The race to find gold bullion and precious gems worth nearly $43 million dollars heats up after a British researcher claims to have located Field Marshall Erwin Rommel’s long-lost treasure, which was looted from the Jewish community in Tunisia.
Terry Hodgkinson,a British researcher and television scriptwriter, claims that he has located the spot where seven steel cases containing a 200-kilogram treasure of gold bullion and other precious objects worth nearly $43 million were dumped by the Nazi SS as they fled Corsica under heavy British and U.S. bombardment.
Accounts suggest SS Colonel Walter Rauff had stripped Tunisian Jews of their wealth after Field Marshall Erwin Rommel (also known as "the Desert Fox") defeated the British at Tobruk in June, 1942. Rauff commanded a special Middle East extermination unit.
The British victory at El Alamein in October, 1942, however, forced Rauff's SS unit to quit North Africa for Corsica. Later, the SS deliberately sunk the loot somewhere off the coast. They planned to recover it after the war.
Hodgkinson has been researching the missing gold for 15 years. He told U.K.-based The Daily Telegraph that he was now "confident" he knew its exact location in waters less than a nautical mile from the town of Bastia.
“We are confident of the location, but it will require the latest techniques to retrieve it, as the cases, which were once soldered, have no doubt separated and sunk deep into the sand,” Hodgkinson said.
Several attempts have been made to find the treasure. In February, French maritime police detained a German television crew who were conducting an unauthorized search. They were fined, but later resumed their search after obtaining permission to shoot a “cultural film.”
French law provides that any proceeds from such a treasure be divided between France and those who find it. It is presumed, however, that French authorities would try to find surviving relatives of those stripped of their property.