« Stuff You Missed in History Class

Who stole the Amber Room?

2010-03-15 | 🔗

Often hailed as "the eighth wonder of the world," the Amber Room is an opulent room adorned with gold and precious amber. History buffs would love to see the room for themselves, but there's one problem: it's missing. Learn more in this episode.

Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
move episode of stuff you missed them history classes brought to you by w w formerly wait watchers they have launched the new my debbie debbie programme is their most groundbreaking and customize i'm ever when you join the mai debbie debbie program you will take a personal assessment that's about your eating habits and your behaviors and that its scientifically matches you up with a proven weight loss plan i'm on the blue plan and it makes a huge difference for me in terms of income bring me eat healthy foods so head on debbie debbie dot com that's w w dot com to joint debbie debbie today with a limited time offer how old bunnies mrs ard marine you may know me from chelsea lately or as regina sinclair on insatiable i want to tell you about my comedy podcast will you accept this rose which is new to the eye heart radio podcast network we re cap every season at the bachelor franchise including the bachelor the bachelor at an bachelor in paradise we bring in bachelor super fans including last bass nicky glaser debbie ryan and more listen to www
yet this rose on the ice radio app apple pie cas or wherever you get your part cast welcome to stuff you missed in history class from house of works dot com hello and welcome to the pride cast an katy lambert and unfair daddy thing you should know about us is that we have indeed and dividing love for american girl dolls i had kirsten and sarah had felicity and only non felicity accessory that i think sarah wanted was christians amber necklace out the lights out he's carry shall necklace but i really loved kirsten little heart shaped amber neck lasted i you might also know amber because of jurassic park play also around the same time here the early mid nineties aguilar above it contains a mosquito and they take the dna from it and recreate the dinosaur
but we are not gonna be talking about amber in either of those senses today no no american girl dolls and no dinosaurs instead we're going to talk about something more impressive and less fictional it's the amber room of russia i've called by some the eighth wonder world lots many things if wonders nothing is ever the eleventh wonder of the world so it's this man sent room now made out of precious ambering gold its inornate baroque masterpiece and being inside of it is often described as being like being inside of a jury box that i kind of jeanette like screech make dark wallowing in his chamber of gold and treasure but the the cool thing about the amber room is that its missing or so what happened to it and that's it we're going to answer today but before we get to that we're gonna go back to the history of the amber room it's not actually from russia its from
pressure and construction began in seventeen o one it was originally installed the shower lawton palace which was the home of frederick the first who was the king of prussia it was and by a german baroque sculptor andrea's shooter and constructed by a danish amber craftsmen gottfried wolfram so it's truly this international effort from the start and peter the great of russia managed to come around see the amber room and he liked what he saw and by this point frederick william the first had inherited the thrown from his father and he was much more interested in his army than an art especially in completing the amber room which was quite fresh get so he saw a good opportunity for diplomacy and gave the amber room to peter as a gift in seventeen sixty and the cement the russian prussian alliance against freedom and i think russian prussian
sciences by new favorite hyphenated combo the amber room is shipped off to russia and eighteen boxes where russian craftsmen along with german supervisors and its installed in the winter house and saint petersburg as part of a european art collection and the real isn't really a room it's a series of wall panels inlaid with carved amber wall mirrors and for florentine most acts with onyx courts and jade and the mosaics were allegories of the senses in their parquet floors
swell and baroque gilded would carvings and amber itself is carved into garlands and cherubs and it's all extremely integrate and a lot of it is backed in gold leaf so that its sparkles if you if you see a picture of the amber room it's just this golden hued baroque masterpiece i guess you'd call it in seventeen fifty fives arena elizabeth said let's move it to the cap palace and push can tsars village but this is a bigger realm so an italian named bartolomeo francesco rest rally redesign it to fit and add some new amber from berlin and accordingly estonia is are you not elizabeth used the amber room as her private meditation chamber which i just think that funny imagining trying to get out
then in the amorous scrooge mc ducks dear catherine the great used it as a gathering space show it after all your friends and alexander the second used it as a trophy space he was really into collecting amber and filled it with a lot of interesting amber objects but after if eighteenth century russian renovation the room eventually is a hundred and eighty square feet with six times of amber and semi precious stones it was worth one hundred and forty two million dollars and today's u s dollars so this is quite around nothing like my apartment and the amber rooms value is sure to get it some attention during world war two from guess who the nazis well we know all about the nazis genocidal ambition but its coupled with something else and that's looting
