The Smersh documents of the 11 Army open the curtain on the mystery of the disappearance of museum treasures from Koenigsberg in 1945.
According to the Internet publication "Free Press". "Some time ago, while conducting research at the Central State Archive of Russia to discover unsecured documents about the Amber Room, taken by the Nazis from Pushkin in 1941, researcher Sergey Turchenko discovered a folder with counterintelligence data from Smersh, which belonged to the 11 Guards The army that liberated Königsberg. The documents said that in 1945, counterintelligence agents literally held in their hands the key to the mystery of the Amber Room, but for some inexplicable carelessness and it seemed to be forever, but if you compare the documents found with others, especially with the records of General A. Bryusov found in the same archive, you will notice another clue in search of missing property, which was previously hidden from researchers.
Dr. Rode's Empty Tomb
In December, the 1945 Investigation Division of Smersh, which belonged to the 11 Guards Army, experienced significant problems due to internal unrest. Lost, Alfred Rode, former head of all museums in Königsberg. A few days before this, he was stopped by a patrol in the area of the Royal Castle, where Rode burned some documents, and was taken to Smersh. During the interrogation, the doctor reported that he burned personal papers that he kept in his office inside the Royal Castle. Doctors with the world released. After that, he, along with his wife, Elsa Rode, disappeared in an unknown direction, although the head of the city museums was obliged to come every day to work in a special group of Professor Alexander Nikolayevich Bryusov, who led the search for state values stolen by the Nazis.
Immediately, a rapid response team immediately set off for Rode’s house on Beechstraße. The door was unlocked. All the rooms of the mansion were completely inundated with various things. Doors cabinets and chest of drawers wide open. The drawers of the personal writing desk have also been opened. Obviously, here someone rummaged, tried to find something. There was a musty, uninhabitable air in the rooms. A German woman who lived next door reported that two weeks ago she personally saw how three men came to the Rode couple and took them away.
Among the documents scattered in the Rode room, the operatives found a long-standing certificate from the hospital, signed by Dr. Kekker. According to the telephone directory, we managed to find out the address of the attending physician of the head Rode. But Dr. Kekker’s apartments were also empty. The windows are broken, the doors are broken. In the doctor’s office there were folders with medical records on the shelf, including Dr. Rode. From the card it was possible to find out that when Rode fell ill seriously enough, Kacker sent him for inpatient treatment at a clinic on Yorkstrasse.
In the reception book of the clinic there was a record of the arrival of the spouses Rode here with a diagnosis of "internal gastric bleeding" by three close relatives who did not give their names. Spouses were unconscious. As well as a death certificate and a certificate of burial at the Louise cemetery. Headquarters "Smersh" decided to exhumation. Ten Nazi prisoners of war hollowed frozen ground for several hours. When the pit reached five meters, it became clear: the grave is empty.
Diary of General Bryusov
It was Alfred Rode, who was the main custodian of the famous Amber Room until the assault by the Soviet troops of the city of Königsberg. But, oddly enough, from the very beginning his role was not known to our “organs”. Moreover, counterintelligence showed negligence in his attitude. For example, the special services did not pay any attention to this fact. Despite the relatively high post in the Reich hierarchy, Rode did not use the opportunity to evacuate from Koenigsberg when Soviet troops stormed the city, although he managed to send his children to Germany. Obviously, the main keeper of the Amber Room must stay with her. Does this mean that in 1945, the room was still in Königsberg? However, no one asked this question in a timely manner.
In May 1945, Chairman Rode was involved by the Soviet authorities in the work of the museum property search commission, headed by Professor General A. Bryusov. Our scientist in uniform could not have imagined that Rode was almost the number 1 figure in the abyss of intrigues and secrets around the Amber Room. However, Bryusov immediately felt that for some reason Rode was trying to confuse the cards. Here is what the general wrote in his diary of June 15, 1945: “Rhode is a kind of old man whose right hand is shaking. Dressed pretty sloppy (maybe on purpose?). Art critic. He has several scientific papers. He likes to drink. It does not inspire confidence. It seems to me that he knows more than we think, and when he speaks, he often lies. If no one is looking at him, then his hand will no longer tremble. This is noticeable from the side. He claims that the best collections have long been evacuated, but he does not know where ... ". Oddly enough, not believing the German in trifles, Bryusov believed him in the main thing, namely that it was impossible to find the missing Amber room, since it supposedly burned down during the British bombing aviation Ksnigsberg back in August 1944.
