Russia, which used to be German East Prussia. I will see if I find an update on this article as well as more current news articles on the Amber Room. Stay tuned!

'Priceless' Amber Room of the Tsars, looted and hidden by the Nazis, is 'found' by Russian treasure hunter

By Allan Hall

The Amber Room of the Tsars - one of the greatest missing treasures of WW2 that was looted by the Nazis during their invasion of the Soviet Union - may have been found.A Russian treasure hunter is currently excavating in the enclave of Kaliningrad where he has discovered a World War II era bunker that the local German high command used in the battle for the city in 1945.If Sergei Trifonov is correct then he has solved one of the greatest riddles left over from the war - and will make himself into a multi-millionaire. He anticipates that he will break into the bunker by the end of the month to find the treasure.

Crafted entirely out of amber, gold and precious stones, the room made of numerous panels was a masterpiece of baroque art and widely regarded as the world's most important art treasure. When its 565 candles were lit the Amber Room was said to 'glow a fiery gold'. It is estimated to be worth around £150million, but many consider it priceless. It was presented to Peter the Great in 1716 by the King of Prussia. Later, Catherine the Great commissioned a new generation of craftsmen to embellish the room and moved it from the Winter Palace in St Petersburg to her new summer abode in Tsarskoye Selo, outside the city.

The room was seized by the marauding Germans during their onslaught on Russia in 1941. Prussian count Sommes Laubach, the Germans' 'art protection officer' and holder of a degree in art history, supervised the room's transport to Koenigsberg Castle in what was then East Prussia.

In January 1945, after air raids and a savage ground assault on the city, the room was lost. Ever since the Amber Room has become the new El Dorado, a quest that enthralled the wealthy and the poor alike. The Maigret author Georges Simenon founded the Amber Room Club to track it down once and for all. Everyone had a different theory of what might have befallen the work. The German official in charge of the amber shipment said the crates were in a castle that burned down in an air raid.

Others think the room sank to the bottom of the Baltic Sea in a torpedoed steamer used by the Nazis, or that it was hacked up by Red Army troops and sent home like sticks of rock as souvenirs of their conquest. Historian Trifonov, however, believes he has solved the riddle and that the treasure lies in the bunker 40 feet down in the soil of Koenigsberg. 'Believe me or not, it's there, 12 metres down in the sub-soil,' he said, pointing to the entrance of a bunker that sheltered the Nazi high command in the last hours of the Battle of Koenigsberg.

'This place was built in February 1945 with two aims: accommodating the headquarters of General Otto Lasch and storing the treasures of Konigsberg, a city under siege.'Königsberg, in what was then German East Prussia, is now Kaliningrad, the capital of Russia's westernmost region of the same name.

To test his theory, Trifonov has begun to probe the soil under the bunker using a ground-penetrating radar and has started to pump out water. He has already unearthed a brick-lined room. The bunker is 1,000 yards from the site of the castle that demolished in 1967. He says he has 'information' from archives that this is the repository of the fabled room, but he isn't saying where his sources are. The governor of Kaliningrad appears convinced and has provided financing for the dig. But many remain sceptical.

'He's a good storyteller but he can't prove anything,' said Vladimir Kulakov, an expert at Russia's Institute of Archaeology, who has also dug in the soil under the bunker in the search for the Amber Room. Anatoly Valuyev, deputy director of Kaliningrad's History and Art Museum, which takes in the bunker, was more hopeful. 'It's good that people think that the treasure is there. They have energy and the museum gains from this,' he said. 'We still hope that the Amber Room is somewhere in Kaliningrad,' he said. 'There are plenty of underground sites left to explore. If they don't find it here, they'll look elsewhere.'


  1. Thanks for posting... seems March/April is a good time to begin digging in Germany and Eastern Europe. There is yet another report, dated 3/23/2011 about a possible bunker with pieces of the Amber Room about to be opened in Germany.
    Have you read "The Amber Room" by Levy and Scott-Clark. Great read!

  2. Sean,
    New book on Amber Room mystery (novel based on historical and other facts)you might find intriguing. Would like to know what you think of it - here's the link below:

    Tom Guest (

    April 14, 2011 11:30 PM

  3. Tom,

    Thanks for the tip! I will look forward to reading that new book!


  4. Please note the dates of the last viewing of the Amber Room (see Wikipedia).

    "German soldiers disassembled the Amber Room within 36 hours under the supervision of two experts. On 14 October 1941, Rittmeister Graf Solms-Laubach commanded the evacuation of 27 crates to Königsberg in East Prussia, for storage and display in the town's castle. On 13 November 1941, the newspaper Königsberger Allgemeine Zeitung reported on an exhibition of part of the Bernsteinzimmer [Amber Room] in Königsberg Castle."

    Please then note the date of the bombing of Pearl Harbour and the entry of the United States of America into World War 2 (see Wikipedia).

    "The attack on Pearl Harbor (called Hawaii Operation or Operation A1 by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters (Operation Z in planning)and the Battle of Pearl Harbor) was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan)".

    Did the recovery of the Amber Room commence then?

    "On 22 February 1942, President Roosevelt reluctantly ordered General Douglas MacArthur to abandon his hard-pressed army in the Philippines and assume the office of Supreme Commander, South West Pacific Area (SWPA) with headquarters in Australia".

    Did the Amber Room end up in Australia?

    The main rumour in the 1960's was that it was hidden in a tunnel under the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne (entry through the Fern Gully).

    Can anyone confirm if this area was excavated?

  5. The Amber Room is a classic tale of suspense and the debut of a strong new voice in the world of the international thriller.

  6. Amber Room is a part of Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo that is located near St. Petersburg in russia. Russian craftsmen created amber room in 18th century.The room was very beautiful it was preserved in the country for over 200 years.Amber Room was found in Germany in 1997, and it was discovered by a German cop.


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