Ep. 15: International Treasure: The Amber Room
Did the Nazi's manage to dismantle the 8th wonder of the world and destroy it within the span of a few years? Or is it at the bottom of the ocean? Could it still be in Russia? Did Nicholas Cage find it in his new movie International Treasure? Come listen as Shannon tells Emma all about the mysterious Amber Room and where it may, or may not, be now.
Speaker A: Hello. Hi, I'm Shannon. I'm Emma, and welcome um to this Podcast Doesn't Exist. Yay. I felt the urge to clap, but that wouldn't have sounded good. That's true. That's true. I'm going to count that as random singing, though. Yeah. Do I need to change it in key? Just rip. Yay, that's so bad. Did that take you back to middle school choir? If it did as it did for me, you theoretically could cross off childhood story or experience on the new, improved bingo card. Yay. Shannon updated our bingo card, and I'm really excited. Shout out to our fans for giving me some recommendations. You know who you are are very nice, friendly fans. The friendly fans that I basically said All I want for Christmas is for you to listen to my podcast. And they did. They followed. They did. They really did. So shout out to you, friends, please play along. Shout out to those of you that have been playing along and sharing it on your Instagram and tagging us at this Podcast Doesn't Exist, we will reshare it on our story and give you a shout out. Thank you so much. Yes. And I really love being able to see everyone's accomplishments of bingo. Well done, Jesse. You made bingo. Yes, very multiple times. Yeah, actually. But even if you don't make bingo, hopefully you have a fun time keeping an ear out for all the little quirks that we like to throw into the podcast. We should probably add mouth sounds to the bingo code. No, thank you. I don't do it on purpose. No, neither do I. I just edit them out. Everybody has a mouth and it makes sound. Mhm yeah. It's so funny listening back to these. I'm glad you think it's funny because I'm sure I would hate it. Well, there are reasons that I edit because you'd be like, no, it's so gross. I hate it. Get rid of it. No, thank you. I do get rid of all the mouth sounds, though, so I appreciate it. And I'm sure our listeners do, too. Yeah, I hope so. They're abundant. If you have feelings about the mouth sounds either in favor or against, DM us or send us an email. We'd love to hear from you. All right. On a variety of topics. What are we getting into today? All right. Emma? Yeah? I have a query for you. A Riddle, perhaps? I'm not really sure. A question. Okay. What do dinosaurs, Midwestern sorority girls, babies, and Nazi Germany all have in common? Holy crap, man. The look on Emma's face is really lovely and perplexed right now. Babies haze each other. They haze their parents. Yeah. No, the answer is Amber. How do you ask? Because you still like to do not the mineral, the type of like, I'll get there. I broke down the joke because I'm so excited. That's who I am as a person. I'm so confused. But I'm so excited. So number one, dinosaurs, Amber, not Copyright. No, it's less than 30 seconds, and it's probably off key. Amber plays a part in the uh classic film franchise Jurassic Park. Also, it was a book first, but most people know it from a movie second. Midwestern sorority Girls. Oh, my God, Amber. I feel like Amber is a Midwestern sorority girl name, but it's spelled with A-Y-I mean, shout out to all of the Ambers with a Y out there for just holding it together. How would that even Amber? But instead of an E R, it's A-Y-R. Oh, we're going to move right on past that. Okay, number three, babies. People think that Amber makes for a soothing, like teething aid, like an Amber necklace, but there's actually not a lot of research about that. But crystals. Yes. We should definitely do an episode on mom science, like essential oils and stuff. Yes. Just saying. Get into MLMs, girl. Get excited, people. Finally, number four, Nazi Germany. This is where it threw me. Brings us to the topic of today's episode. That wasn't it. The legendary and mysterious Amber room. Guys, I am so confused. I, first of all, have never heard of this before. Wait a second. Are you sure? I'm pretty sure, because in my notes, I made a note to say to you that I know you've already seen the episode of Expedition Unknown on this because you got super, like, kind of fake mad, but kind of real mad at Stephen because he watched ahead on Expedition uh Unknown without you. But it may not be an episode. I've seen he's seen all of them. I haven't seen all of them. But that's why you guys went back and watched it. If we have, I have no recollection of this. Oh, it's like season one, episode four, I think I watched it last night and I logged in because I have access to your Hulu, because best friends be best friends. Amen. But um I logged in and I went, oh, no. All of these episodes expeditions um have been watched. I was going to go about it. They've all been watched by Stephen. I have seen maybe, like, the first two episodes of Expedition Unknown and then maybe a couple others in other seasons because we didn't necessarily watch it in order. The one you used was, like an offshoot series, wasn't it? Yeah, of, like, artifacts. That's those adventures, but yeah. All right, well, that makes me even more excited because you don't know what's happening. Steven does. So, Babe, when you're listening to this while you work out, get excited. Get excited that, you know, stuff. All right, so first of all, on a basic level, what is Amber? In addition to being the name of probably several Midwestern sorority girls, it is a naturally occurring substance that forms when tree SAP is fossilized. Okay, so not a mineral. It's tree SAP. I could not get that through my it's. Okay, explain. It treated as, like, a semi precious stone, but it's not really a stone. Yeah. So this um formally liquid material can trap other matter within it, whether it's plant life or insect life that may not even be around today, depending when in time they were frozen in the Amber so that you can take a bug that maybe bit a dinosaur. And now you can start your super safe theme park idea. We're going to just breathe right on past that to allow children to see very dangerous dinosaurs. I only recently watched Jurassic Park. I watched them in College with an ex of mine because I had never seen them and they were shook us than I had not seen them. Yeah. At the beginning of The Great Quarrel, which is one of my. No, one of my podcasts. That's how they describe this quarantine. But uh it's like something out of a Ya dystopian novel. Yeah, the Great Core. But as I would say, at the beginning of all of this, Steven and I made a list of all of the movies uh that we needed to see in Jurassic Park was one of them. And that was like my first choice because I was, like, wanting to watch this and never had the time. It's a horror movie. Yeah, it definitely is. But it's good. That and Jumanji are like Jumanji. They messed me up. They used the horror movie format. Yeah. Anyway, um sorry. No, you're fine. It's okay. I just got excited about Jurassic Park. That's okay. I haven't seen any of the new ones. No, neither am I. And I kind of don't want to. I'm going to ask. I think uh we can agree that out of the Hollywood Chris's, Chris Pratt is the lowest denominator. My dad calls him Crisp Rat. I am aware of that. Yeah, I uh know you love it, but I need another one. We should have put puns on the bingo card. Next time we update. If you have things that you want on the bingo card, please write in. We always need more ideas. All right. Amber the substance in classic cultures, both in the west and in the east, it was seen as medicinal as well as beautiful. One of the sources said that Amber is supposed to, quote, unquote, mend the mind. That's a little thing. And a fun fact that I learned about it was that you harvest it not by digging in the ground, but on shorelines because it actually floats. So you'll, like, go out in the water and scoop it up. Oh, that's cool. Or like, it washes up on shore. So that's a little bit about the substance of Amber and how we're going to get into the topic. The true topic of today's episode, which is the Amber Room, which is a majestic and beautiful room that was constructed primarily out of Amber, gold