leading from nations and individuals looting money and cultural artifacts and the germans were surely under financed at the start of the war so to make up for that they had to steel in the u s state of permanent what's that they stole four hundred million dollars in gold from the occupied nations one hundred and forty million in gold from individuals and this is mostly from individuals who are sent a concentration camp the nazis would still not only their personal wealth but their jewelry even go gold feelings and along with this hitler wanted to build the best uneasy that ever existed in his home town that way germany would also be the centre of world art and he had a wish list of works that he desired to have and managed to seize quite a bit of it so skipping ahead just a tiny bit again on june twenty second nineteen forty one operator
barber rose again and that's when three million german soldiers are sent to the soviet union and ok that goes without saying that you're art and treasure obsess nazi are gonna know about the amber em and they're gonna know where it is in its the perfect treasure for them it's worth a ton of money and its representative of another goal which is to bring german works of art back to germany
so the curator is that catherine palace try to hide the amber room knowing that the nazis likely take it if they find it and take down the paneling but because its dried out and in need of restoration starts to crumble so instead they paper it over hoping that the nazis will notice but that doesn't fool the german soldiers they find it disassembled paneling and packet in twenty seven crates to ship to koenigsberg germany which today is kaliningrad russia an interesting early enough this happens to be the centre of the amber industry for the past three hundred years so the ever room is re assembled in the castle museum koenigsberg and offered road heard is in charge of the museum and he's really interested
amber and he studied the panel's that make up the room and he puts it on display in its on display there for two years in eighteen forty three the germans are in the same position russia had been in two years earlier someone is coming in this case the allies who might want the amber room so what are they going to do with it can they hide it an rota is told to pack up this is where its last seen and creates so august nineteen forty four the allies bomb the city and the the castle and destroyed about a year later april nineteen eighteen forty five star red army entered the city burns everything and annexes koenigsberg as kaliningrad so here's our question what happened to the amber room where did it go does it still exist
what condition would it be and since then the majority of the amber room has been missing and everyone from the kgb to amateur amber room hunters have tried to find it and there are a lot of theories about what happened to it they get weirder and weirder sesar and arrogant to name a few one the crates were destroyed when the allied bonds the building and others that the crates survive the bombing but were destroyed in the red army fire dissenters about this theory say that if amber had been burned the whole city would have smelled of it because after all it is tree rather than an interesting led the way you trust the authenticity of amber is by warming a pen and if you can smell the scent of israel although counterfeiters can get around that by quoting it real in a real lair the idea is that the amber is still in kaliningrad still hidden in another is that the room was
period it away and hidden somewhere else in europe theories range from the czech republic germany or perhaps it wound up on a ship and has now sunken in the baltic and then the ear summer of our kind of strange theories stalin had a second amber room and the germans actually stole a decoy or hitler's body wasn burnt it was actually buried with the amber doesn't really explain where the amber innocent but work go into a little more detail on some of the recent theories about the amber room in two thousand for a british investigative journalist concluded that it but been destroyed in the context of careful fire
stolen however wooden about this idea he believed that the amber was shipped out before the bombings and consequently in eighteen forty five and forty seven ordered that the catholic ruins be searched for any trace of amber none was found and so the kgb and the stasi the german secret police tried to find it instead they gotta go at it the search actually became important to the soviets as cold war propaganda it's still a patriotic point for many russians but there's more to it than that in two thousand eight two men heinz peter how stein and christian harnish insisted that not seek old and maybe even the amber room were in deutsche katerina limburg germany it was slow going because they believed there might be booby traps guarding it but how stein later rejected his claim that they may have found the amber room and said it was just going to be gold and we actually have a great
julia layton article on this which is could treasure hunters have discovered not seek old and i think there's an earlier podcast on it too in breaking news stories happening right now forget too fond of things that he's found the amber room under a bunker or thinks that it might be located under a bunker in kaliningrad and if this hunt comes to nothing the museum in kaliningrad is benefiting because the skies actually pumping out water from the old bunker so any maintenance is gas there there looking right now so maybe by the time we publish will have another thing to add and if not maybe we'll be able to put it on our twitter where we put some really cool history stories you should find us right missed in history so huge cover ease of nazi gold and other art works and lose
have been made though and probably the biggest one was right in nineteen five when patents army discovered that mercury is mine the nazi we were talking about earlier was largely kept in the reichstag but after nineteen forty five much of it was transferred to mind that were far it had a berlin because it would be safer when the allies get wind of the mine they check it out and find an enormous ram stacked high with gold and silver fell ash and masterpieces of art from rembrandt and ran and rough i'll the amber room is buried in some deep mine like this if even be ok amber is not like gold or silver and the answer is probably not according to amber expert alexander she
