S6: March Mysteries: The Amber Room
So it's easily the most expensive missing masterpiece in the world over five hundred million dollars worth of elaborately carved NBC jeweled Amber Wall panels. Nowhere to be found with that kind of money on the line. How far would you go to possess the eighth wonder of the world? If you enjoy this episode on the Amber Room check out our podcast gone. Follow gone free on spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Listener discretion is advised. This episode includes discussions of murder and assault that some people may find offensive. We advise extreme caution for children under thirteen on August twentieth. Nineteen eighty-seven in Altdorf Germany. Beech tree leaves drifted to the ground. Blanketing the grounds of an ancient castle and covering the ritual sickly disemboweled body of George Stein famed investigator of the missing Amber Room. The amber room which hasn't been seen since its disappearance from Nazi controlled Kennex. Berg Castle in April of Nineteen forty-five is easily the most expensive missing masterpiece in the world. The rooms elaborately carved in bejeweled amber wall panels are worth over five hundred million dollars with that kind of money on the line. How far would you go to possess the amber room? Would you lie? Would you steal? Would you kill hi? I'm Richard and I'm Ali. Welcome to gone the show where. We searched for everything missing each week. We examined mysterious disappearances and the theories they spawned from the Mbaru to Michael Rockefeller Kosovo paintings to the skin language the roanoke colony to the lost Russian cosmonauts if disappeared. We're looking for it. If you WANNA listen to more episodes you can find them on your favorite podcast directory or on our website. Podcast DOT COM this episode. We are focusing on the amber room which disappeared from the Baltic port city of Konigsberg in April. Nineteen forty five. He may be scratching your head right now. And wondering how on earth an entire room can disappear to clarify. The amber room wasn't actually a room. The name refers to a set of towering amber golden jewel encrusted wall panels. That could be moved to different rooms. And the Amber Room did move many times Andrea sluiter. An architect and Gottfried Vo from carver began construction on the amber panels in seventeen a one in order to impress the newly crowned King of Prussia. Frederick the first that's pressure with a P. Not Russia with an R. Prussia was a Germanic kingdom that officially formed the same year. That construction began on the Amber Powell's unfortunately schlueter and Wolfram never completed their work. And the panels ended up stored in Frederick the first castle. Basement Frederick the first son Frederick. William was eager to give the amber wall panels away so in seventeen. Sixteen Frederick William Gifted the amber rooms wall panels to the czar of Russia. Peter the great but it wasn't until seventeen seventy that catherine the great refurbished and finished the amber room. The renovated amber room glowed golden in the sunlight and looked like it belonged in a fairytale. The elaborately carved amber frescoes accented with glittering jewels dazzled visitors from around the world amber framed mirrors and four vibrant stone mosaics complimented the wall panels completed amber room remained a cherished installation at the Catherine Palace for one hundred and seventy years until the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union on June twenty second nineteen forty one and two league Kucherov. Young Soviet curator was in charge of evacuating all of the most valuable treasures from the Catherine Palace. Before the Nazi soldiers closed in on Saint Petersburg Kucherov was determined to save the Amber Room. But when he tried to remove one of the panels the amber crumbled so Kucherov decided to hide them. He overlaid the amber room panels with fake cloth walls but when the Nazis seized Catherine Palace in September of nineteen forty one. They discovered the amber room behind the cloth walls. Almost immediately it took six Nazi soldiers. Only thirty six to take down the amber rooms wall panels and ship them to Konigsberg in historic pressure. The Nazis put the amber room on display at Berg Castle in the Knight's hall for the next four years until April of nineteen forty five. When Soviet forces fought the Nazis for control of Kennex pig after the Nazi surrendered on April Ninth? The amber room mysteriously disappeared our first theory hinges on the possibility that the Nazis smuggled the amber room out of Koenigsberg on the doomed ship the Ville Helm Gustaf. Our second theory is that the Nazis hid the amber room in a secret bunker or a salt mine. This is the theory that George Stein endorsed. And we'll investigate. Whether his search for that Nazi bunker ended in his murderer. Our third theory revolves around a stunning possibility. What if Soviet troops were the ones who stole or destroyed the amber room in April of nineteen forty five? And what if the Soviet government created an elaborate hoax to hide the role of their own? Soldiers played in the loss of a cultural. Treasure follows down the rabbit hole as we delve into three tales of intrigue and untimely death. Our first theory is that the Nazis stored the amber room's panels aboard the Ville Helm gustloff