and precious gems. And it was thought to be the 8th wonder of the world. Oh, yeah. It is also the most expensive art theft in recorded human history. It's the whole room and it's been stolen. Where is it? Okay, Nevermind. Sorry. Continue. So we're going to talk about the creation and the early history. Okay. I'm so excited. So construction first started on the Amber Room in 1701. Now that makes sense to me. In Berlin, Germany. It was uh originally going to be at the Charlotteburg Palace, which was the home of Frederick I'm, the first King of Prussia. Prussia with a P. It's going to get a little confusing if you don't pay attention to those things. I will work on my enunciation. Pay attention to your poses. Yes. And it was conceived at the urging of his wife, Sophie Charlotte. And she thought that he should Commission a work that was so grand that people would want to travel to visit Prussia for years and years to come. And the palace was also renamed in her honor following her death in 17 five, which I just love. Like your wife passes away. You're sad. You rename a palace after her Charlottenberg Palace. We love it. So the original concept and design of the Amber Room was created by the German Baroque sculptor and architect Andreas Schluter. Okay. And this just reminds me of one of my favorite um nerdy jokes. Oh, no, just from Walt Disney's animated classic Beauty and the Beast, when Cogsworth is giving her a tour of the palace, and he says, if it's not baroque, don't fix it. And I just really the art history minor and me really appreciates that. That's uh so cute. Yeah, I completely forgot about it. And jokes that kids will not understand. I love good at that. They're so good at that. Yes. But moving right along, the actual construction of the room was supervised by Gottfried Wolfram, who was the master craftsman to the Danish court of King Frederick VI of Denmark. So he was a very well renowned craftsman. And then between Schluter uh and Wolfram, they kind of had the first stage of design and construction. But then Amber is a very specific material. So they had to consult and kind of turn the work over to these two Amber Masters. Ernst Shocked and Gottfried to Row, which both of them are from Poland. Okay. Yeah. So we're working mostly in Prussia, Germany, Poland. So the Amber Room actually was never properly installed at the original location at the Charlotte and Berg Palace. It was actually installed at the Berlin City Palace by the son of Sophie, Charlotte and Frederick I in 1917. Peter the Great of Russia, so admired uh the room on a visit that Frederick William I, son of the original Frederick I, gave it to him, gave it to Russia as a gift to formalize an alliance against Sweden. You know, those super intense and scary sweets. I just love that these two superpowers are like, let us unite together again against Sweden. So the Amber Room was shipped over to Russia in pieces and installed in the Winterhouse in St. Petersburg as a part of a European art collection. Great. Uh we love it. In 1755, however, Zarina Elizabeth Petrovna ordered the room uh be moved to the Catherine Palace, which was the summer palace for the Imperial family. And in parentheses in my notes, I just said, Gorgeous sister something. The drag Queen of that Gorge. And I meant to include a photo, and I forgot. But go look it up. It is a stunning building from the outside and the inside. Most of those Imperial tangent, even. And I the other night watched Anastasia also Good, which was one of my very favorite movies when I was a kid. To the point where because my mom is a crunchy, crunchy bear and muffin, which is what I used to call her. She's very much into, like, the health food stuff. Yeah, still is. I wasn't allowed to have fast food when I was a kid. Really? And Anastasia, when it came out, Burger King had all of the Anastasia toys in their kids meals. And I begged my mother to go to Burger King, and she did. Awesome. I got a Happy uh Meal or whatever it is at Burger King. Like, a kids meal at Burger King. And I was so hoping that I would get, like, Anastasia, because they were just little dolls. They uh did anything special. It was like, Anastasia or Dimitri. Like, those are the ones that I wanted. Or even, like, Puka the dog. I ended up with Bartok, and I hated Bartok at that point because I was like, no, he's mean, like, he's working with the main guy because I'm like, maybe six at that point. And now Bartok is, like, my favorite character. The entire time we were watching this movie, I was just quoting Bartack to see quality. Well, had Stephen seen this movie before? Oh, yeah. But ages ago. Oh, see, I was surprised uh because now it's on Disney Plus. Yes, it wasn't. She now joins the family. Yes. Now she's a Disney Princess. I guess so, yeah. But iconic. That goes along with to circle back the fact that the palaces that are in Russia are so opulent and so intricate mhm in their design and beautiful. But of course, in Anastasia, in the whole uh Russian Revolution portion of it, this palace is, like, in Disarray. And I'm like, These palaces still around. And Stephen looked it up and was like, oh, yeah, they're still there. And I was like, oh, thank God. Like, in my head, I'm like, the history nerd in me is like, no, please don't destroy. Very. Please do not destroy. All right, so we're moving the Ember room to the Catherine Palace, which is Dorch. Can I ask a question? Yeah. Sorry interrupting again. What's in it? It's a series. The walls are composed of this Amber, and there are carvings and paintings. And you'll see a photo. Okay, I'm sorry. I got confused because I was like, So are they moving, like, furniture with this? What is happening? We got there. We got there. So the Italian designer and bear with me with this pronunciation. Bartolomeo. Francesco Rastrelli, well done. Thank you. Redesigned the Amber Room to match its new, more grand, more spacious home. So they actually um had additional Amber shipped from Berlin because they wanted to cover more space. Okay. It took an additional ten years to fully construct the Amber Room in Russia after the renovations were happening. These 18th century renovations and additions, the room covered more than 55 m², which is 590, contained over six tons. 13 £0. Of Amber. 13 £0, which is approximately the weight of eight average non chocolate milk cows. Please enjoy that. Throwback to a previous episode on your bingo card. You're welcome. That's so funny, though. How did you find out that it was the weight of a cow? Eight cows? No, I know. It was in a video that I watched. I was like, wow, you're really deep diving into they provided me that which I appreciate because I can more easily connect to you. Of. Okay, eight cows. How heavy that would be versus if you just say six tons. I'm like, okay, okay. So the Amber Room was used as a private meditation room for Zarina Elizabeth, a trophy room, as well as a meeting gathering space for guests. Okay. It's essentially their show off room. Oh, absolutely. Why wouldn't you? If there were couches, your grandma would have put plastic on the couches. Because it's a fancy room. Right. So in addition to the enormous amount of just Amber that was used, there were also precious jewels, gold leaf, and various intricate Amber carvings of, like, Angels or plant life, as well as lots of mirrors and candlesticks. So the whole idea was to have this illusion of this glowing golden room. Very opulent. Sounds beautiful. So modern day estimates of the original rooms worth range from 142,000,000, which is the estimation in 2007 to over $500 million in 2016. Dang. And then my notes say, woo Yay big fancy golden room. But because the original room was completed and photography was developed in, these two things coincided in the early 1900s. There are basically no color photos of the room, but here's uh a black uh and white photo. Okay. This makes much more sense to me now, as close to everything you see on the wall is made of Amber. Yes. And you can view this photo list and everything can view it on our Instagram at this podcast doesn't exist. And one of the sources that I was reading, it was very interesting that throughout the years uh to kind of protect the material, they would put a lacquer on it, which would cause the Amber to darken. So, like, certain areas would darken more than