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There’s been speculation about the existence of the ‘Schatzgraber’ for close to 70 years. Now, Russian scientists have located the ‘Treasure Hunter’ station set up by the Nazis beyond the Arctic Circle — the northernmost base of the invaders during World War II — barely 1,000 km from the North Pole
RUSSIAN RESEARCHERS have released a video of a tactical weather station built by the Nazis deep in the frozen Arctic at the height of World War II. The researchers found the base, codenamed “Schatzgraber” (“Fortune Seeker” or “Treasure Hunter”) at Alexandra Land, an island in the Franz Josef Land group of islands situated above the 80 degree north latitude, about 1,000 km from the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean.
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THE BASE is believed to have been built on direct orders from Adolf Hitler in 1942, a year after his invasion of Russia. It was integral to the Nazi war campaign: the Germans, according to Russia Today, which reported on the discovery, needed weather data from the Arctic to help their cruisers and submarines in their raids along the Northern Sea route.
THE SCIENTISTS have found close to 500 artifacts, including World War II relics, meteorological devices, household objects, and personal belongings with Nazi insignia, much of it well preserved in the snow, RT reported. “Before it was only known from written sources, but now we also have real proof,” Evgeny Ermolov, a senior researcher at the Russian Arctic National Park, of which the island is part, said in a statement.
THE NAZIS landed a small group of observers at the Alexandra Land post, located 500 m from the shore and 30 m above sea level, the Daily Mail reported. Supplies were dropped from the air.
THE STATION transmitted more than 700 weather reports between September 1943, when it became operational, and July 1944, when it was abandoned, according to the Russian researchers.
IT WAS ABANDONED after all residents were hit by trichinosis, after they ate raw polar bear meat infected by roundworms. Some believe the men were rescued by a German U-boat; the Russians say they were airlifted to Norway. Ermolov’s statement said the researchers have found remains of a temporary airfield on which big four-engine transport aircraft like the FW-200 Condor could have landed.
Window to History
THE RUSSIANS hope the findings will provide clarity on the Nazi army’s operations in the Arctic during the War. The findings are being transported to Arkhangelsk in northern Russia and, according to Russia Today, they will be displayed in an exhibition later this year.