if its hidden in a mine it's probably ruined and it needed to be restored even before it was stolen so would only have deteriorated more young and we mention that the russians were unable to take it down cosette was crumbling that you can only imagine what a state it was an after being packed and created all these times and potentially buried somewhere by the late in seventys the russians gave up on seriously searching for the original ample room and instead commissioned a replica work began and nineteen eighty two and it was a really daunting task the craftsmen working on it had to re learn the skills of the amber girls i cutting carving and dying amber which isn't something we really do anymore these were we're long dead skilled at least on this scale and thing for the projects stopped in the mid nineties but it was saved by three point five million dollar donation from rural gas which is a german natural gas company so if it was this rekindling of either of them
the lion threaten their human point of view other russian fashion in another special ten thousand came from a woman in manhattan to purchase great pieces amber that had just come on the market and according to the new york times than that with significant not so much because of the amount of easily ten thousand versus report million but because these pieces amber had been held in private collections for so long they had to be bought as soon as they appeared and the recreation of the amber room was entirely based on old black and white photos and the memories of museum curators but and ninety ninety southern craftsmen finally got to compare their worked for you at all when german art detectives heard someone was trying to sell part of the ambit room so they go to the sellers lawyers office and they
finding an original mosaic panel in bremen which i think at german art detective sounds like a pretty fun job next job so objects from the amber room had managed to survive though and weep we knew where they were russians were able to hide things like tables and jewelry boxes and check that made up amber instead area and in two thousand three they knew ten million dollar amber room opened vladimir putin and hard schroeder dedicated it at the three hundred year anniversary of saint petersburg but there's still
question if the original amber room does show up somebody manages to find it who owns it and towards the end of the twentieth century countries got a little more serious about making efforts to return stolen nazi gold and not the items to individuals into countries and if the individual's weren't around to receive them to donate them too monitoring group especially those that benefit holocaust survivors but the geneva conventions dictate that items of cultural significance so like your embryo or your amber room be returned to the country that they came from so if you're an amber room hunter it's not like you're gonna be able to keep it for yourself surely would go back to russia and
there now four would be amber room hunters there is a so called amber room curse alfred rota the director at the clinic spared castle museum and his wife died of typhus while the kgb was investigating realm and george stein and amber room hunter and former german soldier was murdered in nineteen eighty seven in the forest near munich so maybe not quite the king tut tune curse but still something to think about and we'd like to mention that this was also a listener request from gavin and gavin actually got to visit the re created amber room and noted that you're not allowed to take photographs in it which i think is interested i wonder if the flash would just bouts everywhere blind everyone and some people say that in the amber room you can feel heat rising off the walls like there's some sort of bizarre energy feel which is something that the tsars report to that everything energy field
but the heat and the amber you might just be because there are five hundred candles to make an extra glittering so if you ve had an experience at the amber on the citizen a male and let us now history pod cast at house for stockholm and that brings us to listener male today's listener mail is actual mail which is our favorite kind of mail and we got a postcard up the devil's postponed national monument from a listener who said happy here's ladies really enjoy the show and i heard you ask for postcards so here is and to add to your hopefully growing collection keep up your wonderful work thanks to you and we also got a really fabulous car from a listener named rachel that should designed for is now only car yes it's really gorgeous i love your podcast i'm a freelance illustrator in less than a lot more working putting valentines together over the weekend and your podcast on great battle horses came on live is drawing the horse on this card i dont know how well
do in battle thou looks a bit skittish and it's really gorgeous and it has morrissey lyrics on the front and if you'd like to check out your website its rachel dash paris but back to the nazi goals we ve got a great article on it call could treasure hunters have discovered nazi gold mentioned earlier you'll find it on our website at w w you thought how stuff works dot com for more openness and thousands of other topics for the house works that cars and be sure to check out the step he missed in history to ass blood on the house to correct that count
the richest most powerful place on earth of friction podcast to one based on an epic scale powers everything power gives everything we have to get away from this place to my bay is our destiny now only i hope because network listens all episodes of tumor bay seasons one until now for free on the eye hot radio up apropos costs or wherever you get your pockets my name is subversion man escargot p cordiality and this is the peak and sebastian pod catches is a show just you guys hey comedian p coralie and i were this is comedy gold
listen to the sebastian show on iheartradio radio apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts
Transcript generated on 2020-02-06.