others. So it was this very multifaceted shade, kind of like gold alcohol almost. Yeah. It's not like you were just taking a Golden Rod Crayola and it wasn't all one color. Now we're going to move into World War II. Okay, fast forward to great. Oh, my gosh. I didn't buckle in, you fool. Silent buckle. Oh, a visual bit, yes. One that doesn't necessarily work, but it's fine. We're rolling with it. Still doing it. But you're not rolling with the car because you have Buffalo. I don't know. Well done. Don't know what's and so forth. No, but that means you are rolling with the car because you're. No, but I am not rolling within the car. Okay. All right. So the year is 1941. Hitler initiates Operation Barbarossa, which sends 3 million German troops across Europe towards Russia, which is now known as the Soviet Union. In 1941. Yes, it could be considered, I will say, a tiny favor to the history of the world that Hitler himself was an artist, because who knows how many priceless pieces of art would have just been destroyed if he didn't give a freak or a frack about art. But because he himself was an artist, he commissioned his soldiers, his troops, to loot and rescue, quote, unquote artwork as they went, which was meant to eventually fill up Hitler's Fury Museum in Linz, Austria. However, like pieces that were deemed unimportant because of the artists heritage, were burned, destroyed, trashed. So we did lose some things. Um all right, time for a slight nerdy detour or two, which I was very excited about, especially because I thought you already knew all of this about the Amber room. So I was like, oh, but she probably doesn't know about these things, so I can spice it up a little bit. But you don't know anything. I don't know anything. Which means you can just be excited with me. I'm so excited. I'm already excited. So during World War II, there was a section of the Allied forces called the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section, and they were responsible for saving and relocating many priceless works of art that were in danger of falling into Nazi possession or had already been taken by the Nazis. There's a book and a movie titled The Monuments Men. So obviously the movie is like a somewhat fictionalized version starring George Clooney. It is a fascinating I've also listened to the audiobook of the actual historical books uh you have. It's just I do better with history books when it's audio because I can't read nonfiction before I go to sleep because I get tired. That's fair, because there's a lot of names and dates and locations and everything. But I think it's so fascinating because I feel like art and culture and the preservation of those things are not something that people would necessarily consider when they think about war. Oh, absolutely not. Right. Like, not at all. Here's a fun little photo from the Smithsonian um archives of several of the Monuments Men wrapping up uh a Michelangelo sculpture of the Madonna and Child for transport after they found it. I believe they found it in a mine, but Hitler and the Nazis were also storing a lot of art in noise. Fenstein Castle, the one that Disney based his Castle on. Yeah. That's no Sponseyne, the Cinderella Castle. Right. Or Sleeping Beauty. The original. I think it's Sleeping Beauty. Yes. Maybe I'm not a Disney adult, so either mine. Please trust us and use the DMs. Okay. Detour within a detour. Okay. During high school, I spent two summers working under the conservation team at the US Army Heritage and Education Center. Also AEC, which is so funny. But one of the coolest projects that I remember from my first um summer there, which was more hands on, the second summer was more like filing paperwork and boring stuff. But one of the coolest projects was creating these little teaching kits of archival materials to share with soldiers who are going to be deployed over to Iraq and Afghanistan. Fun fact that you may not know the plastic that comes wrapped around DVDs um and CDs. Remember back when we all used to buy those? You go to Fye or Best Buy or whatever and be like, oh, my gosh, Fye. You just brought back my entire sophomore year of high school. You're welcome. But that plastic is archival level plastic. Whoa. Really? Which I guess makes sense because you don't know how long that Celine Dion CD has been sitting in Fye or, like, the back section of Barnes and Noble. And you don't want it to go bad. I don't know. Well, it probably has more to do with humidity warping and all that, so that's the fun thing. But there was actually a huge problem during the, quote, unquote um war on terror with Americans looting cultural artifacts um from the Middle East. But I digress. It's a whole other situation, but it was really cool to teach soldiers about how to do conservation or protect that's incredible. Protect art. There's an article in the show Notes from the Smithsonian that's all about the Monuments Men, so I highly recommend you check that out if you want an abridged version. Also watch the movie and or read the book if you want the nitty gritty details, because super cool. It's definitely a movie that my dad and brother love. Yeah. Um i feel like possibly the Christmas that I spent with your family, I gave your dad this book for Christmas because I was like, you probably did. I feel like this is a Dr. Kylie kind of thing. Oh, yeah. No, I'm pretty sure DK read it. Cool. And then my second nerdy detour that's also related to art when it comes to World War Two, was that there was a Battalion whose sole mission was to impersonate other allied troops to deceive the Nazis. The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops were an elite force whose specialty was, quote, tactical deception. They were also referred to as the Ghost Battalion. So the name these men were recruited uh from art schools, ad agencies, theater, et cetera. So they were recruited specifically for their creative abilities. They still had to go through basic training, I believe, if I'm recalling. Yeah, I'm sure they do. Here's a quote from the Atlantic, which is also listed in the show notes. The Ghost Army, some 1100 men in all, ended up staging more than 20 battlefield deceptions between 1944 and 1945, starting in Normandy two weeks after DDay and ending in the Rhine River Valley. So they use a variety of tactics to throw off the access powers, including inflatable tanks. Oh, I remember hearing about this. I love that false insignias. So they would paint the division colors or whatever on their trucks or wear patches from different regiments. They would create carefully crafted soundscapes um of radio calls or artillery, and they would blast them from speakers across the front lines so that the Nazis would hear them. And I just love that. Here's a little photo of an inflatable tank. I love it so much because now it looks so instantly, but from the air, from the things that it was real. And then also here is their Battalion division. It's their patch. He's a little ghost. Oh, I love him. Which is so great. Again, uh we don't have time to go super in depth, but I love this little art moment. And if you want to learn more, the podcast stuff you missed in History class has a whole uh episode about it. That's where I first learned about it. They're an awesome podcast and very good at the research. Yes. And they're pretty short and sweet. All right, now back to the Amber Room. All right, we're back. So Operation Barbarossa is happening. Knowing that the German forces are on their way, Soviet curators attempted to remove the Amber Room from the palace for safekeeping. Unfortunately, this wasn't possible because after years of display, the Amber itself had become kind of dried out. And so it was very brittle and would have been very difficult to remove it safely. So they're kind of tasked with do we attempt to remove it to protect it and maybe we destroy it by doing that? Or do we kind of hope that we can camouflage it and the Nazis won't notice? They went with option two. So they put up really boring, ugly wallpaper and a giant inflatable tank in the middle. No, boring, ugly wallpaper. Yes. And unfortunately, this didn't really work. According to one source, it may be worked for like three days, but then the Nazi soldiers knifed through the wallpaper and found the Amber Room underneath. Well, I'm