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.
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Svoray’s solution was to hire a professional British company in summer 2013 that scanned the lake, mapping meter after meter with the latest sonar technology. And this time, the mission isn’t top secret like the communist Germans’ effort. The Israeli researcher went up the official ladder, asking for permission and backing from the German government.

Switch to Tel Aviv, November 2013: Yaron Svoray is sitting in a room stuffed with maps, books, diagrams and old black-and-white photographs from World War II, watching sonar scans and three-dimensional images created by the British experts.

“Without giving away too much: We are extremely satisfied with the results,” he says, smiling. “We have located over a dozen possible targets that seem to have the right size, weight and position for what we are looking for.”

As the lake, it’s inaccessible during winter. Svoray plans to return to Germany next spring.

What would he do, if in the end he really found something? “Certainly, we would hand it over to the German government,” the Israeli says. Svoray still trusts the government, although German authorities have just been criticized for staying silent too long about Nazi-looted art works stashed in a recluse’s flat. “I am confident that the government is aware of the dwindling number of survivors and will make every effort to return whatever is found to the proper hands. So justice will be done.”

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