Posts Tagged ‘found’

Nazi holocaust documents found: 6,300 files discovered behind wall of Budapest apartment

November 22nd, 2015

Carefully removing each brick, the couple eased out some 61 kilogrammes (135 pounds) of dusty papers, many with bits of plaster caked on, but all more or less intact.

With the ink still readable – thanks to a lack of air in the cavity and nicotine from the heavy-smoking former owner – the yellowed papers were given to the Budapest City Archives.

Istvan Kenyeres, head of the archives, was amazed.

“Most wartime papers are more faded or rotten than medieval documents, on bad quality paper due to the rationing,” he said.

“The content and scale of the finding is unprecedented,” he said. “It helps to fill a huge gap in the history of the Holocaust in Budapest.”

Since September, restorers at the archives have been literally ironing the papers to study them, pausing occasionally when they spot someone famous among the scrawled names.

The May 1944 Budapest census was to identify houses to serve as holding locations for Jews before moving them to a planned walled ghetto in the city’s seventh district.

Two months earlier Nazi Germany had occupied Hungary and deportations in the countryside to the gas chambers of Auschwitz began almost immediately.

The forms found in the Budapest apartment contain names of each building’s inhabitants, and whether they are Jewish or not, with total numbers of Christians and Jews marked in the corners.

“Jewish people filled in the forms honestly, they refused to believe where this might end up,” said Kenyeres.

Shortly after the census, around 200,000 Jews were moved into some 2,000 selected buildings, “Yellow Star Houses” with the Star-of-David Jewish symbol painted on the doors.

“Thanks to the Berdefys, we know that if a lot of Jews lived in a building then it likely became a Yellow Star House,” Kenyeres said.

In late 1944, they were crammed into the ghetto, where some died of starvation or were shot next to the river – a poignant memorial of abandoned iron shoes today marks the spot.

The arrival of the Russian army in January 1945 saved the rest though, and unlike the Jews from outside the city, most of Budapest’s Jewish population survived.

An estimated total of 600,000 Hungarian Jews perished in the Holocaust, most in Auschwitz.

Kenyeres said that an estimated 23,000 more documents may still be out there which would give further valuable insight into what happened in 1944 and would also be digitalised and made available to the public if they turned up.

“People should look behind their walls, you never know in Budapest what could be there.”

Inside the far-Right stronghold where Hungarian Jews fear for the future


World War Two

Nazi gold train ‘found’ in Poland: live

August 27th, 2015

Latest

07.00

How could you hide a train for 70 years? Trains are big things.

For more answers to some of your questions, here’s a handy explainer.

06.00

Summary

Here is a brief summary of what we know (and what we don’t) so far after a regional mayor’s office in southern Poland confirmed that a train of a “military nature” had been found.

  1. “Significant discovery” made in the Polish city of Walbrzych
  2. Zygmunt Nowaczyk, deputy mayor of Walbrzych, said “the discovery was in the town’s district”
  3. Two unidentified men are claiming through a lawyer that they have found the legendary Nazi gold claim
  4. Arkadiusz Grudzien, a spokesman for Walbrzych council’s legal office, said: “The train is of a military nature. There is no mention of valuables: just military equipment”
  5. The lawyer for the two men, Jaroslaw Chmielewski, said: “This is a find of world significance, on a par with [discovering] the Titanic”
  6. The Polish state treasure and culture ministry has been informed in case the find contains anything of value

04.15

Patrick Ney, director of the British Business Centre in Warsaw, wrote a blog a couple of years ago about the tunnels the Nazis built in south-west Poland. He wrote:

Quote Somewhere, under the hills and mountains of Lowers Silesia, lie seven underground complexes. The Project Reise network, built by Organisation Todt, comprise hundreds of kilometres of underground tunnels, bunkers and research facilities. Unseen from the air by the thick Silesian forests above them, and protected by the dense rock, thousands of slave labourers toiled with basic equipment to create the network, attached to the magnificent Baroque castle of Ksia?, as either a research station or as one of several Fuhrer headquarters.

Apparently there are Nazi artefacts littering the tunnels to this day:

02.33

Part of a subterranean system built by Nazi Germany in what is today Gluszyca-Osowka, Poland. According to Polish lore, a Nazi train loaded with gold, and weapons vanished into a mountain at the end of World War II.

It was reported last week that Polish authorities held a crisis meeting in which they warned treasure hunters against trying to unravel the mysteries of the train, warning it may have been boobytrapped by the Nazis:

Quote Jacek Cichura, the local governor in Walbrzych, where the train allegedly was found, said the meeting was to explore how authorities can safely handle the train if it is located.

