3. THE FALL OF AN EMPIRE
As the Reich Chancellery in Berlin lay in ruins and Adolf Hitler’s evil empire collapsed in April 1945, a collection of treasure looted from victims of the Nazi regime was supposed by some to be used by the fleeing dictator. Fortunately for us, the moustached lunatic never got round to buying that coastal penthouse in Bertioga because firstly he killed himself and secondly the infamous collection worth an estimated $3.34 billion, which included gold expropriated from individuals and foreign governments ($223 million from Belgium and $193 million from the Netherlands), vanished sometime afterwards.
Speculation and legend have afforded numerous explanations and on occasion various items of gold or collections of jewels have appeared. Over the years, some pieces have been found in Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Turkey, not to mention the much publicised suggestion last year that three tonnes of stolen gold bars lay 450 meters below the surface of the Baltic sea. However, most of it remains undiscovered and perhaps will never be found.
It is called the largest bank robbery in history and it still remains an intriguing international mystery.