WWII shipwreck off Polish coast could contain legendary Amber Room, say divers
Polish divers have found the wreck of a WWII German steamer that they say might contain the long-lost Amber Room.
Named after the German city of Karlsruhe, the steamer sank in the spring of 1945 on its way from what is now the region of Kaliningrad in Russia to Germany.
Now the ship has been located off the Polish coast, a few dozen kilometres north of the seaside resort town of Ustka.
It was found 88 metres under water, after a search of around a year, by the Baltictech team of divers from the Gdańsk area that studies shipwrecks in the Baltic sea.
The team had access to reports by the Soviet pilots who sank the ship in 1945, but even these mentioned five different positions.
Practically untouched for decades, the wreck contains items ranging from military vehicles to porcelain, as well as many mysterious boxes with unknown contents, which are already capturing people’s imagination.
There are suspicions that the wreck might contain the prized Amber Room. Richly decorated with amber panels, the room was created in the 18th century and located at the Catherine Palace of Tsarskoe Selo near St Petersburg.
During the Second World War, it was disassembled by German soldiers and moved to Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) in 1941. It has not been seen in public since the war, but the belief that some of it survived endures.
According to Polish diver Tomasz Stachura, who led the search for the wreck, it could “provide groundbreaking information on the disappearance of the legendary Amber Room”.
“It was in Königsberg that the Amber Room was seen for the last time. From there, the steamer "Karlsruhe" set out on its final voyage with a major load,” he added.
The team wants to continue examining the wreck – and the mysterious cargo on board.
Tomasz Zwara, a member of the Baltictech team, said: “Finding the German steamer and the crates with contents that are unknown at the moment resting on the bottom of the Baltic Sea could be significant for the whole of history.”