Before major conflicts like World War II broke out, countries had their own valuable items, be they gold, money, art, or historical artifacts that were of cultural value. Usually, these treasures are worth millions, heck, even trillions of dollars. Now, during chaotic moments, these items could not always be secured and hidden away from enemies or whoever had the interest to have their hands on these prized possessions. Thus, only some of these treasures were retrieved, but many were still left missing, either stolen or hidden away from the public. With that, here are some of those valuable items that were still yet to be found. Who knows, maybe you could find them.
The Amber Room
The Amber Room, as you could imagine, was as magical as its name. It was a chamber made of pure amber panels, gold leaf, mirrors, gildings, carvings, gemstones, and candles, all twinkling and glowing like the galaxy compressed in a single room. It was constructed in the 18th century in Prussia, intended for the Charlottenburg Palace, although it ended up being installed at the Berlin City Palace.
The glistening room remained in Berlin until 1716 until it was given by the Prussian King Frederick William I to Tsar Peter the Great of the Russian Empire. It was installed in the Catherine Palace in Russia, where after many renovations and expansions, it contained more than 13,000 pounds of amber.
After the Operation Barbarossa of WWII, many treasures were looted by the Nazis, and the Amber Room was one of them. In Early 1944, the Allied forces were closing in on Germany, so they immediately disassembled and stored the Amber Room away, never to be seen again. In 2003, a replica of the room was completed in the Catherin Palace, with 900 pounds of amber panels, far from the real dazzle of the original Amber Room. In 2020, Polish divers found the wreckage of a German WWII ship that was thought to help solve the mystery of the missing Amber Room.
The tale of the missing Yamashita’s Gold was a blur of myth and reality, and time even made it more blurry, but the story was pretty popular in the Philippines. According to the story set in World War II, the Japanese did not only tear down one Asian city after the other and brutally kill the people but also looted each of the cities they left in devastation. The Japanese emperor specifically created a group called Kin no yuri, which translates to “Golden Lily,” to plunder valuable items all over Asia.
General Tomoyuki Yamashita ordered for the treasures to be hidden in underground tunnels in the Philippines. For years after the war, people both from and outside the Philippines tried to search for these treasures but to no avail. In 1988, a rather complex lawsuit was filed in a Hawaiian state court by Rogelio Roxas, a Filipino treasure hunter, against Ferdinand Marcos, the former dictator, and President of the Philippines, and his wife Imelda Marcos for theft and human rights abuses (one of their many cases.)
According to Roxas, he managed to get hold of the map that would point to the Yamashita’s gold location from a former Japanese WWII soldier. Together with his team, Roxas headed to the location and discovered some proof that the treasure might indeed be there. However, when the greedy president heard about it, he had Roxas arrested and tortured and his findings confiscated.
He filed a case against Marcos. After a long and agonizing journey that involved terrorizing, hiding, and more torturing, Roxas won the case only to die on the evening of the trial, with the official cause being tuberculosis. With no autopsy performed, it was apparent that there was some foul play involved. As for the treasures that Roxas managed to find, no one really knew where they were. Perhaps they weren’t true at all, or maybe they were somewhere along with the other ill-gotten wealth and treasures of the Marcoses.
MV Awa Maru Treasures
The Awa Maru was a Japanese ocean liner owned by Nippon Yusen Kaisha. In 1945, she was sailing in the Pacific to transport hundreds of military personnel, diplomats, and civilians who were stranded in Singapore. On April 1, however, she was intercepted by the US submarine Queenfish while in the Taiwan Strait, having her mistaken for a destroyer. This was far from the truth as Awa Maru was protected by Red Cross and the “Relief for POWs” agreement, being a hospital ship.
Tragically, Queenfish sank Awa Maru, and among the 2,400 passengers, only one miraculously survived. It was rumored that along with Awa Maru, some $5 billion worth of gold, platinum, and diamonds sank. In 1980, the People’s Republic of China launched salvage efforts and successfully located the wreck site of the ship. Five years and $100 million expended by the Chinese Communists trying to recover its riches, no treasures were found, and the search was called off.
When the NSA scoured through the intercepted communications after the salvage attempt, they found out that the treasures were not intended to be taken back to Japan but instead sent from Japan to Singapore and then delivered to Thailand. According to Taiwan Trails and Tales, Kantora Shimoda, the lone survivor of the tragedy, left the smallest hint about where the treasure was before he died.
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