sure that they had heard that it was there, so they were looking specifically for it. When you have the 8th Wonder of the World, you can't be like, oh, no, not here at the National Archives. We don't have a Declaration of independence. What's that? You can't. So it took six lower level soldiers and one superior Nazi officer 36 hours to dismantle the room with the aid of two art specialists. It's um so interesting to me, because when you think about Nazi soldiers pillaging because they're stealing an entire room, but they're trying to do it safely, that's definitely something that you don't think about. Well, and that's where I'm, like, not giving him any cookie crumbs of praise. But Hitler was an artist, so he was at least an appreciation. I mean, it was all about collecting so he could show off and show how superior he was, but at least he wanted to do that. So we still have all this stuff. Sources vary on the number of cratesboxes um that it took to transport the Amber Room. It ranges between 18 and 27. Okay, a lot. Yes. So the Amber Room was then transported via rail to Kunigsburg, Germany, which is present day Kaliningrad. And the room was reinstalled in Koenigsburg's Castle Museum on the Baltic Coast. I'm going to take a small detour to complain. Oh, no, that in every video I watched, people were saying, Koenigsburg, it has an Oomlout. Koenigsburg. It's not that hard. I took a couple of years of German, but I wasn't very good. But you also lived there. Regardless of the fact that you lived on base. I'm sure there was something in that of. I guess I would like to think that this episode of all my mispronunciations will be the least wrong. So far. I think you're doing great. Thank you. It's better than my ancient Latin or whatever, which I should have known because I studied Latin for five years. You let me stumble through the whole time? No, it wasn't. But I had no answers for you because I was like, well, I don't remember any of this, so it's fine. I'm trying my best. So, fun fact. This region, which is now known as Kalindengrad, is also Russia. What? Even though it's not connected to Russia? Like, if you look on the map, you have to go through views of bypass like Lithuania, Estonia, and then there's uh just this little chunk that is attached to the Baltic Sea. That is technically Russia, which I did not know until I was doing this research. Wait, so it's like a piece of Germany that is a part of Russia? No, it's not Germany. It's Russia. Okay, so it's like Lithuania or it's own little space. Yes. Its own little bordered country ish. Yes. I have no clue. I assume it has something to do with wanting access to the Baltic Sea. Oh, I'm sure, but I really struggled through AP European history. Mr. Herb was a very dry lecturer, and it was first period sophomore year, uh so I don't recall. If you're a history buff, write in and let us know. All right. So then in 1941, a local newspaper in Kannesburg reported that the Amber Room would be on exhibition in the Castle. So we at least know it was reassembled there to be seen by Nazi officials and their families. Nazis. Nazis. In late 1943, however, the end of the war is coming eventually. So Nazi officials mhm deconstruct the Amber Room once again for its protection and safekeeping. Which brings us to conspiracy. I do I ran out of breath somehow. It's okay. I do. As you asked me earlier, Emma, what happened to the famous Amber room? Did I ask that? You asked, is it still around or something? Where is it? Yes, that's a very good question. So the most basic explanation of where this relatively fragile art piece, this massive art piece ended up is that it simply didn't survive the bombings of uh Koenigsburg that occurred first by the RAF and then by the advancing Soviets themselves. Soviets were coming back to Hansburg. They were taken back their land and they burned part of the Castle. All this stuff. In 2004, British investigative journalists Catherine Scott Clark and Adrian Levy Levi, you think I would have looked up that easy name to pronounce concluded that the Amber room was destroyed sometime between April 9 and eleven, 1944, during the end of the battle of Koonicksburg. Okay. At the time, Soviet investigative team lead Alexander Bruceoff agreed that that is the most likely thing that happened, that it was likely that the Amber room was destroyed during the bombing of the city. Okay, we'll come back to him, though. Don't remember. No, do remember. Uh don't, don't forget. Alexander. Some people questioned this idea that it was destroyed in the bombings and the burning of the palace because no odd smells were reported at the time. Meaning like no odd smells from bombs. No. Apparently Amber, when it's burnt or melted, it has a sort of incense kind of smell and there were six tons of it. So multiple sources mention this too, that if it all burnt at once, there would have been a distinct smell to it, which I found very interesting. Many people believe that large portions, if uh not all, of the Amber Room survived the bombing of the city and that actually it was the Soviets themselves that ended up destroying it. Some think it was potentially a mistake. Maybe they didn't know that the Amber room was still in the Castle when they were burning it. If that were the case, the Soviets would want to save face. They don't want to admit that they destroyed their own priceless art piece. Some people claim, however, that the Soviets did it on purpose so that they could use it as a cold war propaganda tool against Germany. So it's much easier to point the fingers to say they are our enemies. They destroyed this beautiful thing kind of situation. So Alexander Bruceoff Hamilton, our buddy. No, sorry. No. Any time I hear the name Alexander, it becomes rhythm. Alexander boosts off so that Soviet investigative lead later recanted uh his belief that the Soviets had accidentally destroyed the room. Remember, after his initial investigation claimed it's either that it was destroyed in the bombing and or when the Soviets attacked the Castle. Okay. He later recanted this belief likely under pressure from the Soviet government. Oh, because remember they are trying to save face. So if it was like, oh, a bunch of rowdy Soviet soldiers really uh had fun burning down this palace and destroyed our magic room, then they would want to save face about it. So to preserve this story that it was not the Soviets, access to the ruins of the Castle, which had been allowed after World War II, were suddenly restricted to everybody, including historical and archaeological surveys. So we went from open door policy, everyone can check out the semi ruins of the Cranesburg Castle to its lockdown. Nobody is allowed. The Soviets were like, no, no, even more suspiciously. In 1968, Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev ordered the destruction of Koenigsburg Castle, which made any further investigation of the final confirmed location of the Amber Room impossible because he essentially took round zero and he leveled it. No, here is a lovely photograph lithograph. Uh i'm not quite sure the technical term uh circa 18. 