While Adolf Hitler was the fuhrer of Germany he did many questionable things that he personally believed would benefit the world. Of these questionable acts there’s one in specific that many people aren’t even aware took place. Even before his attempted conquest of Europe the Fuhrer had dreams of owning the largest museum in the world filled with the most exotic and rare pieces of (Aryan-approved) artifacts in the world. Once the war broke out in 1939 Hitler set out to not only obtain land for German expansion, but, to also obtain art for the super museum he had dreamed of for nearly a decade before. The list of art that he wished to obtain included the Madonna of Bruges by Michelangelo, several Vincent Van Gogh paintings, the holy lance that plunged into the side of Jesus and, what some people believed to be the eighth wonder of the world, a room carved entirely out of amber.
The creation of the amber room began in Prussia for the Prussian king Fredrick Wilhelm in 1701 by sculptor Andreas Schlüter and completed in 1711 by Gottfried Turau. The room was then gifted to the Russian Tsar, Peter the Great to assure his alliance to Russia was true. Once moved to Saint Petersburg’s Catherine palace in 1716 the room underwent a series of expansions which ultimately resulted in a 600 square foot room containing nearly 7 tons of carved and sculpted amber from floor to ceiling by its completion in 1755. The room remained in Saint Petersburg’s Catherine palace until 1941 when Hitler invaded Russia.
When Russia entered the war Joseph Stalin anticipated the Germans looting and destroying what was cherished by the Russians and ordered to have their valuables shipped to a safe location. The amber room proved to be difficult to disassemble as the amber had become brittle and required extreme care and time to take apart, unfortunately Russia didn’t have time. In an effort to hide the room the Russians tried to mask the room with wallpaper before the Germans arrived, however such a well-known and valuable treasure is difficult to hide and the Germans found the room with ease and had it disassembled in roughly two days.
The amber room was shipped in 30 crates via train to Königsberg, Germany (present day Kaliningrad) in October of 1941 where it was stored until January of 1945 when Hitler ordered it to be moved in light of the Russian forces pushing in. The order may or may not have been completed as the party in charge of the command fled the city before ally forces bombed heavily. One thing is certain, the amber room hasn’t been seen since that day. The room may have been destroyed by the UK bombing coupled with the Russian shelling that took place shortly thereafter or it may have been loaded on the train and shipped somewhere safe as its rumored witnesses had seen massive amounts of crates awaiting pickup at the train station. Other witnesses claim the crate was put aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff in late January to be shipped overseas, if this is indeed true the room would currently rest on the ocean floor as the Wilhelm Gustoff was sunk on the 30th of January, 1945.
The truth of the matter is that no one really knows what had happened to the amber room after its last officially seen date in January of 1945. To this day historians and treasure hunters alike actively search for remains of the room, whether it will ever be found is entirely up to luck. In 1979 Russia commissioned a replication of the room to be created and in 2003 the room was completed after decades of work based solely on black and white photos taken of the original. The replica can be seen today in the same place as the original, Catherine Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia.