One Man's Quixotic Hunt for Sunken Nazi Treasure in Frigid Lake

IDF Man Aims To Solve a Stubborn Mystery of Holocaust

History Sleuth: Yaron Svoray wants to get to the bottom — literally — of the story of the Nazi treasure in this German lake.
Maximilian Kiewel
History Sleuth: Yaron Svoray wants to get to the bottom — literally — of the story of the Nazi treasure in this German lake.

By Maximilian Kiewel

Published November 24, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

Yaron Svoray doesn’t care if the boxes (if there are any) contain precious metals or secret documents “It’s about the people the treasure belongs to. Whatever we find has to make its way to the survivors of the Holocaust,” he says.

‘Delicate missions’

The Israeli writer and former police investigator is well experienced in what he calls “delicate missions”. In the 1990s, he spent six months undercover with German neo-Nazis. A book based on his experiences, called “In Hitler’s Shadow” was made into an HBO movie in 1995 (“The Infiltrator”).

Since then, Svoray has dedicated himself to tracking down property stolen by the Nazis. Probably his biggest find was the recovery of 40 uncut Jewish-owned diamonds in a forest in Alsace, on the border between France and Germany.

And he is convinced there are boxes at the bottom of the lake, but many have tried their hand at solving the Stolpsee enigma. In September 1981, a dubious arms dealer told the Stasi - East German secret police - about Nazi gold in the lake and even presented an alleged treasure map. In a report, today lying in the Stasi archive in Berlin, one intelligence Lieutenant-Colonel Heilmann wrote: “On 27th September 1981, the contact person told the Main Reconnaissance Administration of the State Security Ministry, Section X, that he had obtained sketches alluding to the whereabouts of Hermann Göring’s treasure. These include: 3 boxes of precious metal (450 kilogram each).”

The Stasi swings into action

The report electrified the notorious Stasi chief Erich Mielke, who immediately ordered a covert dredging operation codenamed “Autumn Wind”. For six months, military divers and the pioneer unit of the Stasi guard battalion “F. E. Dzierzynski” trawled the water, but found nothing.

Their failure dismays Svoray not at all. Visibility in the lake is terrible, he points out and adds that the shallow lake, only 40 feet in depth, is full of World War II rubble and sludge. “There is no way the Stasi could have found the boxes in using dredgers and other primitive methods,” says the Israeli.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.