Near the idyllic, picturesque Berchtesgaden in the German Bavarian Alps (and incidentally the location of Hitler's secret Nazi bunker), a lucky, unnamed 16-year-old stumbled upon the treasure of a lifetime while going for a little swim in the Konigssee River last week: a big-ass bar of gold. It weighs just more than a pound, and the German newspaper Die Welt estimates it's worth 16,000 euros, or about $18,000.
Die Welt notes there's a number scraped off at the bottom of a bar, perhaps a marker of identification. Curious detail, right? Sure is, my friend. (Officials searched the lake far and wide, and found no other gold. Interesting.)
The newspaper also reports that there is a legend/fable of Nazi gold in the Konigssee. But! Officials insist that this gold is NOT Nazi gold, no sir, and a police spokesman vehemently denied that this tale is true. "There is no Treasure of Silver Lake," he said.
However! Our dear friends over at The Museum of Unnatural History (and their admittedly dubious, archaic webpage notwithstanding) might disagree with this assertion.
On their page titled "Nazi Gold," they tell the story of "the greatest robbery in history." As Nazi troops maneuvered through Europe, this site says Germans "looted the bank reserves" of countries and stripped Holocaust victims of all their valuables. All told, they collected $520 million in 1945 dollars, mostly in gold bullion, gold coins and, importantly, gold bars. By April of 1945, however, things weren't looking so hot for Nazi Germany. They retreated to southern Bavaria, and supposedly hid 730 gold bars near Lake Walchensee, a hop and a skip from our lucky teen's fantastic find.
And no one ever found them…
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.