Lake Toplitz.

Picture of lake

Lake Toplitz is a lake in the Austrian district of Stiermarken. This is the region that was intended to be the Alpenfestung (see also Bad Aussee). During the war there was a nazi laboratory on the shore of the lake, where torpedoes, among other things, were tested.

In May 1944, a convoy arrived at the lake and unloaded its cargo. The crates, some of them containing documents, were thrown into the lake.

In 1946, two unknown men retrieved a wooden crate from the lake. The Austrian police later told the press that the crate contained plates for printing American dollars.

Two Germans who had worked for the laboratory at the shore of the lake were found dead in the nearby Totengebirge. In 1955 another man who had worked there was found dead after falling from a cliff.

In the summer of 1959, divers working for the German magazine Der Stern brought up 15 crates from the lake. All of these crates but one contained counterfeit British banknotes, probably coming from operation Berhard. At least 10 more crates were stuck in the mud to deep to be brought up.

On the 5th of October 1963 two Germans, Dr. Schmidt (who had been convicted in 1962 for illegally dealing in gold coins) and the ex-SS officer Freiberger (who had worked in Switzerland for German intelligence during the war) hired a young man called Alfred Egner to search the lake. He died in the attempt, although he had had some experience in diving in Lake Toplitz. Shortly after the Austrian authorities finally started an official enquiry and found several crates with more counterfeit British money and some weapons. They also recovered Egner's body. Gerhard Zauner, proprietor of a diving school in Hallstatt, has also rescued large quantities of treasure from the lake.

According to American specialists and Simon Wiesenthal it is quite probable that one of the lists that describes which nazis are in control of all the money that was put into (foreign) bankaccounts and of the goods that were hidden or exported is still at the bottom of the lake, maybe along with other items. Not everything has been recovered by far.

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This page was created by Oscar den Uijl,