9900 of what the current expert Castle looked like before it was bombed and before it was destroyed. It's very beautiful. That is gorgeous. And now it's no longer there. And I didn't include it in my notes because we have a lot to cover anyway. But if you look up the house of the Soviets, it is the building that now currently stands at that location and it has the designation. According to the episode of Expedition Unknown that I watched, it has the designation as the ugliest uh building ever constructed. It's truly disgusting. Is it like a Cold War construction? Like just concrete and Gray? Yes, but it's a very odd shape. Do you know, I don't know what the name of the video game is. I think Space um Invaders with the little aliens that are like, yeah, they're also an emoji. Yeah, it looks sort of like that in that it has very weird angles and stuff. Hold on. I should have just included in my notes, but I thought, oh, it's too much art history. Oh, man, bring it. It looks like it has a face if you look at the face, right? Oh, I do not like that at all. And then you're going to hate it even more because, okay, they knocked down the Castle for, I think, suspicious reading. It sounds like it. They built this ugly building. Yes, but then they had to stop construction in the 80s because the structure was literally sinking into the ground. So now it's just abandoned. And the episode of Expedition Unknown that I watched, he actually goes in because there's this idea that there are hidden tunnels and bunkers. We love a hidden tunnel. We love a hidden bunker. Uh so he goes in down to the basement and he doesn't find anything. Solar alert, of course. Okay, have you seen Expedition and known at all before then? No. Do you not love this man? His name is Josh, he is wonderful. And I just fully appreciate how excited he is about everything that he looks into. I love that he has a degree in archaeology, too, so he's not some dude going around. So there's also a Channel Four documentary um investigation into this idea of bunker tunnel systems underneath Kalindingrad. I linked a YouTube video in the show notes. It's a short little clip from the broader documentary. The Channel Four BBC website uh did not provide me with the full episode, so maybe it's rude not there anymore. I don't know. Or maybe I simply can't get to it with my American YouTube. We have friends in England. We should just make them do it. All right, so here's a brief rundown of some other options as to where the Amber Room could end up. Theories abound both close to home and across the globe. Partly majority, because Nazi Germany didn't exactly keep a lot of paperwork on their stolen art pieces. No, truly, not at all. And you really get a sense of that from the Monuments Men. Even just the movie. Literally. They were sticking art in castles, in estates shore, but also, like, down in silver mines, like all mine. The mine that they found Madonna and Child in is like, that's insane to me. If you read the article from the Smithsonian about the Minions men, they pull quotes from one of the men's Journal. And the way he describes it, he's like, so and so and I, we pushed on down the corridor, and then simply there this one painting was it's like the Gentletace. And there it was. And like, the Madonna's face just shining in the lamplight. Um and it's like I wanted to cry. I'm a nerd. Yes, but that's okay. I'm sure had that been your mission, you probably would have cried, too. Oh, my gosh. Yes. Can you believe nerding out the entire time? Okay. But literally, it's like that moment in National Treasure where they go down and then they open the secret door and they light the thing and the whole room lights up. Except it's real, Emma. It's real paintings that they saved from Nazis. Uh i would say it feels like a movie. They turned it into a movie. But then that actually happened. It's wild. I think we've just realized that your life goal is to be National Treasure. It's a movie to have National Treasure. The movie minus the people shooting at me and going to prison. And maybe might miss Nicholas Cage, but definitely have his sidekick, Riley. Riley, I love that. I love him so much. I love him so much. He was my biggest real person crush when I was in high school. I don't know who didn't love him. We watched the National Treasure movie on the bus on the way to DC for our teacher grade field trip. That's such a good teacher move. We love him. And the girl in that, too is awesome. She's like, wonderful. I'm a genius, and I don't take your BS Nicolas Cage, and then she falls in love with Niggas Cage, which, like, bold moves, live your best life. Don't think it's worse for them. The second movie. Yeah, but then they kind of fall back in love anyway. I don't know. Weird flex man. Wow. That quote took me back. All right, so the Amber room files of the statsey, which are the former East German secret police, are up to 1800 pages. So the Germans uh are fascinated with finding the Amber Room. The Soviet Union is obsessed with finding it. Your average treasure hunters are obsessed, like Nicholas Cage's character. I'm sure would love to. Maybe they'll make a third movie. Wouldn't that be iconic? All right, Disney, call us. What's up? My favorite of these series is a ship called the MV Wilhelm Gustlov Gustav. Yes. And there are reports of crates being loaded on board the ship when it was docked in Donsake, Poland, on January 31, 945. So that would mean that the Amber Room survived the bombings in April 1944 and was secretly transported somehow some way to be put on this boat. This boat was part of Operation Hannibal, which was really the uh uncomfortable name GTFO of the Nazis. Their last ditch effort. The end was Nigh, and they were trying to get out of Dodge. You're going to say, yes, I was. I watched your mouth go. Yeah. I have been sufficiently called out. So in addition to the regular crew of this ship, which was originally designed as a leisure cruise ship, but like many vessels, it was commissioned during or recommissioned during wartime. So in addition to the regular crew, you had refugees, military personnel, as well as Nazi officials and their families were all on board. There were a total of 10,582 passengers and crew on the ship, and the ship was designed to carry under 20 people. Whoa. But desperate times, desperate measures, I'm sure. But then it's so heavy. Due to overcapacity and the humidity aboard the ship, many uncomfortable um passengers neglected to wear their life jackets. Oh, no. Uh shortly after departing, the ship was torpedoed um by a Soviet submarine, causing it to sink. 9400 people died, which makes it the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history. Uh oh, my gosh. How did I not know about this? We hear all about the Titanic and the Lusitania. What the heck? 9000 people. Yes. And that is exactly the reaction I had when I read the novel Salt to the Sea. You should all check it out if you like historical fiction, shipwreck situations, just really emotional books because I had never heard of it, and I was a kid. I had many morbid fascinations as a kid, wrecks being one of them, and I had never heard of this. This is insane to me. You got to read the book. I do. It's a Ya novel, so it's a short read, but I recommend it to everybody. Give me Geez, yes. Perhaps we can get into that at another time. But this loss of life, as well as the circumstances of how the ship was sunk, classify the Gustavov as a war grave, which means that nobody can access it for further exploration. Who did that, Jeremy? No, but once you discover, like, rogue scuba divers and go down. But nobody has officially. I don't know. I don't know if it's like a World Council situation. Maybe it depends on whether or not it's in international waters. No, sorry. It's in the Baltic Sea. Okay. But because it's classified as a war grave, that means nobody can explore it. Yeah, scientists or treasure hunters. That would be a great ending to the national treasure movie. International treasure. I want to high five you. The ace wonder international treasure. The ace world wonder subtitle. You have to substitute everything because you have to assume everything has a sequel or a prequel or a prequel. A treacle, Amber. Oh, so treacle. Oh, yeah. See, I was thinking of the treacle. There's so many different ways. I was thinking of the dessert from the great British breakup. I don't think I've ever had tricle. Isn't uh it just kind of like a stacked that's trifle. People's like molassesy custardy stuff. We digress. I don't know. We digress. Can you tell us, please, uh if you listen to this, you probably don't sending this to you. I mean, did Lucas listen to the all this episode? Did the individual call out work? I have no clue. All right, we'll follow up. We can yell at him this episode. We're not going to insert the follow up, so DM us if you want to know. Uh all right. Anyway, read that book. Okay. I want them mhm to make it into a movie. It would be also that book. That book does feature a subplot related to the Amber room. I won't spoil, but it is related. It's not just me talking now. Yes, highly uh recommend. All right, so that's my favorite. And when I was typing my notes, Emma and I were both finishing up our notes earlier today, and I just sat there clapping my hands, and I got very excited, and Emma just kind of looked at me, and I was like, I'm very excited. There's just a lot of stuff I love. There's stuff that you love. And I was referring to shipwrecks as the stuff I love. I don't know exactly