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by David G. Cleghorn
I an a distant relative of Wm the Graf von Lautenberg, he was an artillery officer in WW1, he had a son called Carl.
I used to be a Crown Officer within the British Civil Service and was sent to Berlin in the 1990s where I got to talk to some of the Germans we recruited between 1942 and 1959.
I found out (via HIAG and the Freiwilligen) a bit about Carl von Lautenberg – he was an academic who got attached to the SD in Silesia.
Over the years, I found out a little more each time. He was part of the Gruppe sent to evacuate the museums and art galleries (and banks) from Breslau. He escorted some of the road convoys out of the area, but not the infamous “missing Nazi gold train”.
He disappeared in April 1945 in Silesia, he had received orders to go to Pilsen in Czechoslovakia (the movement order in German National Archive) but he never got there; the Soviets pounded the whole area flat and he was one of the missing.
So… I have had a 20yr interest in Breslau / Silesia and the SD.
I have visited the area on more than one occasion and using a researcher we have breached some of the bunkers. Over the years, we have found some interesting stuff.
The area is totally blighted and contaminated with heavy metals and acids after the Soviets pulled out. The mines and foundaries polluted the area very badly. There is almost no industry and the people there are very poor.
The first thing we found was a command centre with some Luftwaffe documentation and a briefcase stuffed with files, including a Luftwaffe cargo transit flight for a Junkers 52. The case is tagged to “Flug Horst Kdtr, BRESLAU” and is numbered (see pix).
The following year we got further in with the aid of the local caving group. This time we found some more documentation in the desks and cabinets. There was quite a bit of Reichsbank material, including a receipt for 20RM notes. We found one packet of the numbered 20RMs (totalling 1000RMs) behind a desk and a letter of authority from the Reichsbank Finanzeministerium.
This year, we hit the best yet ! However, I am not going to reveal the location of the bunker for obvious reasons.
Under a stairwell, chucked away, was a damaged metal box. We weren’t sure what it was, it was the wrong size for a munitions case. It also had a HUGE lock plate on it. That was enough for me to drag it backwards out of the hole and lug it back.
We took it back to the local Orbis hotel and soaked it in penetrating fluid around the hinges and clamps.
On examination, the top surface has a yellow Reichsbank marking and serial number (it is just visible). It is also marked for April 1945 in the lid.
Sadly, it was too light to contain any gold! But there was something inside it.
24hrs later, we got the lid open. It was a bit disappointing but… there was a rusted key that had corroded itself to the base. More penetrating fluid later and we got it out.
It is a key to a safety deposit box for a certain bank in Leipzig.
I have censored the pix as (a) I do not know what the account is – the bank still exists so the box still exists. (b) The German BfV will know the moment I try and access it and (c) it gives me something to do come 2018, that will be our next expedition.
Obviously, we do not penetrate the bunkers half-cocked. Each expedition takes a lot of planning and collateral support. As a former speciallist I hope I know what I’m doing and we take care that we all get in and out safely. I am both firearms and explosives qualified and know to be extremely careful when handling muntions.
Let me make it perfectly clear – do not enter the bunker complex unless you know what you are doing. Do not go alone. Always make sure somebody knows where you went. Keep to the schedule. Do not tamper with explosives unless you know what you are doing!
Having said that, roll on 2018 !!