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Discovery of map with 'X' marks the spot sparks mass hunt for 'Nazi treasure'

Discovery of map with 'X' marks the spot sparks mass hunt for 'Nazi treasure'

It's been nearly 80 years since the stash of gold and jewels was buried

As the Second World War came to an end, a group of Nazi soldiers buried heaps of gold and jewels in the middle of nowhere.

And almost 80 years on, experts believe they could be on the trail of one of the biggest treasure hunts in history after a hand-drawn map was released along with thousands of other documents by the Dutch National Archive earlier this month.

It shows the village of Ommeren, 50 miles south of the capital city of Amsterdam, with a red 'X' marked at the base of a tree.

So the story goes, in 1944, in the Nazi-occupied city of Arnhem, a bomb hit a bank, blasting its vault open and launching its contents, including gold, jewellery and money, into the road.

The map could show the location of a heap of Nazi treasure.

Seeing their opportunity, some of the soldiers pocketed what they could, storing their loot in 'ammunition boxes'.

However, as the war came to an end, the German forces were pushed back to Ommeren, where they buried their treasure.

Citing an account of an unnamed German soldier interviewed after the war by Dutch military, and who was responsible for the map, National Archive researcher Annet Waalkens said: "Four ammunition boxes and then just some jewellery that was kept in handkerchiefs or even cash money folded in. And they buried it right there."

She added: "We’re quite astonished about the story itself. But the attention it’s getting is as well."

The news has seen a number of would-be treasure hunters travel to Ommeren to find the buried stash.

Local resident Marco Roodveldt said that “all kinds of people have been spontaneously digging in places where they think that treasure is buried”.

"Yes, it is of course spectacular news that has enthralled the whole village," he said. "But not only our village, also people who do not come from here.”

So far, however, it doesn't appear as though anyone has had much luck in finding it.

Would-be treasure hunters have descended on the village in the hope of finding the loot.
Nigel Spooner/Alamy

The soldier revealed that Dutch authorities attempted to find the treasure themselves during a search in 1947, but to no avail.

He said at the time that "he believed that someone else has already excavated the treasure". And people have been warned about visiting the area to look for it.

In a statement, the municipality said: "Searching there is dangerous because of possible unexploded bombs, land mines and shells. We advise against going to look for the Nazi treasure.

The feeling is shared by another resident, Ria van Tuil van Neerbos, who doesn't agree with people digging up the land.

“If they hear something, they’ll head toward it," she said. "But I don’t think it’s good that they just dug into the ground and things like that."

Featured Image Credit: ANP/David Calvert/Alamy

Topics: World News, Military