Hitler's Holy Relics

The book Hitler’s Holy Relics is a fascinating tale about the missing crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire in the aftermath of World War II.  Most people have heard that the Nazis confiscated innumerable paintings and valuable works of art during World War II.  One of those thefts was the Holy Roman Empire’s crown jewels and valuable artifacts, treasures that date back as far as the time of Charlemagne.  Hitler had these removed from a museum in his home

country of Austria and had them moved to Nuremburg, Germany.   Hitler considered Munich the

heart of Germany, Berlin the brains of Germany and Nuremburg the soul of Germany.

 

In the later stages of the war, when things looked dim for the Nazis, these crown jewels were taken from display and hidden in an obscure bunker underneath the city of Nuremburg.  And then, in the final days before Nuremburg fell to the Allies, five of the most valuable artifacts of the collection were taken out and hidden elsewhere in the city in a huge bunker.  These special artifacts included a spear that was allegedly part of the lance that pierced the side of Christ on the cross. Though the historicity of the connection to Jesus on the cross is extremely doubtful, it was a valued treasure from the time of Charlemagne in the 800s.

In the aftermath of World War II, Walter Horn, an American soldier who had a Ph.D. in art history and who was from Germany, led the effort to find the jewels.  This was no easy task.  He had to interview a number of people in Nuremburg and around Germany, and clues finally led him to the obscure bunker containing the five most valuable treasures of the crown jewels.  Later these jewels were taken back to the museum in Vienna, Austria.

This book reads like a novel and gives a fascinating story of those jewels and what they meant in symbolic value to Hitler and the Nazis, and how they were recovered.