“Our priority is the safety of the public,” Mr Cichura said. “If the gold train actually exists, then it is probably mined. There is also the possibility of methane.”

00.50

The Telegraph’s Matthew Day has put together this helpful explainer on what we know – and don’t know – about the rumoured Nazi gold train find:

Quote How did the “gold train” legend begin?

Not long after the war a Pole spoke with a German miner who was about to leave the area because it was to become part of post-war Poland. The miner spoke of how a train laden with treasure had been parked in a secret siding in the last days of the war. Since then people have been looking for that train. There is no documentary evidence supporting the “gold train” legend.

23.57

The hills around Walbrzych are home to some of the Project Riese tunnels – the code name for a construction project of Nazi Germany in 1943–45, consisting of seven underground structures. The purpose of the project remains uncertain.

23.48

The legend goes that as the Nazis treated from the Red Army in 1945, several tons of gold held in the German city of Breslau (now Wroc?aw in Poland) were piled onto a train. Reports state the train may contain the gold fittings from the Amber Room of Frederick I of Prussia – considered the Eigth Wonder of the World.

However, the train never reached its destination and went missing in south-west Poland.

If this has indeed been found in the countryside around Walbrzych, it would be of priceless value and one of the most important historical discoveries ever.

23.31

Is this where the train is buried?

23.25

Arkadiusz Grudzien, a spokesman for Walbrzych council’s legal office, said:

Quote The letter (from the ‘finders” lawyer) does not give the exact location but there is no doubt the location is within the limits of our district.

The train is of a military nature. There is no mention of valuables: just military equipment.

23.10

It could take up to six months to dig the train up, some experts have said – assuming it’s buried.

23.02

At a press conference Zygmunt Nowaczyk, deputy mayor of Walbrzych, said “the discovery was in the town’s district”.

The Polish state treasure and culture ministry have been informed in case the find contained anything of value, Matthew Day reports.

23.00

The train, according to legend, is 500 feet long, armoured, with gun platforms and a cargo of precious metals. Not so easy to hide.

Hunt begins for legendary £1billion in Nazi gold

22.43

An old miner shaft at the Old Mine Science and Art Centre in Walbrzych, Poland

All we know for sure so far from today’s developments is a press officer in the Polish town confirming a military train has been found and the Walbrzych’s deputy mayor saying there was “formal information”.

22.07

The Telegraph’s Matthew Day visited Walbrzych last week. Marek Marciniak, the owner of a cafe adjacent to Walbrzych town hall, told him:

Quote People are talking about it. They are talking about in the town. My clients talk about it and we’ve had a lot of journalists coming by.

And when I go home and flick on the television I see a lot of news about the about the ‘gold train’.

Ksiaz Castle in Walbrzych, Poland

Mr Marciniak, like many others, is quick to stress everybody has heard stories about the train and its gold before, and how people have tried and failed in the past to gain their fame and fortune by finding it. What sets this time apart from the others, he pointed out, is that the two claimants have taken a legal step by filing a claim with the local authorities in Walbrzych in the hope of attaining a finder’s fee of 10 per-cent of the value of the find.

21.56

The legendary Nazi ghost train that disappeared without trace into the mountains around Walbrzych in April 1945 with a cargo of gold as it fled the advance of the Red Army.

21.36

The two men who have apparently found the Nazi gold train said through their lawyer that they would only reveal the location of their alleged find if they were guaranteed to eventually receive a finders’ fee of 10 per cent of its value.

Workers Inspects Gold Bars Taken From Jews By The Nazis And Stashed In The Heilbron Salt Mines

21.31

A deputy mayor in Poland says lawyers for two men who claim to have found a Nazi gold train have told him that it is somewhere in the southwestern city of Walbrzych.

Zygmunt Nowaczyk said on Wednesday that the lawyers have not offered any proof of the alleged discovery. Nonetheless, Mr Nowaczyk said he will pass on the information he has to the national government because if found, the train would be state property. Speaking at a press conference, he said:

Quote The city [of Walbrzych] is full of mysterious stories because of its history. Now it is formal information — [we] have found something.

21.30

Hello and welcome to our live coverage it emerges that “something significant” has been found in the Polish city of Walbrzych, where searchers are looking for a lost Nazi gold train.


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Has a lost Nazi ghost train carrying gold finally been found? Two treasure hunters think so

August 19th, 2015

It is believed that towards the end of the war, as the Red Army closed in on the city of Wroclaw, Nazis loaded a train with gold and other treasure and sent it south west.

