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That Time U.S. Troops Found 200 Tons of Stolen Nazi Gold

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  • Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

U.S. troops found roughly 7,000 sacks of gold bullion stashed away in a salt mine.

In the closing months of World War II, the defeated Nazi Army scrambled to hide the hundreds of tons of gold they had despicably stripped from various nations during their occupation. As they hurriedly stashed their ill-gotten gains, they were unaware that the Allies were drawing near.

Operation Safe Haven was underway. Allies were on the hunt to locate the enormous amount of looted wealth the Germans viciously seized and stored. The Allies then placed this wealth into the hands of humanitarian groups who would, hopefully, send it to its rightful owners. U.S. troops were trained to search for assets in the form of paper money, coins, and gold bullion.

Related: A Most Dangerous Humanitarian Mission: When Allied Pilots Dropped Food Into Nazi Occupied Territory 

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  • Gold rings of victims from the Buchenwald concentration camp

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

On April, 6, 1945, MPs from the 3rd Army's 90th Infantry Division were on a foot patrol in the town of Merkers, Germany when they discovered a useful clue. They spotted two women walking down the street and soon found out that the ladies were French DPs, or "displaced persons."

These DPs were taken from their French home and transported to Germany to do forced labor. They informed the MPs about a salt mine that hid a surplus of gold—and that the Germans would frequently bring in truckloads of precious metals. The MPs quickly relayed this information to higher command.

Related: Anne Frank and Her Life in the Secret Annex 

Soon after, Generals Eisenhower and Patton traveled to the mine and discovered years' worth of stolen gold.

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  • Eisenhower with Generals Omar N. Bradley and Patton inspecting the stolen art treasures

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

U.S. troops found roughly 7,000 sacks of gold bullion neatly piled in the underground area, measuring approximately 75-feet deep and 150-feet wide.

Additionally, the mine contained 98 million French Francs. However, that enormous sum of cash wasn't the most shocking thing found down there. Allied troops found luggage containing gold fillings extracted from those forced into the concentration camps.

Related: Meet the Nightfighters, a Division of Allied Soldiers Who Attacked Nazis with Empty Rifles and Grenades 

It's believed that the gold fillings were to be used in the dental care of several SS officers.

Check out American Heroes Channel's video below to see incredible footage of this opulent discovery.