Whydah Gally: Explorer discusses shipwreck find in 2008
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A British diver claimed to have found lost millions belonging to Germany’s wartime tyrant a stash that became known as “Hitler’s lost gold”. The find was made 450 metres deep in the Baltic Sea aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff ship, which was sunk by Soviets in January 1945 killing 9,500 on board. Phil Sayers claimed a radio operator on the vessel named Rudi Lange said he had seen the crate of gold. He added: “We know from first hand accounts a whole load of lorries turned up alongside and transferred a cargo of high security on board on the ship.
“This is all from accounts with survivors on the night before they set sail.
“Rudi Lange went down onto the quayside to have a smoke and just happened to be there when the gold bullion transport arrived.
“He did not know what was being taken on at first, but it was not until 1972 when he met up with another survivor – who was one of the guards who had been tasked with looking after the gold and he revealed what was in those huge cases.
“Everything the survivor told me I believe to be fact, he smuggled out the gold from East Prussian Reichsbank.
“Looking at the state of the wreck in 1988, whatever is onboard would be completely lost under a pile of huge metal plates.”
Mr Sayers initially explored the ship that year, and said that he believed gold remained alongside the vessel as bars across windows indicated a “strong room” was storing valuables, including gold.
He said the structure was completely broken up and left in a pile on the seabed – which would have left the crates buried below.
Mr Sayers also took some portholes to the surface, to be placed in a survivors’ museum in memory.
But he realised there were bars across the windows – suggesting they were from a “strong room” that would have been used to store valuables.
The diver, from Essex, believes that these clues point to the existence of the gold, as he claimed in 2016.
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The Nazis were known for taking valuables including art works, gold and other objects during the Third Reich.
In subsequent years, divers have visited the site that now holds an international war grave status, meaning no one can get within 500 meters of the wreckage.
The ship’s remains are now under large steel plates, as the past treasure hunters tried blowing the wreck apart to get to the gold.
With the vessel so protected, researchers may have to wait a long time to confirm whether Hitler’s gold was truly aboard the vessel.
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