which sunk to investigate this theory. We need to travel to the ocean floor. Where the wreckage of the film? Gustaf lies covered in Barnacles and fishing nets. Looters and grave robbers have stripped ship of most of its valuables but some divers remain convinced that the amber room's panels still I nestled in crates somewhere on the sunken ship Ville. Home Gustloff was a sizable cruise liner at six hundred eighty four feet and one inch in length. It was just under two hundred feet shorter than the titanic. But it beat the titanic in the one competition. You Never WanNa win six times. As many people died when it sank the Ville Gustaf started life as a cruise ship for the Nazi Organization. Kroft Freud or strength through joy when the Nazis began their invasion of Europe in nineteen thirty. Nine it was converted first into a hospital ship and then into a barracks ship for U Boat Trainees. It remained docked in Gdynia. Poland until nineteen forty-five when it became part of operation. Hannibal the goal of Operation Hannibal was to evacuate Nazi soldiers and civilians from Eastern Prussia by C. Before the Soviet Army claimed the region the film Gustaf was one of hundreds of ships taking part in the evacuation hundreds of Nazi soldiers and thousands of civilians streamed aboard the film. Gustaf desperate to the Soviets several people later came forward and admitted they also saw Nazi agents smuggling the amber rooms wall panels on board the ship during the evacuation. And it's these accounts that form the Lynch Pin of our first theory. Despite the fact that the ship carried over five thousand children the presence of military personnel and the ship's anti-aircraft guns meant the ship was still a war vessel and acceptable target for allied forces. And fortunately the ship's anti aircraft guns were malfunctioning. Due to the cold weather as the Villain Gustaf navigated through deep waters to avoid potential mines. Soviet Submarine S. Thirteen ship quickly spotted the large ship. The submarine's commander Alexander Marinescu ordered his crew to fire torpedoes at the Nazi vessel. Hundreds of passengers died instantly. When the Soviet torpedoes struck the survivors of the detonations were trapped on a rapidly sinking ship. Freezing temperatures hampered the evacuation most of the life boats were frozen in place. Passengers lost precious time attempting to chip them. Free and lower them into the water jumped straight into the frigid water in an attempt to save themselves but with the air already at zero degrees Fahrenheit. The passengers couldn't survive in the icy waters for long within an hour. The film gustloff slipped below the water's sinking the ocean's depths rescue boats were only able to save a few hundred passengers leaving as many as nine thousand die. This was the worst. Maritime Disaster In recorded history in the decades following World War Two rumors began to circulate that the amber room could be found on the sunken ship. But acting on those rumors is illegal. The Ville held gustloff is now a designated war grave which means salvagers who dived to. The wreckage are breaking the law yet. Divers continue to explore the sunken ship stealing every last piece of salvage. That means if a diver did find the panels they might be inclined to keep them secret or sell them on the black market and sadly this is why we probably won't find the amber panels on the film Gustloff if they ever were on board. It's hard to believe they wouldn't have been found in sold already. Most likely they were never there in the first place agreed. But if the amber room didn't sink to a watery grave then. We need to consider our next theory. What if the Nazis hid the amber room in the secret bunker? We'll return to our story in just a moment from the podcast network and now back to gone. It's time to examine our second theory. The amber room was hidden in Germany in secret. Nazi bunker code-named B. S. C. H. R. Search now brings us to a Soviet newspaper article released on July. Sixth nineteen fifty-eight a Russian reporter named DMITRIEV. Breathlessly informed his readers that he was a member of a secret. Soviet t that searched for the amber room a decade earlier in December of Nineteen forty-nine Dmitriev big Soviet readers to send in any potential information on Nazis who might have hidden the amber room and in June of nineteen fifty nine just one year after. Dmitriev article came out an eerily. Similar article appeared in the Freia. Veld a newspaper circulated in Soviet controlled East Germany in the FRYER veld article? A professor named Gerhard Strauss asked readers to send him any information they had on where Nazis might have concealed amber room. A German man known only by the code name Rudy. Ringel saw the article in wrote in two professors Strauss with an astounding claim in one thousand nine hundred forty nine a decade before the article appeared. Ringel was rummaging around in his family's basement when he found a leather bag filled with secret Nazi documents belonging to his deceased father. One document instructed wrinkles father to take the forty two boxes that contain the ember rooms priceless panels to a secret location. Code-named B. S. C. H. Another document confirmed that wrinkles. Father had successfully hidden crates in B. S. C. H. It stated quote Action Amber Room concluded