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- On 05/04/2014
- In Miscellaneous
By Owen Bennett - Express
The nephew of senior Nazi SS officer Ernst Kaltenbrunner has come forward with information about a hoard of Nazi treasure buried in Lake Toplitz, confirming suspicions held by investigators for decades.
Michl Kaltenbrunner, 79, has never spoken before about what he knew but was inspired to talk to an Austrian investigative reporter after watching a feature she had done on the true story of the Monuments Men.
It has long been the subject of rumours about hidden Nazi gold, which is said to have been buried in the lake as the war came to an end.
"I can guarantee there is a lot of gold and vast treasures inside," Mr Kaltenbrunner said in the interview due to be broadcast this evening.
Reports of a convoy of SS vehicles taking large chests to the lake in early May 1945 began to emerge soon after Germany surrendered.
In 1959, a diving team salvaged several of the chests and discovered forged British banknotes with a face value of seven hundred million pounds.
The notes had been produced at the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, near Berlin, and were part of a plan devised by Hitler - Operation Bernhard - to destroy the British economy.
Mr Kaltenbrunner also said he thinks these treasures are located where the counterfeit money and printing plates were found at the bottom of the lake over a decade ago.
A medal found by chance in 2001 by a Dutch tourist diver in a second lake in the region - Lake Altausee - that once belonged to Ernst Kaltenbrunner was believed to have been dropped by the SS boss into the water as he moved through the area trying to evade capture.