History is jammed packed with curious stories revolving around mysteries. Murder, death, and curious little disappearances that have a clever way of leaving the world feeling anxious for the truths of the unknown. One such story is an adventure tale of a great theft and the whereabouts of the thieves bounty is curiously still unknown to this day. This is, in my opinion, the most diabolically curious act of looting in recent history. How on earth can you steal a whole room of solid amber?
But that is exactly what the Nazi’s did during World War II. A gift to the Russian Czar from Prussia in the 18th century, the Amber Room, dubbed the 8th wonder of the world, was made of several tons of amber gemstone fashioned in the Baroque style by a German designer. Later Czarina Elizabeth had it moved to the Catherine Palace where even more amber was added to better fit the space. With all that amber, other precious stones, and backed by gold leaf to enhance its glow, the Amber Room was estimated at over $142 million in today’s money.
In 1941, World War II was in full swing and the Nazi party, lead by Adolf Hitler, invaded Soviet Russian looting millions of dollars worth of priceless artwork…including the famous Amber Room. Since the room was made of precious stones, they were disassembled in pieces and carried back to Germany. Hitler believed that it was made by Germans and therefore made for the German people. In 1943, however, after being displayed in a museum on the Baltic coast, the museum was bombed and the room thought to be lost…since no one could find it.
How could several tons of amber go missing? Was it really destroyed? Is it at the bottom of the Baltic Sea? Some say that Joseph Stalin, the communist ruler of the Soviet Union, had the real one hidden and the Nazis stole a fake one. One theory is that it is secretly buried in the Ore Mountains. Maybe it is the curious romantic in me that believes the Amber Room was shipped onto a train which left Germany before the Royal air raids towards the end of the war.
Curiously, the mystery does not end there!
Did you know there is also a curious curse that seems to follow some people connected to the room! The curator who died of typhus while the room was investigated by the KGB and an investigator who perished in a car crash after having just talked about the room all fell victim to the “curse”. And supposedly, the most curious, was an Amber Room hunter who was mysteriously murdered in a Bavarian forest! There is honestly nothing more curiously fascinating than a curse…except perhaps a good disappearing act!
Since the Russians missed their national treasure so much, they recently built a replica of the famed Amber Room for all to enjoy. This new room is housed in St. Petersburg. But the world will still forever wonder about the whereabouts of this curiously unique work of art.