LakeToplitz is a lake situated in a dense mountain forest high up in the Austrian Alps, 60 miles from Salzburg city in western Austria. It is surrounded by cliffs and forests in the picturesque Salzkammergut lake district within the Totes Gebirge, or dead mountains.
It is believed that the lake carries the past misdeeds of Germany in World War II. Supposedly, the Nazis stashed vast quantities of gold and other priceless plunder, including the lost panels from Russia’s Amber Room, as well as documents detailing the whereabouts of other Third Reich caches.
It has also been reported that after the war, former SS member employed divers to try and located and salvage a number of sealed tubes from the depths of the lake, the tubes were said to contain details of secret Nazi bank accounts in Switzerland.
Millions of counterfeit pound sterling notes were also dumped in the lake as a cover up act after a strategy called Operation Bernhard was never put into action. American documentary makers using a mini submarine actually managed to recover some of the banknotes from the lake bottom.
During the war, in the years 1943 and 1944, the shore of Lake Toplitz served as home to a Nazi naval testing station, only accessible on foot by a hazardous mile-long path. Using copper diaphragms, scientists experimented with different explosives, detonating up to 4,000 kg charges at various depths.
They also fired torpedoes from a launching pad in the lake into the ToteMountains, producing vast holes in the canyon walls. This testing has left behind another hazard for any treasure hunter exploring the depths - countless tons of unexploded ordinance.
The last I heard diving in the lake is no longer permitted.
In 1991, during a visit to Germany, Russian president Boris Yeltsin demanded the return of the Amber Room, apparently believing that it still lay hidden somewhere within Germany's borders. This intrigued me because I had heard that what's left of the Amber room is in a vault under the PushkinMuseum in Moscow.