There were, of course, the material basis for this version. Here is another excerpt from the diary of General Bryusov: “Inspection of the large hall (Order Hall of the Königsberg Castle) revealed that, unfortunately, the Amber Room and various Kayserling furniture were completely burned. Hangings (sheds) from the Tsarskoye Selo copper doors, carved molding of the Amber Room, metal plates with screws with which the fragments of the room were attached to the boxes ... ”
Subsequently, other finds were found that "confirm" the version of Rode. In 1946, the team of the Leningrad Executive Committee’s culture found in the ashes of the Königsberg Castle’s Order Hall three paintings from a mosaic melted with fire. It is established with a hundred percent probability that they are fragments of the Amber Room.
But no need to rush to conclusions. Refer to the papers, which in 1945, Professor Bryusov did not know.
Memoirs of Arseny Maximov
One night, Dr. Bryusov (who suffered from insomnia) could not sleep at all. He decided to wake up two assistants and go to the castle. Smoke and glare of fire were seen in one of the windows. Entering the room, they saw Rhode himself. A hidden safe was broken in the wall, a “drinker” was dragging folders with papers from there and throwing them into the fire. Rode was arrested and sent to Smersh, along with papers that had not yet been subjected to fire. After the interrogation in Smersh, he, as we have already found out, soon mysteriously disappeared.
In the papers that Rode did not manage to throw into the fire, there were also those who seriously questioned the death of an amber miracle from a fire during the bombing of British aircraft. I managed to see some of them in the Central State Archive of the Russian Federation. S.Turchenko leads them here.
“The attitude of the department of cultural values in East Prussia to Count Don (one of the largest East Prussian magnates).
After a raid by British aviation 30.08.44, most of the Königsberg castle was completely destroyed. A number of valuables stand in the lower rooms of the palace in the south wing (attributed by hand: “The Amber Room including”). The office asks the count to provide the necessary rooms for evacuation in his Schlobitten castle ... ”
The graph’s answer contained the following lines: “There is only one dry room in the basements, but it is not suitable for the Amber Room.”
And here is another copy of the letter that Rode sent to the Reich Chancellery in response to the demand to immediately deliver the Amber Room to Berlin: “1. Railway tracks are cut red. 2. We will not risk sending by sea, since it is seriously controlled by the enemy. 3. Air patrols aviation Reds. I give a government guarantee that the Amber Room is hidden in a reasonably safe place. Dr. Rode. ” (January 1945 of the year).
“When General Bryusov, after the unexpected disappearance of Rode, got acquainted with these and other documents,” writes Arseniy Maksimov in his diaries, which S. Turchenko read in the Central State Archive of the Russian Federation, he is a direct participant in most of the expeditions to search for the Amber Room, “he was very amazed. When we met in 1947, he said this: “When I was assigned to this mission (searching for museum treasures in Königsberg), I was absolutely not ready for it. I did not know then that Rode was a well-known expert in amber, the owner of a huge collection of amber, in which there were tens of thousands of the finest exhibits. I didn’t suspect that behind this pathetic German there were a dozen author mandates recognized as a planet. Finally, I didn’t assume from the very beginning that the Amber Room was still in Königsberg and well hidden somewhere, and Rhode was well aware of everything. KNEW ABOUT EVERYTHING! Finally, I did not expect that the guardians of the law would believe him and without my personal permission they would release this experienced wolf to freedom, and these important documents, signed personally by Rode, perfectly testified that it was he, Rode, who we needed. ” .
Falsification of the death of a masterpiece
The preparation of this type of falsification of the death of the Amber Room during a fire can be indirectly indicated by the testimony of the owner of the Bloody Court restaurant in Koenigsberg Castle, Paul Feyerabend, which she gave 2 on April 1946 to Soviet competent authorities. We will talk about them later on, and now only a small stroke. Feyerabend reported that in the summer of 1944, two cars loaded up to the top with various drawers pulled up to the castle. According to Rode’s testimony, Feyerabend reported, there was amber from Russia in them. Several small boxes were unloaded and moved to a small room at the entrance to the Order Hall. (Here, among the ashes, the burnt parts of the Amber Room were found. So it is very possible that in these boxes there were mosaic paintings and carved moldings left here to introduce those who were deceived). The next day, the cars with the main cargo left the castle grounds.
The most painful blow to the Rode version was made by the former head of the Catherine Palace, A. Kuchumov. He took part in the expedition from the management of the culture of the Leningrad Executive Committee, and at the end of the expedition he compiled a report which, in my opinion, should be quoted almost completely.
