By 2020, the discovery had stunned historians: the Karlsruhe, a nazi war cruiser torpedoed and sunk during World War II, it had been found almost by chance, during an inspection of a submarine power cable.
Found in Ustka (off the coast of Norway, in the Baltic Sea), it was at a depth of almost 500 meters and vertical position, a rarity according to experts, considering that most of the ships of these dimensions lie on one side.
Now, what was already a remarkable find took on shades of amazing when investigators continued to examine the sunken ship. The reason? Experts suspect that within the remains could be found “The Chamber of Ambar”, also known as The Eighth Wonder of the World.
A team of divers explores the remains of the Nazi ship Karlsruhe. Photo: Reuters
“The Chamber of Ambar” and a mystery of almost 80 years
Designed in 1701 by the Baroque sculptor Andreas Schülter, this work was the most outstanding of the palace that Frederick I of Prussia had in Berlin. Its dimensions and composition explain its majesty: around 55 square meters, it was made with approximately 6 tons of amber and lots of semi-precious stones. How much would it currently be worth? Experts estimate that around $ 176,000,000.
The Chamber of Ambar, the eighth wonder of the world. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The story goes that in 1716, the camera was gifted to Tsar Peter I the Great as a way to seal the alliance between Prussia and Russia against Sweden. In this way, the treasure traveled from Berlin to present-day Pushkin, near Saint Petersburg. Although at first it was to be placed in the Winter Palace, Tsarina Isabel ordered its transfer to the Catherine Palace in the Villa de los Zares, in 1755.
The Amber Chamber was designed in 1701 by the Baroque sculptor Andreas Schülter. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The years passed, and La Cámara de Ambar survived the Russian Revolution from 1917 and arrived intact to World War II. There everything changed: on June 22, 1941, Adolf Hitler began the “Operation Barbarossa”, with the aim of invading the Soviet Union.
The Amber Chamber could be among the remains of Karlsruhe. Photo: Reuters
Although the Soviets tried to hide it, Nazi soldiers managed to find it. His intentions: dismantle it and take it back to Germany. The first step was to take her to the Königsberg castle (present-day Kaliningrad), where the camera remained until the end of 1943.
It was a year later, in 1944, when the track of this treasure began to be lost. The Allied army bombed Königsberg and the castle where the Amber Chamber was located was destroyed. Of course: some versions indicated that at that time a Nazi ship came to set sail from the port of the city with a heavy and valuable cargo. It was the Karlsruhe.
What the experts say
“The ship is practically intact. In its cellars we discovered military vehicles, porcelain and many boxes with content still a stranger“, detailed Tomasz Stachura, one of the divers in charge of reviewing the remains of the Nazi cruiser.
Inside the Karlsruhe there are “many boxes with contents still unknown”. Photos: Reuters
According to the British newspaper The Guardian, Karlsruhe was part of the Operation Hannibal, one of the largest sea evacuations in history, which helped more than a million German soldiers and East Prussian civilians to escape the soviet advance in the last years of the Second World War.
The Karlsruhe cruiser was sunk by the Nazis themselves after being damaged by an English submarine.
Documents of the time indicate that the ship sailed from Königsberg “in a hurry” and a “big load”. There were also 1,083 people on board. “All of this, taken together, stimulates the human imagination. Finding the German cruise ship and the boxes with as yet unknown content resting on the bottom of the Baltic Sea can be meaningful to the whole story“Tomasz Zwara, another of those who participated in the operation, was hopeful.
The Karlsruhe left Königsberg “in a hurry” and a “heavy load”. Photo: Reuters
For now, recovery work continues around Karlsruhe. And also to the Eighth Wonder of the World? Time, in the end, will tell.
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