What was the purpose of the Secret Polar Base?
During the German invasion of the Soviet Union, a detachment of German troops was sent to establish an outpost on Alexandra Island, about 600 nautical miles from the North Pole. By 1942 the small outpost was equipped and operational. It remained in operation until 1944 when the German’s abandoned the position and the island.
For the two years that the post was operational, it was resupplied solely by Luftwaffe airdrops. The base was established, according to most histories, for the purpose of collecting and supplying weather data to the armies stretched along the long front from Leningrad to the Caucasus. The base was code-named Schatzgraber – Treasure Hunter.
Nearby islands were occupied with weather data collection stations operated by the Americans, English, and Russian allies, so the presence of a German station dedicated to the same function is not unusual. Nor is the operational code name, military organizations often use seemingly exotic code names to identify the operations in which they are engaged.
Part of the Nazi philosophy of Aryan supremacy was based on Norse mythology, built upon a period of time when the Nordic peoples dominated the earth. Some believe that the true purpose of Schatzgraber was not the collection of weather data but the gathering of artifacts which could be used to support this most basic of Nazi philosophies. This theory is supported by the fact that the Germans’ abandoned the base – evacuating it by U Boat – just as the weather data which it allegedly provided was becoming most critical as the Russians prepared for the westward push in 1944.
Officially, the Germans abandoned the facility after a rash of food poisoning among the staff, caused by eating Polar bear meat contaminated with roundworms. The base remained abandoned and unexamined for decades, with many questioning its existence, comparing it to a similar, mythical facility in the Antarctic. In 2016 Russian scientists and technicians began examining the remains of Schatzgraber, including a trove of more than 500 documents, superbly preserved by the cold, in an attempt to unravel the mystery of the true purpose of the Nazi presence in the Arctic during the Second World War.