Dig for Nazi gold BEGINS: Treasure hunters start excavating at Polish palace

Treasure hunters have started digging for 10 tonnes of Nazi gold at an 18th century palace in southern Poland.

Led by the Silesian Bridge Foundation, the dig in the village of Minkowskie is concentrating on an old orangery in a small area of the 14-hectare palace park. 

It is thought treasures, stolen on the orders of SS boss Heinrich Himmler to set up a Fourth Reich, are buried there.

A team of specialists will carefully remove layers of earth by hand as it is also being treated as an archaeological site to uncover the foundations of the orangery.

Treasure hunters have started digging for 10 tonnes of Nazi gold at an 18th century palace in Minkowskie, southern Poland

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Treasure hunters have started digging for 10 tonnes of Nazi gold at an 18th century palace in Minkowskie, southern Poland

A team of specialists are carefully removing layers of earth by hand as it is also being treated as an archaeological site to uncover the foundations of the orangery

A team of specialists are carefully removing layers of earth by hand as it is also being treated as an archaeological site to uncover the foundations of the orangery 

The dig is being led by the Silesian Bridge Foundation and is concentrating on an old orangery in a small area of the 14-hectare park at the palace (pictured)

The dig is being led by the Silesian Bridge Foundation and is concentrating on an old orangery in a small area of the 14-hectare park at the palace (pictured)

The dig is taking place in the grounds of the 18th century palace in the village of Minkowskie, southern Poland, and is expected to last for most of May

The dig is taking place in the grounds of the 18th century palace in the village of Minkowskie, southern Poland, and is expected to last for most of May

Roman Furmaniak from the Foundation said: ‘We know we are looking in the right place because the foundation spoke several times to Inge before she died and she told us to look here.

‘We will dig to a depth of 5 metres. The site was secured by specialists 75 years ago, so we need specialists now to uncover it.’

He added that they may find five French prisoners of war who are said to have been murdered immediately after helping to dig the hiding place.

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The location was revealed by secret documents - an SS officer's diary and a map -  that the treasure hunters received from the descendants of officers belonging to a secretive lodge dating back over 1,000 years.

Among the bundle of documents is a letter from a senior SS officer calling himself von Stein to one of the girls who worked at the palace and who later became his lover.

The officer wrote: 'My dear Inge, I will fulfil my assignment, with God's will. Some transports were successful. The remaining 48 heavy Reichsbank's chests and all the family chests I hereby entrust to you.

'Only you know where they are located. May God help you and help me, fulfil my assignment.'

A few days prior to the dig, the Foundation said it had stumbled upon a WWII German bayonet in the grounds of Inge’s old house and said this was a clear indication that they are looking in the right place.

Furmaniak said: ‘We know from the Quedlinberg Lodge that Inge had a bayonet and two guns.

‘She would have hidden them because if the Russians found them it would have been very dangerous for her.’

It is thought treasures, stolen on the orders of SS boss Heinrich Himmler to set up a Fourth Reich, are buried at the site

It is thought treasures, stolen on the orders of SS boss Heinrich Himmler to set up a Fourth Reich, are buried at the site

Archaeologists are expected to be excavating the site for most of May in the hope of finding the long lost treasures

Archaeologists are expected to be excavating the site for most of May in the hope of finding the long lost treasures

The Foundation said it had stumbled upon a WWII German bayonet (pictured) in the grounds of the house a few days prior to starting the dig

The Foundation said it had stumbled upon a WWII German bayonet (pictured) in the grounds of the house a few days prior to starting the dig

The discovery of the bayonet at the site was, they said, a clear indication they were in the correct place

The discovery of the bayonet at the site was, they said, a clear indication

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