what I was referring um to for you just. We haven't gotten to that part yet, guys, you should have seen this woman's face. As if I didn't write my own notes off. She turned into the Scream. It's an art history heavy episode. I think we're discovering that I dislike nerdy historical mysteries. And you like creepy, unsolved crimes and ghosts. I'm okay with that. Which means I love hearing about the historical stuff because it fascinates me. You're going to learn today. That's where I'm at. All right. I'm so excited about what I like, girl. Just wait. Okay, uh so other possible locations of the Amber room are various um mines throughout Germany and the surrounding region, as we discussed earlier. I got ahead of myself in my notes, apparently, but the Nazis did actually use mines to hide, so it makes sense. Colon art. See the monuments, then expedition discovery explores one such mine in depth in the town Deutsch noodorf, which first of all, lol, because that literally means German. Small village or new village. German. New village. Deutsch German NOI. New thorf village. So when he was talking on the screen, I just had to pause and laugh because the Germans just stick words together to make other words, and I love them for it. Compound words. The longest German word is, like, 95 letters. I know, it's insane. My favorite German word and probably the only one that I can say. Do you want to guess what it is? I really can't. Shot in FreudA. Shot mhm in FreudA. Yes. You get singing and you get a musical, uh you guys, if you don't know what musical that is, don't listen to it around your children. Please move on. So in Deutsch nordorf, there was a secret door found behind a wall in a factory that led down to a mine system. Oh, no, dude. And this mine. I learned all of this from expedition unknown. Why did I write expedition discovery? It's on the discovery channel. Like Discovery travel channel. I watched it on Hulu for anyone that wants to check it out. But in there, they showed the very primitive tools, uh the little hammer and chisel. Yes. That they used to carve out the system, and they uh went and could progress 6 meters a year, which is 18ft. That's like nothing. So that mine system is like 500 years of work, which is just wild. That's not really related to the Amber room um specifically, but I just humans, man. I would get so I would have quit after maybe two days. I would have been like, I don't think either of us would have made it in medieval times. Oh, no, dude. I would have died real quick. Well, I mean, I was diabetic really young. Yes. You would have died immediately after being born. Well, close to being born, I probably would have died in childbirth or something horrific. Yeah, probably. I would have, too. I came out with my leg over my shoulder. Sorry, mom. Yeah. Anyway, so there's this whole system of minds, and uh some of the reinforcement barriers that are holding the walls up and apart are so old. There's, like, trunks of trees. Oh, my gosh. They're working slowly through to safely reinforce the mine so they can further explore it. I will say the host of the show, Josh Gates, he gives me major bill from Mama Mia vibes, like Swedish travel writer Possible dad. Um i love him. I just love the excitement and the genuine curiosity is great. If you haven't seen the show, just watch it. I will say that part of the episode was a whole lot of Nope, because it's very claustrophobic. And then at one point they're like exploring a new section and it potentially starts collapsing and he's literally like, go, move, move. And it's like him, his camera guy, and this sweet little German man that was leading them through. If they all get out. Okay. And Josh Gates is so tall. He's a big dude. So him and this tiny little mine system must have like, no. And that's why I could never be Nicholas Cage, because I'm like Spider webs, um dead people. You know who you would be, though? Is it NCIS or it's Criminal Minds? The Gal in Criminal Minds who's like all the computers and the research and all that. Penelope. Yes. You would definitely be like, all right, I'm half this, but I'm also half, like, badass on the actual Earth surface. Anything that gets me above or below that. No, thank you. No, can do. That's the thing I love shipwrecks. I find them fascinating. Go underwater. No. Could not go in the tiny Marine with James Cameron. Could not. No. But I'm so glad he did because Titanic is amazing. Emma wouldn't know because she refuses to watch it. It's not that I refuse to watch it. I have seen it, but I saw it as a kid, and so it traumatized me. So now that trauma is just imbued in my brain and so I can't get it out. I can't. As a child, seeing Kate Winslet fully naked as a little kid, I was like, oh, my God, no. My mom. I have permission from my mom to watch Titanic for the first time. I think I was like 13 or 14. Oh, I was at a friend's house when I was eleven. Um you popped in the two VHS tape. Yeah. Iconic. Anyway, other possible locations of the Amber Room, a sunken that it sunk in a Lithuanian lagoon. What? How did it get there? Uh apparently the Nazis were trying to stash stuff on the shoreline, not realizing that the water levels would rise. There was not a whole lot, but it was listed on the list. And then one of the quotes was from a curator in Russia, um and he thinks it's all a bunch of that. It's all fake and silly. And he's like, My favorite ridiculous one is that it was put in a submarine that had only enough fuel and oxygen to reach a certain level, and then it would purposely sink. But then the coordinates of that submarine have been lost. So it's just like in the ocean somewhere. And the Nazis who are supposed to go get it died or whatever. That's my favorite retirement. This is my life's work. But yes, I have a favorite dumb seed conspiracy that I appreciate. Like, you don't have to believe in the conspiracy in order to enjoy um the bizarre storytelling or the storytelling aspects of it because it's so fascinating to think about that. It's a thought experiment. Yes. To think about it in that way. Yes. So I'm on. Yes. You might think. All right, this was back in the 1940s. This uh was long ago. We'll never know. People have just given up. It's a mystery. I feel like that's not true. It can't be true. So possible locations of the Amber Room have been discussed as recently as October of 2020. Really? Yes. So in September of 2020, the wreckage of the SS Carls Ruea. Another thing that everyone was mispronouncing on the videos. A German steam ship was discovered north of the Polish seaside town of. I like that you're uh getting so mad at everyone's mispronouncing German words, and then you get so concerned about the Polish words that you're potentially mispronouncing Bushka. And this ship was discovered at a depth of 290 ft. Or 88 meters. So flashback In Time uh on April 12, 1945, the Carls Rua became the last ship to leave Koenixburg as part of Operation Hannibal. Okay. Which was the last day effort to evacuate both people and Nazi treasures at the end of the war. Here's another thing that happened. When I was doing my notes with Emma, I started laughing. Emma wanted me to explain what was funny. I couldn't tell her because I didn't want to give away that Nazis were involved. I had originally written a last ditch effort to evacuate both people and Nazis, because apparently Nazis aren't people, which we can do a moral debate offline. Yes. So the Carlsberga left with more than 1000 refugees and 360 tons of cargo on board. The ship headed west, but was sunk by Soviet war planes the following uh day. So the Karlsruwa. This ship would have been the Nazis last possible option to get the Amber Room out of Koenigsburg if it was still there. Okay. Because this is the last ship that left. So on the modern day wreckage of the ship, military vehicles as well as cargo crates are partially visible. But nothing definitively points to a positive ID on the Amber Room. But there's still this possibility. Decisions regarding further exploration efforts beyond the current video and photography dives rest with the mainland authorities of Poland or in Poland. But it's a developing case. Here's a photo from the shipwreck that I don't know. It looks promising. There are rates. Who knows? I love a shipwreck. I know you do so much. I know you do. It's