How The US Stumbled Onto a Nazi Treasure Worth $16 Billion

The Kaiseroder Mine haul

Grant Piper

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(Public domain)

On April 12th, 1945, General George Patton escorted General Omar Bradley and Supreme Commander Dwight Eisenhower to a nondescript mineshaft in Merkers, Germany. The trio, three of the most powerful men in the world at the time, crammed themselves into a rickety elevator and descended over 1,000 feet into the Earth. At the bottom, a group of military police gawked as the generals strode by into the mine complex. Kaiseroda Mine was a potassium mine that had largely been depleted, leaving numerous tunnels and carved out caverns. It was one of many such mines that dotted the industrial heartland of Germany. But this particular mine was different.

Intelligence officers from Patton’s Third Army had stumbled onto the mine after interviewing a number of people from the local area. There were rumors that the mine had been used to store troves of Nazi gold. Such rumors were rife in Europe at the time, and many were skeptical. After a thorough investigation, the mine was found to be stuffed with treasure. Patton was shown the mine, and upon seeing the treasure, Patton immediately summoned Eisenhower.

What they saw in the Kaiseroda Mine was mind-boggling.

The Treasure

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Grant Piper

Professional writer. Amateur historian. Husband, father, Christian.