War Diary identifying hidden Nazi treasure a forgery created ‘many years after WWII’, say experts
A War Diary claiming to contain information about places where valuables and works of art were hidden in Lower Silesia is a Polish-German forgery likely produced sometime after 1982, according to an analysis carried out by historical mystery researchers.
Historian Łukasz Orlicki from the Discoverer group which carried out a critical source analysis on the contents of the diary, said: “The result of our analysis unequivocally identifies the war diary as a fictional text created many years after the war.”
In 2019, the Silesian Bridge Foundation made headlines when it announced that it was in possession of the War Diary and that it knew the location of 11 hiding places where the retreating Germans hid some of the valuables and riches they had gathered during the war.
According to the diary, an astonishing quantity of gold, art, valuables and religious artefacts were stashed away in safe hiding places across Lower Silesia to avoid them falling into the hands of the advancing Red Army.
The officer, named in the diary as Michaelis, was said to be the link between senior SS officers and local aristocrats who wanted help to protect their property from the Soviets.
The foundation claims that the diary belongs to a mysterious religious group known as the Quedlinburgers.
The claims of the foundation, led by Roman Furmaniak, aroused much interest in Poland and throughout the world, as well as a lot of scepticism.
In May 2021, after obtaining permission from the conservator of historical monuments, the Foundation began exploratory work at a palace in the village of Minkowskie in the Opole region, where valuables were believed to be hidden.
In July last year, the foundation agreed to hand over the diary to experts grouped around the Odkrywca monthly magazine, which writes about historical explorations and mysteries.
The experts who inspected the diary included historians Lukasz Orlicki, Sobiesław Nowotny, and Krzysztof Krzyzanowski.
According to historian Łukasz Orlicki, the book itself is an accounting book from the turn of the 20th century with almost 600 pages, the majority of which have not been written on.
The notes containing information about the hidden valuables and artwork cover only nine pages and were written in pencil.
Orlicki and his group discovered that this part of the book was divided into two parts – one that included a general description of what was happening in the war and details of events from Lower Silesia, and a second part involving the mission to hide valuables.
The group focused on analysing the first portion of the diary and found that it contained references to unknown events and characters who were later determined to have actually lived during the period described in the notes.
According to Orlicki, at first this seemed to lend credence to the authenticity of the diary.
Further investigation, though, revealed that the passages in the diary were transcribed from accounts of German refugees who fled Lower Silesia in 1945 and were later published in a book in Germany in the 1960s called Die Flucht (The Flight).
Orlicki determined that all of the details in the general description part of the diary were also in Die Flucht. He also said that these details were often coped word-for-word, or almost word-for-word in the diary.
One of the only people mentioned in the diary who is known to be made up is the mysterious character Ollenhauer, who appears in the war diary the organiser of the operation to hide gold and treasure.
In the 1970s and 80s, the same name appeared in newspaper articles in Poland about the alleged hiding of the Gold of Breslau (the supposed contents of the famous Walbrzych Gold Train from 2015).
In these articles, the name appeared with different spellings, only congealing into the spelling Ollenhauer in 1982.
For this reason, Orlicki believes that the diary must have been forged in or after 1982 and with the help and cooperation of someone who was familiar with events in Poland at the time.