A row has erupted between treasure hunters looking for Nazi gold and historical experts who say they are looking in the wrong place.
Since September last year, a group called the Silesian Bridge Foundation has been digging up the grounds of an 18th century palace in the Polish village of Minkowskie where they believe £200m worth of Nazi gold and other artefacts valuables stolen by Himmler’s SS are hidden.
The excavation of a former orangery in the palace grounds was triggered after the foundation said the location was revealed in a war diary written by an SS officer at the end of World War II.
The diary would detail the hiding places of the treasures intended for the creation of a Fourth Reich to continue the war.
But now historians whom the foundation has “invited to verify” the newspaper, say their analysis is “not completely positive”.
Posting on Facebook, historians from a group called Discoverer Magazine Exploration Group (GEMO) said: “Our most important discovery is that the village of Minkowskie is NOT mentioned in the ‘war diary’.
“This may be difficult for the Foundation, as this is the only place their excavation work is being done at this time.”
But now historians (pictured) whom the foundation has ‘invited to check’ the newspaper, say their analysis is ‘not completely positive’
The excavation of a former orangery in the palace grounds was prompted after the foundation said the location was revealed in a war diary (pictured) kept by an SS officer at the end of World War Two
Since September last year, a group called the Silesian Bridge Foundation have dug up the grounds of an 18th century palace in the Polish village of Minkowskie (pictured) where they believe £200m worth of Nazi gold and other valuables stolen by Himmler’s SS are hidden.
According to legend, the treasure was stored at police headquarters and packed in crates before being transported under SS guard from Breslau, in present-day Polish city of Wrocław, to Hirschberg, present-day Jelenia Góra and the Sudetes mountains.
Shortly after, the trail died and the gold has never been seen or heard of since.
The hoard dubbed “the gold of Breslau” is also believed to include jewelry and valuables from the private collections of wealthy Germans who lived in the area and who turned over their possessions to the SS to protect them from looting by the Germans. advance of the Red Army.
Historians have also analyzed a letter that accompanied the “war diary”. The Foundation claimed the letter was written by a senior SS officer to one of the girls who worked at the palace and who later became his lover.
The diary would detail the hiding places of the treasures intended for the creation of a Fourth Reich to continue the war. But now historians whom the foundation has ‘invited to check’ the newspaper, say their analysis is ‘not completely positive’
The excavations take place in the 18th century palace grounds in the village of Minkowskie, Poland
The officer wrote: “My dear Inge, I will fulfill my mission, with the will of God. Some transports were successful.
“The remaining 48 heavy coffers of the Reichsbank and all family coffers I hereby entrust to you.
‘Only you know where they are. May God help you and help me, fulfill my mission.
But historians who have examined the documents have now also questioned the authenticity of the letter.
They said: “Furthermore, the corresponding documents, such as a famous letter, do not seem very ‘legitimate’ and are NOT part of the ‘war diary’, which means that there is not even the slightest proof that there is anything in Minkowskie.’
The Silesian Bridge Foundation responded by saying: “Documents of this age and type leave a lot of room for interpretation, we are aware of that.
“We are confident that War Diary will always hold its own.
“We are very confident about this, which is why we welcomed your team and we are also open to other experts.”
The location was revealed by secret documents, a diary (pictured) and a map that treasure hunters received from descendants of SS officers belonging to a secret lodge revered by Himmler and dating back over 1,000 years.
The treasure hunters’ setback comes after they say Nazi descendants have delivered another letter written by an SS officer who they believe may uncover another lost treasure.
The Foundation said the fragment of an aging letter, seen exclusively by MailOnline, could reveal the mystery behind one of the most valuable looted works of art from the Second World War.
The letter refers to the long-lost 16th-century painting Portrait of a Young Man by Italian artist Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, better known as Raphael, which was seized by Gestapo officers after the invasion of Poland by Germany in 1939.
The Foundation said it received the letter from descendants of senior Nazi officials who now want to atone for crimes committed by Nazi Germany during the war.
In the letter, the SS officer mentions the 16th-century painting by Raphael, which ended up in the hands of Hitler’s henchman, Hans Frank, who was head of the general government of occupied Poland. .
The painting, along with other priceless works of art, hung in Wawel Castle in Krakow, which Frank had requisitioned as his home.
It was the last place the painting – which is currently valued at over £86million – was seen.
The treasure hunters’ setback comes after they say Nazi descendants handed over another letter written by an SS officer who may uncover another lost treasure
However, the five-page letter written in Gothic-style German by a Nazi officer named “Michaelis” could explain his disappearance.
In the letter dated 1947 – apparently addressed to a friend – Michaelis writes that he had hidden the painting with other valuables.
He also mentioned someone called Hanke who would be Karl Hanke, the Gauleiter of Lower Silesia and later the last SS Reichsführer after Heinrich Himmler was arrested in April 1944.
In the letter, Michaelis writes: “Yes, Hanke was right, the boxes contained cultural property from Krakow.
‘When I think back it was once a collection [belonging to] Flamming.
“You know, my dear friend, I love culture, but it was too much for me.
‘Portrait of a young man by Raphael with old stamps on the back, oval and square, signed 1514.’
Although it is not known where the SS officer hid the painting, Bart Zelaytys of the Silesian Bridge Foundation said: “This is the first written document that tells us at least in part what happened to the painting after it was departure from Krakow.
“Finding the lost Raphael would be the greatest sensation in the art world since the end of the war.