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New dig seemingly buries hopes of unearthing Dutch WWII loot

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OMMEREN, Netherlands — An formally sanctioned hunt for a stash of valuable jewellery looted by the Nazis throughout World Struggle II and purportedly buried in a sleepy Dutch village has — like many earlier searches — didn’t unearth any treasure.

Archeologists and historians referred to as into the village of Ommeren, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of Amsterdam, pushed a detection system referred to as a magnetometer alongside a row of fruit timber and throughout a subject Monday morning and used a mechanical digger to excavate holes within the soggy soil.

They had been rewarded with little greater than a World Struggle II-era bullet, some twisted scrap metallic, a crumpled automotive wheel and muddy boots.

Municipal officers hope that the failure of the staff — that included members of a neighborhood historic society and archeologists from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam — to search out treasure will put an finish to novice sleuths visiting the village.

“I feel there’s minimal probability of discovering something. We dug three holes right here of locations the place we may discover by means of the magnetometer. There was a sign, and none of those holes have discovered the treasure,” mentioned archeologist Martijn Bink. “So I feel that is all what we’ll do. We received’t go any additional.”

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The native municipality helped fund the most recent search after the publication early this yr of a hand-drawn map with a crimson letter X supposedly marking the spot the place Nazi troops buried jewellery stolen from a blown-up financial institution vault.

The looks of the map sparked a modern-day treasure hunt, with prospectors utilizing metallic detectors digging up websites round Ommeren regardless of a ban.

“Lots of people got here digging right here … with out permission. Precipitated lots of inconvenience for the residents,” mentioned Pieter Neven of Buren municipality.

The treasure hunts started after the Dutch Nationwide Archive revealed a mountain of paperwork — because it does at first of every yr — together with the map, which swiftly went viral.

“We’re fairly astonished concerning the story itself. However the consideration it’s getting … as properly,” Nationwide Archive researcher Annet Waalkens mentioned in January.

She mentioned the story began in the summertime of 1944 within the Nazi-occupied metropolis of Arnhem — made well-known by the star-studded film “A Bridge Too Far” — when a bomb smashed a financial institution vault, scattering gold, jewellery and money throughout a road.

German forces scooped up as a lot of the loot as they might and stored it in ammunition packing containers, she mentioned, citing an account by a German soldier interviewed by Dutch authorities after the struggle. Because the Germans had been pushed again by an Allied advance, they buried the ammunition packing containers in Ommeren, based on the soldier’s account.

Dutch authorities recovered the map and searched Ommeren shortly after the struggle with out discovering something. Then the scent went chilly till publication of the map triggered the January hunt.

Monday’s archeological efforts additionally dug up nothing and will have buried the final hope of recovering the loot.


Corder reported from The Hague.

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