A Massive Gold Heist
As US forces overran Bavaria in 1945, they heard about a gold stash in the resort town of Mittenwald. As American authorities began to sniff around, two German officers secretly transferred the gold hidden in a remote mountain lodge, and reburied it under a false tree stump close to a nearby mountain lake. Eventually, engineers of the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division, discovered the stash, 738 gold bars, and transferred it to a bank in Frankfurt. However, that was just a fraction of the gold that had been stashed in the region. It later emerged that 2500 gold bars, contained in 25 crates with 100 bars in each, had simply vanished. As the US Army provost marshal for the region described it later, he was ordered to escort some Office of Strategic Services (OSS – the CIA’s predecessor) intelligence officers, along with former German servicemen, to recover some buried gold.
The OSS guys took the group up the Bavarian mountains, and eventually to a bunker filled with gold bars. To avoid injuries from lugging so much gold on treacherous terrain, they slid it down the mountain side to a track below. There, it was bagged and loaded onto the backs of 2.5-ton trucks furnished by the OSS. The OSS guys and the Germans who accompanied them got in the trucks, thanked the provost, and drove off. The next day, the provost marshal got a telegram from divisional headquarters, to let him know that the gold had arrived in Munich. However, it later emerged that the gold that arrived in Munich was from another Nazi stash. Further investigation revealed that there was no record of an order to the provost to help the OSS recover any treasure. The gold loaded into the OSS truck – 2500 bars – simply vanished into thin air.