Secret WWII Map Sparks Treasure Hunt

( A map believed to mark the location where German soldiers hid looted treasure during World War Two sparked amateur treasure hunters in the Netherlands after the map was made public for the first time in over 75 years, according to a report in Reuters.

Using metal detectors and shovels, groups of treasure seekers combed the fields surrounding Ommeren in the eastern part of the country after the Dutch National Archive made the Nazi map public last Tuesday.

The map was part of a research file the National Archive released after the 75-year period in which the file could remain confidential had expired.

According to the National Archive, the map is believed to show where German soldiers hid four large boxes of diamonds, rubies, gold, silver, and jewelry they looted after a bank explosion in August 1944.

The map was obtained by the Dutch Institute from a German soldier shortly after the war. The Institute was tasked with tracing German assets in the Netherlands after the Nazi occupation ended in 1945.

The existence of the treasure has never been fully confirmed. In 1947, the Institute undertook several failed attempts to track it down.

According to National Archive spokeswoman Anne-Marieke Samson, while the treasure was not found, the Institute “did a lot of checks and found the story reliable.” Samson told Reuters that it is possible that the treasure could have already been found and removed.

But on the outside chance that the treasure is still there buried in the fields outside of Ommeren, amateur treasure hunters decided to give it a go.

One treasure hunter, 57-year-old Jan Henzen, told Reuters that he’s been seeing groups of people with metal detectors all over the fields. He said while the chance that the treasure is still buried beneath the fields after 70 years “is very small,” he wanted to “give it a try.”

Former Ommeren Mayor Klaas Tammes, who now runs the foundation that owns the lands where the treasure might be hidden, told Reuters that people from all over the Netherlands were there hunting for treasure.

Tammes said if by some miracle someone finds the loot, it would have to be reported to the foundation, “but I wouldn’t expect it to be easy,” he told Reuters.