storage in B. S. C. H. ACCESS. Blown up casualties through enemy action. End Quote these documents were irrevocable proof that the amber room was successfully smuggled out of Cairns Berg to a secret Nazi bunker. But here's where things get. Tricky wrinkled burn. The documents. Wrinkle claimed he was worried his family would get in trouble for his father's Nazi past so he burnt his father's entire pouch of documents unless Ringel had a photographic memory. It was unlikely that he really remember the exact wording of the documents which made the location of B. S. C. H. Even more difficult to pinpoint over a decade had passed since the disappearance of the amber room in one thousand nine hundred forty five but east German Soviet intelligence agents known as the Stasi were still eager to uncover B. S. C. H. is location was B. S. C. H. Location in connects Berg or did Ese. H referred to a secret bunker. Somewhere in Germany a Stasi agent named Paul Anka was particularly determined to find B. S. C. H. But he had nothing to go on beyond the information rudy. Ringel had recalled from his father's letters Inca carefully checked. The train routes shipping schedules for Koenigsberg. In the early months of nineteen forty-five although others had concluded that it would have been impossible for the Nazis to ship. The amber room out of Koenigsberg. Anka realized the Nazis had successfully kept routes out of the city open from February nineteenth until April sixth or seventh in other words. Anka was confident that there was enough time for the Nazis to send the amber room to safety utilizing the information provided by Ringel ANCO became convinced that B. S. C. H. referred to a cave or mine in Western Saxony Germany in nineteen seventy six. Anka finally won approval to excavate a mine in western Germany where he believed he might find the amber room but inca found nothing and he was kicked off the amber room. Search or still Anka's faith in Rudy. Ringel turned out to be misplaced. The Stasi investigated Rudy Ringo's claims about his father trying to find evidence that he truly had hidden the amber room instead. They made a disappointing discovery. The only thing wrinkles father was in charge of guarding during World War. Two was the post office. So it's very likely that nothing. Ringel said about his father's letters was true and since Anka's entire search for the amber room revolved around Ringel. He was probably on a wild goose chase. The entire time we may have debunked wrangles B. S. C. H. Bunker story but that doesn't necessarily disprove the theory that the Nazis hid the amber room in a bunker or a salt mine just that the location was named Bs Age. Other investigators continued to search for bunkers and caves in Germany. Were Nazis could have hidden the amber room and despite Anka's fall from grace over the debunked B. S. C. H. Theory. He still had a role to play in the search for the missing amber room. He would soon team up with a German investigator. George Stein the most famous man to have hunted for the Amber Room. The man who seemed closest to finding it and the man who may have died because of it we just called him an investigator but George. Stein wasn't a government official or a professor. He was in fact a strawberry farmer from Stella in West Germany. He was also passionate amateur historian. He spent his free time researching everything he could find about treasures. That went missing during World War Two in Nineteen seventy-two Stein discovered that a German Museum was secretly keeping a collection of incredibly valuable. Byzantine icons that belonged to the Soviet Union. This particular set of icons had been stolen by the Nazis from a monastery in Pskov Russia during World War Two and shipped to Germany. The Americans and Germans were supposed to return all of the stolen Russian artwork. They've found in Germany to the Soviets however the Soviets believed that the Americans never sent back all of the Russian artwork they discovered in Germany during World War. Two and at least in this instance the Soviets were right. George Stein managed to uncover communications between the American government and the director of a German Museum. Proving that the German Museum had accepted the Russian icons from the Americans. Even though the icons should have been shipped back to the Soviets George Stein was able to bring public awareness to the issue through a friend newspaper reporter Marian Don off who wrote an article about the stolen icons the resulting publicity enabled the return of the Byzantine icons to the Soviet Union. Having successfully found one rare missing artwork from World War. Two Stein now turned his attention to the missing amber room but Stasi that's the east. German Soviet Intelligence Service didn't want George Stein interfering with their independence searched for the amber room when Stein started digging around and asking for their files the Stasi decided that they needed to control the information. That Stein was able to access the Stasi had their agent. Paul Anka Context Stein under the pseudonym. Dr Paul Cole. Stein believed that. Anka was a senior researcher in eastern Germany until late in his life. Stein had no idea that ankle was using a false name or that he was a Stasi agent after sifting through the information fed to him. By Inca Stein