creepy, and it's fascinating, and I love it so much. I don't love that people died, obviously. No. But the mystery of it and the ability to discover is um that it's just frozen in time. All right, you've had some of the best faces this episode, and I really wish everyone could see them. We should start streaming to get a YouTube chat, but then we have to put on nice clothes. We have to put on real pests. Uh all right, the final theory of where the Amber Room could be is that it never left Russia in the first uh place. I like this. Some claim that Stalin had the original Amber room replaced with a replica, which was then stolen by the unwitting Nazi Germany people. Okay. And that the true uh location of the Ember room was lost to time, so it's still lost, but in theory, it never came to Germany in the first place. That would be interesting, though. How much work would it take in order to make a replica that would weigh the same amount? And how far in advance would you have to start working? Yeah. And enough to fool because they had those two art experts with them. So it's not just a bunch of, like, lowlevel guys. I wonder how on the level those art experts were, whether they were, like, a part of the Nazi party, or if they were maybe, like, told to do this and had to uh do this to save themselves or, like, where does that fit in all of that? By the time the Amber room made it to the Koenigsburg Castle Museum, the director of that art Museum was a Nazi official. Oh, okay. And he himself was an Amber like um aficionado. He studied it. He was fascinated by it. So I feel like that fact makes it unlikely that they could have fooled him with because what would you replace? Um you wouldn't replace the real Amber room with more Amber. Genuine Amber. Right. That wouldn't make sense unless you were just like, oh, we'll duplicate it. They can have that. Maybe, like, half of it was able to be replicated with Amber. But then where would you have gotten it? And how would you have been able to get it securely, especially when the original Amber came from Berlin? I mean, you could get Amber other places, too, but you wouldn't be going to Berlin to get it during the middle of in order to the beginning of World War Two from taking it. And yes. Wow. Okay. But isn't that just a fun little possibility? I would love that to be wrong. Yes. Maybe it's somewhere in Siberia right now. Who knows? It's very cold there. Several pieces of the Amber room have resurfaced over time. So in 1997, a German sting operation, which I love that the article that I looked at referred to them as German art detectives because I love that that's a job that exists. Oh, yeah. Which makes sense. I just love that that exists. So a sting operation in Bremen. You know, those Bremen town musicians, do you remember did you ever um hear that story as a child? No. Oh, it's like this little folklore story of, like, there's a donkey and a dog and a Rooster, and they all have to uh sing together. Anyway, never mind. You have to remember, regardless of the fact that you grew up on base in Germany, you did live in Germany. Axo Ispaka and Biskinduts took me a lie. The only Russian I can speak. All right, so this sitting operation in Bremen in 1997 turns up one of the Amber room's four jeweled Florentine mosaic panels. Yes. So this mosaic was returned to Russia, and the piece had been passed down to a relative of a by then unfortunately deceased German soldier who had helped with the packing up of the Amber room. So maybe he stole it. That would be implied because I feel like Hitler would be mad if you took that from him. Wow. That's some bravery there at this point. Also, though, the end of the war was coming. So maybe, like, um I'm going to keep this, I'm going to cut ties. And the family claimed to not have any idea of the origin or the true meaning of it. They were like, yeah, um granddad had this, and now we're trying to sell it because it looks fancy. Also, around that time, an Amber room cabinet is how they described it surfaced. But apparently circumstances showed that they seem to be have stolen at different times. Okay, so it's not like it's not like a part of the Amber room necessarily. No, that it was. But not that this cabinet person and the mosaic person were part of the same unit first. Okay, so maybe one was packing it up and one was unpacking it. Or like, how do you steal a whole cabinet? Well, and I don't know what they really meant by cabinet because there's no photos of it. Yeah. But anyway, pieces of it have surfaced which imply that it survived the bombing because that was the prevailing theory from the British investigative um journalist and the one that makes the most sense. Right. You bomb a Castle, you'll destroy a fragile piece of art there. Yeah. But anyway, and now for the part that Emma will appreciate. And another thing that made me laugh that I could explain to you before. But last night when I was finishing the outline for my notes, I wrote in all caps, Curse time, baby. I'm so excited. And so actually, I had heard about the Amber Room through that novel Salt to the Sea, as well as I think they might mention it in the monuments then. But I had most recently read about it um in the cursed objects book that he gifted us for Christmas. Yes. And I had completely forgotten about the curse, though, until I got to this one article that was describing it. So certain people surrounding the Amber room have not had the best time. The Koenigsburg Castle Museum director, the Amber aficionado mhm that I mentioned earlier, vinyaski. Yes. Alfred Rodis and his wife died of typhus the day after being interrogated by the KGB about the whereabouts of the Amber room. It's interesting to note that the couple opted to remain in Kennedy's big, even though it was in the process of being attacked and destroyed. But perhaps they posit that Roda had become obsessed. He'd spent the last two years as a Museum director. Apparently, according to reports, he would just go and sit in the room and stare at it and be mesmerized by it. So perhaps he didn't want to leave because he knew where the Amber Room was hidden. But he died. And his wife died of typhus the day after the KGB interrogated them. When the KGB went to examine the couple's bodies, they had disappeared. Oh, and the doctor who signed their death certificate also vanished. Are we sure they died? I don't know, but that's all the information I have. They're not invited to Tupac's Beach if they're alive. No, I mean, they probably be alive. Yeah, they're probably dead by now, but I like that we've labeled it Tupac's Beach. I'm very excited by our. You know what? That kind of makes me happy that all of the potential missing people on the Earth are just hanging out with two boxes. With two boxes. They're just populating a gigantic beach in the middle of nowhere in the Bernardi, um which is not in Ireland. I'm sorry. We've got to get there eventually. Okay, so another person who faced an untimely end, General Guse, a Russian intelligence officer, died in a car crash right after he collaborated with a journalist to talk about the Ember Room. So he was serving as a source for this journalist, and he died in a car crash. Is it the curse of the Amber Room? Is it the KGB? You decide. Amber Room Hunter and former German soldier Georgstein was found murdered in a Bavarian forest. Whoa. So a little more info on this. First of all, in an article, he was described, which I think is the cutest as, quote, a strawberry farmer and an avid treasure Hunter. He claimed to have discovered a secret radio frequency and to have listened to the last known communication regarding the transport of the Amber Room because he was a former. Yeah. So in 1987, he arranges to meet a, quote, search competitor. So I don't know if it was kind of like a treasure Hunter. Hey, we have been competing, but let's combine forces, and I'll go have these with you. Alla national treasure Aaron Eckhart. Is that who the bad guy is in that movie? Maybe. I don't know. Anyway, now's the point. This is not a national treasure podcast as much as I wish it was just. Hailey, can we have that in a mug, please? Put it on the merch. What are we putting on the merch? This is not a natural podcast. Um all right, great. We love it. So he agreed to meet this search competitor in the Bavarian