“Lawyers, the army, the police and the fire brigade are dealing with this,” Marika Tokarska, an official at the Walbrzych district council, told Reuters.

“The area has never been excavated before and we don’t know what we might find.”

Workers Inspects Gold Bars Taken From Jews By The Nazi's And Stashed In The Heilbron Salt Mines

According to local legend, the train vanished after heading into mountains straddling the current Polish-Czech border.

“In the region we actually two gold train stories,” Joanna Lamparska, a local historian, told Radio Wroclaw.

“One is supposed to be under a mountain and the other somewhere around Walbrzych.

“But no one has ever seen documentary evidence confirming the existence of such trains.”

Other historians point out that the Nazis dug miles of tunnels in the south-west mountains of what is now Poland in one of the biggest construction projects in the history of the Third Reich.

The reason for the tunnels remain shrouded in mystery, and some believers in the ghost train argue the Germans may have excavated secret railway stashes and hidden the loot in one of them for safe keeping.

The value of its cargo may also explain the lack of documentation of the train as the Germans could have put secrecy before paperwork, they say.

A US soldier inspects thousands of gold wedding bands taken from jews by the Nazi's and stashed in the Heilbron Salt Mines

How the gold came into the Nazis’ posession also remains unclear. It has been suggested the treasure is linked to the Nazis’ monumental wartime looting spree, which stripped museums and private houses of their artworks.

Walbrzych local government has refused to comment on the matter other than to ask the claimants to come forward and give the location of the apparent find as it may have been boobytrapped with mines.

Taduesz Slowikowski, a treasure hunter who has searched for the missing train, said he was sceptical that the alleged find in southern Poland would still contain the treasure.

“They may have found the train, but not the gold,” he told Radio Zet, a Polish national radio station.


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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen: ‘I’ve found wreck of long-lost WWII Japanese battleship’

March 7th, 2015


Japanese battleship Musashi leaving Brunei in 1944 for the Battle of Leyte Gulf

In another Twitter message, Mr Allen wrote, “RIP crew of Musashi, approximately 1,023 lost”.

The second ship in the Yamato-class vessel built for the Imperial Japanese Navy, the Musashi was launched in November 1940 and weighed 72,800 tons when full laden.

At more than 800 feet from bow to stern and with a beam of 121 feet, the vessel was capable of more than 27 knots and had a range of 8,300 miles.

But it was her impressive array of armament – including three turrets each fitted with three 18-inch guns capable of firing a 3,220lb armour-piercing shell more than 46,000 yards – that most worried the Allies.

The wreck of the Musashi is claimed to have been located off the Philippines

Japan originally planned to construct 13 Yamato-class battleships but only the Yamato and Musashi were completed before a shortage of raw materials forced the military to curtail the programme.

A third vessel, the Shinano, was being built but was converted into an aircraft carrier when it became apparent that the era of battleships had been surpassed by naval air power.

Assigned to the Combined Fleet, the Musashi was deployed in early 1943 to Japan’s Pacific base of Truk – known as Japan’s “Gibraltar in the Pacific” due to its defences and strategic importance.


A girder that looks like a catapult used to launched float planes (AFP/Getty)

In October, the Musashi was dispatched with a fleet of 67 vessels to throw back the American landings on the Philippine island of Leyte. Spotted by reconnaissance aircraft from the US fleet on October 24, the Musashi was hit early in the encounter by a torpedo that reduced her speed and manoeuverabilty.

Waves of attacks by US aircraft caused damage the length of the warship – US records state that the Musashi was hit by 19 torpedoes and 17 bombs – until she capsized and sank.

Of the 2,399-man crew, just 1,376 were recovered. Captain Toshihira Inoguchi chose to go down with his vessel.

A wheel on a valve believed to be from a lower engineering area of World War II battleship Musashi (AFP/Getty)

The loss of the Musashi was a serious blow to the power and prestige of the Japanese navy, although historians agree that she would not have been able to alter the outcome of the war in the Pacific, which was already dominated by aircraft carriers.

And to the Japanese public the loss of her sister ship, the Yamato, on a kamikaze mission against the US invasion of Okinawa in April 1945, was a far more dramatic blow to morale. Again hit by torpedoes and bombs dropped by US aircraft, the forward magazine exploded and left a mushroom cloud that rose nearly 4 miles high in the 3,055 of her 3,332 crew perished.

The wreck of the Yamato was located in 1982 in 1,120 feet of water some 180 miles south-west of the Japanese island of Kyushu.

Seattle-born Allen, 62, is the 51st richest man in the world, according to Forbes Magazine, with a net worth of $ 17.5 billion, and has long been interested in discovering wrecks of historical importance, as well as space exploration.