eventually became convinced that the amber room could be found in the West German village adultery housing. He shared his theory with the media hoping to get funding for a dig. Reporters began following his search with great interest in. May of nineteen seventy nine a Russian reporter and author named Julian Semyonov described Stein as quote Europe's most successful Second World War treasure hunter unquote. Unfortunately his quest may also have gotten him the wrong kind of attention in nineteen eighty two George Stein. Cold Police with a harrowing story masked intruders had broken into his house and tortured him demanding information on the amber room drugged and beaten unconscious. Stein came to his senses only to discover a mysterious note written in Latin quote. If you're disgraced servant is white than Christ should spray his blood if he's read? Christ should extinguish him if he is black Christ should let him die and quote. But what does that mean? Perhaps read was a reference to the Soviets the color reds connection to Communism dates. All the way back to the Paris commune of eighteen seventy one. The French revolutionary government employed a red banner and this color was subsequently adopted by Communist governments around the world. The Soviet Union was so closely tied to the color red that their army was commonly known as the Red Army and during the Russian revolution. The Red Army was opposed by a nationalistic group known as the White Army. The White Army were anti-communist fighting the Red Bolsheviks and around this theory out there was an anarchist group called the black guards active during the Russian revolution as well. We can't be sure what the note means but it's interesting to interpret it within a Russian cultural context regardless of what the note said the underlying message was clear no matter what his affiliations were. George Stein was in danger and the police were unable to find. George Stein's attackers but Stein was undaunted. He continued his search for the amber room. Despite the masked man's threats and he suffered the consequences the summer after the intruders attack. Stein's wife Elizabeth was discovered hanging from the seller. Rafters did Elizabeth Kill herself. Or was Elizabeth death connected to her husband's search for the amber room. Our story will continue in a moment after a brief message. Now our story continues decades after World War Two. Many investigators believe the missing amber room could be found in a secret Nazi bunker. George Stein counted himself among them. But death followed Stein. Search for the amber wall panels in nineteen ninety-three Stein's wife was found dead in their home. Stein's context began to fear that he was in danger. Stein's friend the writer. Julian Semyonov wrote a letter to starchy agent. Paul Anka warning quote. The matter of George. Stein is more complicated. His wife had died and this had affected him very much. And then somebody and this has been my feeling had begun to work against us. I'm not going to write anything about this in the letter. Better when we have a chance to meet face to face and quote Semyonov was so shaken by the death of Stein's wife. He was worried about the wrong party. Intercepting and reading his letter but despite the apparent danger Stein absolutely refused to give up on his search for the amber room he created a documentary about his theory on the Amber Room's disappearance which was released on April sixteenth. Nineteen Eighty Seven. Stein was now convinced at the amber room was stolen by. Us soldiers did Stein and covered. The truth. Stein did a stint in Hamburg psychiatric hospital in May of nineteen eighty seven. He warned his doctors that he knew dangerous secrets. But Stein's doctors didn't take him seriously. He was in a psychiatric hospital. The doctors probably just believed he was mentally. Ill perhaps but it seems like Stein was right to be concerned for his safety just one week after his documentary aired on April Twenty Third Nineteen eighty-seven Stein was admitted to a north German hospital with a grievous stomach wound. Doctors needed to do surgery to repair his colon. We have no information on. How Stein got injured or who perpetrated the attack that we can't help but wonder is. Stein was once again assaulted as a result of his investigation into the amber room. Not long after he was released. Stein was rushed to a new hospital in Bavaria. In June of nineteen eighty-seven someone had found him in the Starnberg Woods. Suffering from stab wounds to his stomach frustratingly. We once again have no additional information on. How Stein ended up in those woods whether he was attacked or who might have been for stabbing him despite nearly bleeding to death from his injuries. Stein refuse to be silenced in his quest to find the amber room he wrote to a friend on August thirteenth nineteen eighty-seven quote the Amber Room. Research goes on and this is the only thing that matters and quote but Stein's new. Dr Ben Asleep was worried about threats to his patients. Life on August Fifteenth Nineteen Eighty Seven. He wrote quote Stein's strategic guideline for his life is to look for much honor even at the price of large numbers of unwanted enemies and quote just five days later on August twentieth nineteen eighty seven in the scenic town of Altdorf. A passer-by