A hand-drawn World War II-era map sparked a veritable treasure hunt in a Dutch village. It is believed that with its help a hiding place can be found where the Nazis accumulated jewels stolen from them, reports the Associated Press.
Omeren, with a population of only 715 people, is located about 80 kilometers southeast of Amsterdam. Gold prospectors are now flocking to this tiny little village, equipped with metal detectors, shovels and copies of the map on their smartphones.
“Yes, of course, this is exciting news that captured the whole village. But not only our village, but also people who are not from here,” said local resident Marko Rodvelt. He says that “all kinds of people are spontaneously digging in places where they think the treasure is buried,” using metal detectors.
Other residents of Omeren do not believe the story, which started from a German soldier who was interrogated by the Dutch military in Berlin after the end of the war. The man claimed to be the creator of the map.
The map was first published on January 3 this year by the National Archives of the Netherlands. Traditionally, in the first month of the new year, he makes thousands of documents public for historians to study. For reasons of privacy, the National Archives of the Netherlands is not revealing the identity of the German in question or whether he is still alive. So far, no one has claimed to have found the supposed treasure.
It is currently unclear whether the Dutch authorities will lay claim to the jewels if they are found, or whether the prospector in question will be able to keep them for himself.
However, the search continues in full force. Enthusiasts were not dissuaded by a reminder from the municipality of Buren, where Omeren is located, that metal detectors are prohibited on its territory. Nor from the warning of the local authorities that the area was a front line and the search there is dangerous, as people may come across unexploded bombs, adds BTA.