Nazi treasure map among many documents to be made public by National Archives today
The National Archives of the Netherlands will again start the new year by publishing a large collection of documents that were previously not allowed to be viewed by the public, or were only available under strict conditions. This year, the Archives’ Open Access Day will include the publication of about 1,300 pages of documents, ranging from documents about the World War II, abuse in internment camps, and minutes from Cabinet minister meetings.
A literal treasure map containing “clues to a never-found Nazi treasure that is said to be buried near Ommeren” will also be made public. Several efforts were made in vain to find the loot in the Gelderland village, but it was never recovered. The treasure is believed to be worth millions, and is linked to August 1944. "During the defense of Arnhem, there was an explosion at a branch of the Rotterdamsche Bank on the Velperweg. German soldiers put loot in their coats at the scene," said Annet Waalkens of the National Archives in an interview with Omroep Gelderland.
It is believed that watches, jewels, cut and polished diamonds, and jewelry were swiped by the Nazi soldiers. The rumor is that the loot was placed in ammunition boxes which were buried in Ommeren. The Dutch state even brought a Nazi officer back to the Netherlands to try and find it, but the items were never recovered during those efforts.
The stolen items may have been found by treasure seekers, or at random, and never announced to the public. They may also have been collected by the Nazis days after the items were stolen.
The treasure map is just one of hundreds of pages being made available on Tuesday. All told, the collection of the National Archives includes 142 kilometers of paper archives, and 1.2 petabytes of digital files. There are 15 million photos in all and 300 thousand maps, reported newswire ANP.
Abuses in internment camps, Indonesia independence
Documents assembled by A.M. van Tuyll van Serooskerken will also be released from the time he chaired a committee investigating abuse in internment camps that were used to house Dutch people suspected of collaborating with the German occupiers during the War. “The archive contains harrowing stories of torture, humiliation and revenge against this group of 'illicit Dutch people'. Leg irons used to chain detainees together, sometimes for weeks, are tangible evidence of the often inhumane conditions in these post-War camps.”
The National Archives will also publish personal files from the Ministry of War’s Intelligence Bureau, as well as files related to the former Dutch East Indies and Indonesia’s struggle for independence during the War. “There are files about the resistance against the Japanese occupation, about conscientious objectors and deserters, and a conspiracy against Captain Westerling,” the National Archives said.
Council of Ministers meeting minutes during complicated time
Meetings from the Council of Ministers, which generally meets weekly, will be published from the year 1997. “The Netherlands was EU president in that year, and the climate conference was held in Kyoto. Swine fever was circulating throughout the Netherlands, and there was unrest among farmers about the planned substantial reduction in livestock numbers,” the National Archives notes.
“The expansion of NATO with a number of Eastern European countries was a hot topic on the agenda. Especially when it comes to relations with Russia,” the National Archives said. Additionally, refugee and asylum seeker issues were still hot button topics 15 years ago. The minutes also show how the Cabinet at the time struggled with its relationship with Suriname when balanced against extradition requests for Desi Bouterse.