discovered the sprawled body of a round faced man. His glasses perched crooked -ly on his nose. It was George Stein someone had once again sliced open. Stein stomach and these final cuts were fatal. Police never arrested any suspects. In Stein's death was Stein murdered by the owner of the stolen amber room. Or did he kill himself? In two thousand three a pair of journalists on the trail of the amber room uncovered a letter sent after. Stein's death on August twenty fifth nineteen eighty-seven by one of the hospitals that treated Stein the letter stated that before Elizabeth died. Stein had quote encouraged his wife to make sacrificial cuts in his abdominal wall using a dissecting scalpels and quote the report also mentioned quote. George Stein had called the police claiming to have been attacked by. Knife-wielding masked raiders who warned him off the amber room mystery but he had invented the stories after forcing his wife to perform sadomasochistic acts and quote so Stein forced his poor wife to stab him in the stomach. Not only that. The report indicates that Stein's behavior may have driven his wife to commit suicide and after his wife died. Stein may have resorted to stabbing himself which means that every time. That Stein was admitted to a hospital with stomach wounds in the summer of nineteen eighty seven. Those wounds were likely self-inflicted inflicted and Stein's death in August of Nineteen eighty-seven was most likely not murder but suicide. We now believe Stein and his wife both killed themselves but why would Stein frame-they're suicides as murders was it? A final desperate bid for lasting fame. If that was Stein's goal then he succeeded. His death made front page headlines. But if Stein's death is just another red herring. Then what does this mean for our theory? I don't think Stein's faulty. Investigation disapproves the theory that the amber room was hidden in a bunker or a cave after all treasure hunters still search. Germany's mountains for the amber room but Stein's and Incas failed searches for the bunker. Demonstrate how fruitless endeavour has been. You'd think that if the amber room was hidden in a Nazi bunker then someone would have found more definitive evidence of its existence. By now perhaps. But it's not as easy to search all of Germany and Eastern Europe as it is to search the wreck of one sunken ship. Like the film. Gustaf so I think we can agree that our second theory that the amber room was concealed in a Nazi bunker is more likely to be true. Then our first theory about the film Gustaf but there is no definitive evidence to prove either theory. Which means it's time to examine our final theory in April of nineteen forty five. The amber room was stolen by Soviet treasure hunters or destroyed in the fire that consumed Konigsberg Castle to investigate this theory. We need to travel back in time to the war torn streets of connects Berg Kegs. Berg had been under siege since August of nineteen forty four when the royal airforce bombed the city the Nazi surrendered control of Kennex Berg to the Soviets on April ninth of nineteen forty five Soviet trophy brigades consisting of conscripted artists curator's and professors trust in military. Uniforms quickly descended on the city. The Brigade members were under orders from the government to seek out valuable artwork to bring back to the Soviet Union but sometimes more unscrupulous brigade members kept trophies for themselves. Could one of the trophy brigades combing through Kernigan? Berg have stolen the amber room. The possibility is there especially when you examine the behavior of Trophy Brigade member colonel. Even Yanko on April twelfth right after the Soviets took the city even Yanko found records indicating that the amber room was in Koenigsberg Castle. But for some mysterious reason even Yanko didn't send a telegraph to the Soviet Union about the amber room. Until may why did even Yanko take so many weeks to report back to the Soviet government where his fellow Trophy Brigade members using that extra time to take treasures for themselves? From Kinnock's Berg Castle after learning the amber room was encouraged Berg the Soviet Union dispatched to professor by the name of Alexander. Bruce off to current expert on May Twenty Fifth Nineteen forty-five his mission find and recover the amber room. Bruce off reached kegs. Berg on May thirty first two days later on June second he began to search the ruins of Kennedy Spur Castle for the Amber Room. Bruce off found no trace of the amber room. It connects Birr castle until June. Fifth when he excavated the Knight's hall which had been ravaged by. Fire Bruce off looked around the hall and wrote that he quote found bronze hangings from the scoiety. Ceelo DOORS CORNISH PIECES. That could have been in the Amber Room. Iron Strips with bolts with the help of which parts of the amber room were boxed into crates. Rusoff concluded quote. We should give up looking for the amber room and quote. But this doesn't make any sense. If the Soviets knew for certain that the amber room was destroyed. Why did they spend the next? Several decades funding searches for it. Well Bruce off wasn't the only one who searched for the amber room in the ruins of Kennex Castle Antonelli Kucherov the young Russian curator. Who had been responsible for packing up? The amber rooms wall