His search for the Musashi began more than eight years ago and drew on historical records from four countries, detailed undersea topographical data and advanced technology aboard his yacht, the 414-foot M/Y Octopus.

Despite numerous eyewitness accounts of the engagement, the exact location of the ship has remained unknown for 71 years.

The Musashi was launched in 1940

Mr Allen’s team combined historical data with advanced technology to narrow the search area, with a hypsometric bathymetric survey of the ocean floor commissioned to determine the terrain. This data was used to eliminate large areas for the search team and also resulted in the discovery of five new geographic features on the floor of the Sibuyan Sea.

In February, the team set out to conduct the final phase of the search using a BlueFin-12 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. Because the search area had been so narrowly defined by the previous survey, the AUV was able to detect the wreckage of the Musashi on only its third dive. A remote operated vehicle with a high-definition camera confirmed the identity of the wreckage as being that of the Musashi.

“Since my youth, I have been fascinated with World War II history, inspired by my father’s service in the U.S. Army”, said Mr. Allen. “The Musashi is truly an engineering marvel and, as an engineer at heart, I have a deep appreciation for the technology and effort that went into its construction.

“I am honored to play a part in finding this key vessel in naval history and honouring the memory of the incredible bravery of the men who served aboard her”, he added.

In a statement, Mr Allen said the research team is “mindful of the responsibility related to the wreckage of the Musashi as a war grave and intend to work with the Japanese government to ensure the site is treated respectfully and in accordance with Japanese traditions”.

In 2012, he loaned the M/Y Octopus to the British government to search for the bell of HMS Hood, which was sunk by the Bismark in May 1941. The search of the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland was unsuccessful, however, because of poor weather and powerful currents at depths of 9,200 feet around the wreck.


World War Two

Top secret D-Day plans found hidden under hotel’s floorboards

February 10th, 2015

“They are quite detailed and specific orders to be followed by troops on the ground.”

The hotel caught fire in the 1970s, but miraculously the documents survived the huge blaze. One refers to ‘D-Day 1′ 7 July 1944 and mentioned difficulties in setting up a 10-mile telephone cable as troops advanced into France.


The Balmer Lawn Hotel as it looked during the Second World War (M&Y News)

A hotel spokesman said: “We are still in the process of evaluating the papers but some seem to include code on while others are more to do with the day-to-day organisation of the soldiers. One includes an invite to all personnel to attend a musical variety show.

“Perhaps of most interest are the documents that refer to the D-Day landings.

“One document refers to D-Day1 – June 7 1944 – and mentions difficulties in setting up a ten-mile telephone cable as troops continued advancing into northern France.”

The documents were dusty, dirty and in bad shape but still readable.


Some of the newly discovered secret documents relating to the D-Day landings (M&Y News)

Chris added: “They’re in a delicate condition and unscrunching them will have to be done very carefully. After that I imagine we’ll put them on display.”

The hotel’s military history pre-dates WWII. It was built as a private house and hunting lodge in 1800 and extended in 1850.

During the WWI it was used as a field hospital, with injured soldiers being wheeled there on luggage trolleys from Brockenhurst station.

During the 1940s conflict it transformed into an army staff college. Some of the orders for the D-Day invasion were issued from the hotel ahead of the landings on June 6 1944.

Famous people who visited the hotel during the two wars included King George V, Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower.


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Vanished WW2 plane found in Black Sea

April 22nd, 2014

Objects found on board include uniform (a cap, briefcase, boots and a perfectly preserved belt with a silver buckle bearing Nazi insignia) and personal items including a shaving brush, toothpaste and toothbrush, torch and thermos flask.

The plane was also carrying official documents – Nazi maps sealed in foil to protect them from fire.

It is speculated that the weather turned bad during the crossing, and that pilot Leutnant Horst Ringel, crippled by poor visibility, directed his plane off course and crash-landed in the Black Sea.

Underwater photographer, Andrey Nekrasov, 42, was in the team of divers which found the wreckage (Medavia)

Records show the plane had been carrying 9 passengers, including observer Oberstleutnant Baron Axel Freiherr von Jena and signaller Karl Kroch, whose name was found on the remains of a sword belt recovered from the wreck.

Mr Nekrasov said: ”There were no records of a crashed plane of this type in this area.

”The wreckage was very deep down so visibility was poor. We could only see three metres in front of us at any time.

”We have tried to recreate the whole picture of the events using just a couple of artefacts which were 70 years old and found at the bottom of the sea.

”A plane on the seabed always looks very strange. It turned out the story behind this one was even stranger.”


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