The Georgi Pit in Wansleben – The deadly treasury of the Nazis

Documentary of the series “Der Osten – entdecke wo du lebst” of the MDR

There are a lot of rumors about a salt pit in the small village of Wansleben in Saxony-Anhalt. During the last years of the 2nd world war it served the Nazis as a hideout for valuable pieces of art like the historical books and scripts of the Leopoldina in Halle, and later as a subterranean concentration camp in which V2 wappens were produced. After the end of the war the Americans came first to release the prisoners. Then, the Red Army came, cleared the pit and brought the books as reparations to Russia. Packed by young girls from the village who saw how other villagers quickly tore out valuable engravings and pictures from the books. This story is still recounted today. But what about the boxes that some prisoners dragged into the pit in 1945? Maybe the Amber Room, as some believe, maybe other imperial treasures? The prisoners took the boxes in a cloak-and-dagger operation into the pit and were never seen again. The villagers could only suspect what had happened, and the Stasi wanted to know more. In 1962 they started with the code name “Aktion Licht” – Mission Light – a large enquiry. What remained were 4000 pages of files. But in 1966 the pit was filled up. No one knows why. The files of the study group “Junge Historiker” – Young Historians – who worked on the history of the former concentration camp in the 1070s were burned after the German reunification, purportedly by mistake. To this day it remains unclear what exactly happened in the pit and which art treasures might still be hidden in the kilometers long corridors and vaults below ground. Most of the villagers don’t remember it anymore. But some, like the village chronicler Dieter Michaelis, know exciting stories. Andreas Tautrim, the owner of the compound, has erected a memorial site in the industrial fallow area, which wants to remind visitors of the notorious former outpost of the concentration camp of Buchenwald. He collects memories of contemporary witnesses and makes an effort to finally uncover the secrets of the Georgi pit. But what is true of those stories about the secret Nazi treasure chamber, what happened to the prisoners in the pit and why was the Stasi interested in it?