panels back in nineteen forty one was distraught over the loss of the amber room. Perhaps he blamed himself for failing to take down the number panels before the Nazis arrived. Especially since the Nazis dismantled them so easily Kucherov was ear to prove that Bruce off was wrong that the amber room hadn't been destroyed a year. After Bruce off strip in March of nineteen forty six Kucherov ventured to Konigsberg himself to search for the Amber Room on March twenty second nineteen forty-six Gucci. Mov found even more evidence that the amber room had been in the Knight's hall. He uncovered quote three totally burned and discolored mosaic pictures from the amber room and quote. These were three of the four coloured stone mosaics that Catherine the Great Commission to decorate the amber room in the seventeen hundreds so after finding three of the amber rooms mosaics burned. Kucherov must have concluded that Bruce off was right. The amber room was destroyed in the fire. Not True Kucherov wrote quote. This cannot serve as evidence that the amber room was lost in a fire and quote because Kucherov had only found three out of the four stone. Mosaics he believed the Nazis must have smuggled the fourth mosaic out of the castle along with the rest of the amber room. But at that point why would the Nazis leave three of the mosaics behind? If they had time to save everything else. Kucherov came up with a convoluted theory. He noted that the three panels had been wedged under the stairwell where there was no room for the crates containing the amber rooms. Twelve foot tall panels. Therefore the crates must have been stored somewhere else. Weren't they probably just stored somewhere else in the hall? Kucherov believed that this was impossible. Because he found no pieces of amber in the Knight's hall he also found no remnants of the amber room's decorative objects like mirrors that should have been stored alongside the ember panels so Kucherov use these three pieces of evidence. No fourth mosaic. No amber pieces. No decorative JECHT's to draw his conclusion that the amber room was hidden in a secret location by the Nazis. Possibly in a bunker somewhere kennex Berg and it was Kucherov theory that the Soviet Union latched onto his conclusion that the Nazis successfully hid. The amber room was responsible for spawning the theories excavations that took place over the next several decades but none of coochie evidence holds up under scrutiny. Let's start with his theory that the amber room's panels were hidden away along with the surviving Stone Mosaic Hoochie. Mov had no way of knowing this in nineteen forty six but his theory about the missing Stone Mosaic would be proven wrong fifty years later in the summer of nineteen ninety seven a German man named Hans Doctrine came forward and admitted that he had the four stone mosaic its was confirmed and the mosaic was finally returned to Russia. Hans claimed that his deceased father was one of the Nazi soldiers who helped rip the amber rooms wall panels from the Catherine Palace inserts. Goya'S CEELO in the fall of nineteen forty one. His father apparently took a liking to one of the stone eggs and decided to keep it for himself which means that the fourth mosaic was never shipped from Russia to cut expert castle along with the rest of the amber room but even if cuccia moths theory about the stone mosaic no longer holds up. What about his theory that he would have found remnants of amber if the amber room had burned in a fire that makes sense? Doesn't it not really the fire that destroyed the Knight's hall incinerated the Stone Mosaics and those stone mosaics had a much higher melting point than amber? The fire was easily hot enough to turn the amber wall panels into pine scented smoke. Meaning there would be no pieces of amber left for Kucherov to find but what about Kusuma's final piece of evidence? If the amber room was destroyed in a fire shouldn't have the amber room's decorative objects Kucherov seemed to have forgotten that Soviet soldiers and trophy brigades had an entire year to nab trophies from Kinnock. Spur Castle before he arrived in Nineteen forty-six so the Trophy Brigade members had plenty of time to take whatever pieces of the amber room remained for themselves and in fact the theory of Soviet theft is bolstered by Kucherov interview with Paul Fire Auburn which he conducted on April Second Nineteen forty-six firearms and ran a Nazi restaurant. In Kinnock's Berg Castle during World War Two during the battle between the Nazis and the Soviets in April of nineteen forty fire up and hidden the nights whole the same room where the curators had stored the amber room according to fire Abend when Russian troops kicked him out of Kennedy's per castle on April tenth. The Knight's hall was in Pristine condition and it was only after fire. Robin left and the Soviet Army took over the castle that the Knight's hall was destroyed in a fire. If fire was telling the truth this can mean only one of two things to Soviet army accidentally started the fire that burned down the knight's hall and destroyed the Amber Room or Soviet soldiers or trophy brigade members stole the Amber Room. Out of the Knight's hall on April Tenth and they set fire to the hall to hide any evidence of their theft that if the Soviet Union knew that the amber room had been taken