Woods. Shout out to Bavaria. That's where I grew up. Just um saying, sorry about these woods. Instead of meeting this competitor, or perhaps after meeting this competitor, he was found dead in the woods. Um some people claimed it was suicide. One, you don't have to drive out into the woods to do that. And two, his body was found stripped and his stomach slashed open with a scalpel. Ew. Why would you do that to yourself? Yeah, but the death was ruled to suicide. No. Yes. And mhm that's all the information I have about that. So those are some instances of potentially an Amber Room curse, or the KGB trying to cover up the fact that the Soviets are at fault for destroying it in the Soviet just saying. All right. In 1979, to revive some national pride and spirit, the Soviet government decides that they are going to create a reconstruction of the Amber Room. Okay. Because uh we don't know where it is, so we might as well remake it. Okay. I admire the gumption. Over 40 Russian and German craftsmen worked together to recreate the Majesty of the famous Amber mhm Room. It took 24 years. Whoa. To complete the recreation, and the costs of this reconstruction are estimated to be around $11 million. Jeez. Uh and they studied old black and white photos of the original Amber Room, like the one I showed you before, and even had some of the photos colorized, which I'm going to show Emma an example. And you can see it on the Instagram. Beautiful. So they use those as reference photos. And also, it took them so long because Amber artistry is not as prevalent as it was in the 1700. Yeah. Not really something that happens. So they really had to find some specialized people a little bit like my job. Yeah. Here's a photo of some detail work from the recreation, and I think this will really help flesh out what you've been maybe struggling to imagine this whole time. But you have walls of Amber Jeez and cantaloupe and candles and mirrors. You know, it would be wonderful. Just have a small ball in that room. Yeah. Drop the Bridgeton musical soundtrack, please. Yeah. That's beautiful. Isn't it? Beautiful. But you see all the different colors. Yeah. The variations. One of the things that, like I mentioned earlier, they would on the original Amber Room, put a lacquer on it. It was finally came um to the summer palace in 1755, and it was taken in 1941. So it had been up for a while. The article mentioned that some older people came to visit the reconstruction and found it to not be what matched their memories. Like they had seen the Amber Room when it was the original. And that's when the curator was like, well, actually, this is probably the closest estimation we have to what it would have um looked like when it was first assembled, rather than with the Lacker rather than when you saw it on a school uh field trip in 1937 or whatever you were in the palace, because it would have been much darker and glossed over the original would have been brighter. Yes. And then finally, I have here we're going to end on this note. Well, we'll wrap it up, but the last of my notes is that there is a single, according to um the research, which I did my best. Guys, there is a single prewar image of the original Amber Room that's in color, and it's from 1917. And I'm just going to let you check it out. I see what they mean about darker so beautiful. Uh honestly, looking both at the detail image that I just showed you and this one, uh it just makes me feel like you're living in a palace made out of those little butterscotch candies that your grandma carries around. This should be the new added stop on Candy Land if they do, like, a remix of Candyland forget Licorice Woods or whatever, the candy cane forests. Honestly, that's so gorgeous. Right, Opulent? For no specific reason other than to just be opulent just to do it. But yes, that is the mysterious and unsolved case of the Amber Room, the 500 um million dollar art theft that occurred in World War uh II. Very well done. I had no clue about any of this, and I'm so glad I didn't. That was so good. Thank you. There are several YouTube videos in the show notes. One is about 13 or 15 minutes long, which I think really sums up all this, but has a lot of great um photos, if you would want to see that. And then another one is that short clip from the BBC Channel Four documentary. It's them going down into a bunker under Clendon grad and kind of exploring. Uh there's a brick wall that looks really weird. That it's there. So that's your kind of thing. Check it out. I'm sure there's much more to be delved into, but I just love an art history nerd moment. But um it ticked all the boxes. It really did. You really did. And you got so excited about it being for both of us. I did. Because uh I love shipwrecks and you love curses, Ghosty, creepy stuff. Yeah, it was good. Thank you. I am very excited, Babe. Stephen, I hope that you enjoyed this and got more uh out of it than known. Was able to give. Yeah. He goes down inside this bunker in the uh woods. Oh, gosh. Yeah. It's not about it. And it's a nighttime. Oh, my gosh. Are you just trying to hurt yourself? I did not love that. But that's it. You can view all the photos on our Instagram at this podcast doesn't exist. You can also find our bingo card there in our Lincoln bio. Please tag us with the new and improved larger bingo card. I want to know kind of where people are at. I think we gave them a decent spread in this. You say we, but you mean you okay, but we slipped in some musical references, some other things that I did not intentionally put in here. That's fair. All right, so we will take credit. This is a team effort. I forget during your episodes that I'm also here because I just get so invested. Like, I'm just here to have reactions to things you have fun. Okay. All right. So Shannon's giving you the rundown of our Insta again. If you have any stories, ghost stories, Amber room stories, beautiful ball dreams, anything that you'd like to tell us if you've read the books or monuments, please reach out and we can be um a little two person nerdy book clubs when SEMA reads it. Yeah, but if you want us to maybe read your emails on air, we will. Uh and stay tuned for a bonus episode or real episode. We haven't decided yet. We also don't know when we're putting it. Yeah, but at some point it's going to arrive and it features some very wonderful friends and listeners of the podcast who has given us some stories to tell you all. So we're very excited about that. And where might people uh send these stories? Sorry, that was the whole point. You got it? I did. You can send us your own stories at this podcast doesn't firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd be really excited to read them. Yes. If you would be so kind to let us read them on an episode please let us know in your little email as well as any if you'd like to be anonymous if you'd like to be referred to by a nickname also what pronouns you use, please. Thank you. Also Disney call us for international treasure. International treasure coming to Disney. Nicholas cage. Ring us up. What is Nicolas cage doing? He's fine. I don't know. He's already bought his gravesite so he's got nothing else to do. He thinks ahead. No, wait, uh I know what he's doing. Oh, no. He has a show on Netflix that is called the history of swear words and it's just him hosting and yelling at you is swear words. It's so good I will have to check it out and remember this podcast doesn't exist.
Smithsonian Magazine: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/a-brief-history-of-the-amber-room-160940121/?no-ist and https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-monuments-men-180949569/
The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/05/ghost-army-the-inflatable-tanks-that-fooled-hitler/276137/
Stuff You Missed in History Class (podcast): https://www.iheart.com/podcast/stuff-you-missed-in-history-cl-21124503/episode/the-ghost-army-30207647/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUSgxUKrLXw and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCsO0PzNd-A
Live Science: https://www.livescience.com/amber-room-nazi-wreck-poland.html
IndieBound Books: The Monuments Men: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781599951508 and Salt to the Sea: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780142423622