by Soviet troops or destroyed in a fire. The still doesn't explain why they would waste so much money and spent so many decades looking for the Amber Room. This is where we get into our wildest theory yet. The search for the missing amber room might have been nothing more than a Soviet government conspiracy. But what could the Soviets possibly have to gain by perpetuating a hoax about the amber room? More than you might think. As we previously discussed the Soviet Union created Trophy Brigades during World War. Two to seize as much valuable. European art as possible the Soviets viewed the art as compensation for the Nazi invasion that cost over twenty million Russian lives but as World War Two drew to a close the Americans Europeans Europeans began to realize that the Soviet Union was hoarding priceless artwork. From all over Europe as scrutiny increasingly fell on the Soviet Union's Trophy Brigades the Soviet government needed to do damage control the Soviets needed to direct attention away from their trophy brigades and protect their image as victims of Nazi aggression and the amber room stood as a convenient symbol of everything. The Russians lost to the Nazis during the war if the Soviets knew for a fact that their own soldiers not the Nazis had stolen or destroyed the amber room. They needed to keep that under wraps in order to save face and keep their plunder in Russia. But is that really enough of a reason for the Soviets to create a fake story about the Mburu a story that they were willing to back up with decades of expensive excavations. Let's take another look at that. Article first published by the Soviet reporter Dmitriev in nineteen fifty eight he. He was part of a secret. Excavation team that searched for the amber room in nineteen forty nine. Dmitri it's article helped spawn the rumors that the Amru was hidden in a secret Nazi bunker. But here's the catch not only was Dimitri of never involved with any excavations in Kuenssberg Dmitriev never even existed a pair of investigative journalists researching the lost amber room discovered. That DMITRIEV was the secret pen. Name of venue mean Krolikowski the secretary of the Kalingrad Communist Party a high ranking Soviet government. Official this may sound like a conspiracy theory but it's true. The journalists covered a report in which venue mean Kolevski was identified by his pseudonym Vladimir Dmitriev. This means that the nineteen fifty-nine article about the search for the amber room allegedly written by a Soviet reporter named Vladimir Dmitriev was actually written by government official. In other words it was the Soviet government that planted the story about the missing amber room. They were controlling the narrative. All along to keep the blame squarely on the Nazis and with the Soviet government overly eager to pin the missing amber ruin the Nazis. No one bothered to investigate the Soviet trophy brigade members and soldiers who could have potentially smuggled the amber room out of Kennedy's Berg Castle and back to Russia. Where for all we know. The amber room might remain hidden to this day treasure hunters continue to scour the mountains and caverns of Germany and Eastern Europe. Hoping they will be the ones to discover the amber room in a secret Nazi bunker but does the bunker really exist or is the entire story of the missing amber room. The fabrication of a Soviet government infamous for its clever spycraft manipulation of the press do descendants of Nazi commanders know where the room lies buried or do the Russian descendants of Soviet soldiers know the real fate of their countries lost treasure. I think this is the most likely theory by accident or design. The Soviets are responsible for the disappearance of the amber room. From Kennedy's Berg in nineteen forty five agreed but even though we think it's unlikely that the Nazis successfully hid the amber room. They still bear the most responsibility for the rooms. Tragic disappearance after all. They were the ones who stole the amber room from Russia in the first place. That's true we may never find the amber room in a Nazi bunker but perhaps the amber wall panels will be discovered in the attic of a long dead Soviet soldier or perhaps a young Russian will uncover a great grandparents diary detailing the mysterious sequence of events surrounding the fire. That destroyed the Knight's hall unless someone decides to share their secrets. We'll never truly know. Thanks for tuning into gone. If you like the show you can subscribe for more episodes on Apple podcasts. Tune-in Google play Stitcher spotify or your favorite podcast directory. While you're there we'd really appreciate a five star review. It seems simple but it really helps our show. What do you think happened to the amber room? You can tell us your theories on facebook and instagram at par cast on twitter at podcast network or at PODCAST DOT com. A new episode comes out next week. Just because something is missing doesn't mean it can't be found gone was created by Max. Cutler is a production of cutler media and is part of the podcast network it is produced. By Max Ron Cutler. Sound Design by Ron Shapiro with production assistance by Paul Moller Additional Production Assistance by Maggie admire and Carly Madden. Gone is written by Ginette Manning and stars Molly Brandenburg and Richard Rosner.