Here are the passages:
“In March 1946, the group again surveyed the castle’s interior. At the very entrance to the Order Hall, three completely burnt, discolored mosaic paintings were found in the ashes. It was possible to find out that these were paintings of the Italian work of the XVIII century, which were previously located in the Amber Hall. However, this is not an absolute confirmation that the Amber Room was completely destroyed in a fire. Such circumstances make one doubt it.
1. The room in which the mosaic fragments are found is very small, so that it can accommodate the Amber Room, previously packed in boxes.
2. The original finish of the Amber Room consisted of an 24 pilaster of thickened plate glass. On them - 24 were bronze sconces. However, no bronze was found in the ash.
3. Four curved mirrors were installed in the four volume panels of amber side walls. They were simply impossible to remove without damaging the amber frames. And in the burning area, not even a small piece of glass was found ...
The obvious conclusion is that the Amber Room was taken out and hidden in a secluded place that Rode was no doubt aware of.
It is known that in the city of Königsberg and in some areas of the former territory of East Prussia, for some time after their liberation by the Soviet troops, the secret German organization called “Werewolf” (“Werewolves”) was operating. One of its tasks is the continuation of activities to export to the West various values of both East Prussian and stolen in our country. During conversations with experts from the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU), the researcher heard the opinion that Rode was removed by people from the organization “Werewolf” as soon as they realized that they could tell the Soviets about some secrets. In this regard, it is said about a certain Ringel, who, it seems, was entrusted with the task of transporting the Amber Room or hiding it so that no one could find it.
In the GRU Turchenko reported this fact. In January, 1945, our army intelligence was able to intercept an encrypted radiogram. Soon, experts clarify its content: “The action is over. Amber Room moved to "VS". Otto Ringel. Ringel's search did not give any results then. Many years later, it turned out that a completely different person was hiding behind this pseudonym. Many experts are inclined to believe that the cited radiogram is one of the intercepted reports on the progress of Operation Grun, which was planned by the General Directorate of Imperial Security at the end of 1944. The goal is to search for old dungeons to shelter in them the values transported from the USSR.
The already mentioned restaurant owner of the Königsberg Castle “Blood Court” Feierabend, in his testimony to the Soviet authorities in April 1946, told an interesting detail: in the fall of 1944, Alfred Rode was absent from work for a long time, did not answer by home phone, and then explained it to those that was seriously ill. At first glance, this fact does not cost anything substantial, but when Turchenko compared him with another, there was a feeling that someone (or Feyerabend, or Rode) was “dark” in this situation.
After Rode’s disappearance at the end of 1945 of the year, as is well known, Smersh’s army officers discovered his medical record with Kecker’s doctor. According to her, the director of the Koenigsberg museums was rather scrupulous about health, went to Kekker for every little thing.
What does this mean? Did Feyerabend confuse something or intentionally lied? Or maybe Dr. Rode had a real absenteeism from his work place for several days, about which true goals he never extended? At first, the very first assumption seems preferable.
But now, looking through the archives of the Soviet expeditions to search for the Amber Room, the researcher paid close attention to materials related to the arrival in Kaliningrad of a former employee of the cultural department of Koenigsberg, a friend of Dr. Rohde Gerhard Strauss. From a visit to Kaliningrad, a curious document was preserved in the archives under the title “The testimony of Dr. Strauss about various works of art stolen from the Soviet Union during the war years.”
It is quite voluminous, so I will quote only what is connected with the absence of Dr. Rode in the service in the autumn period of the 1944 year: “I have no information about the transportation of the room from Ksnigsberg. But I know that Dr. Rode in the fall of 1944 of the year was looking for a place to hide all the property of the plundered museum. Since he told me in early January of 1945 that the room was in the process of packing, one can guess that it was a preparation for its transportation. Until mid-January, the city of Berlin was directly connected by rail. Later, until the fall of Koenigsberg, there was a message through the air and the sea. The transportation of the room was considered possible for state reasons (Gauleiter Koch), so that the Red Army would not get it, and for research reasons (Dr. Rode). Under the territory where the room could be transported, one can assume Saxony, since there in the fall of 1944, Dr. Rode was looking for a place to store the room ... "
Obviously, Rode in the fall of 1944, was looking for a place in Saxony where you can hide a room. Maybe this can explain his long absence in the castle, and not at all a disease? This can indirectly be confirmed by another document - “Ernst Schaumann’s testimony” (a fairly close friend of Dr. Rode, academician of painting). They, among other things, say: “After my visit to France, I asked Rode about what would happen to the values and the Amber Room. He replied that, by order of the administration of the castles in Berlin, they were loaded onto vehicles and sent to secret places on the estates of Saxony and East Prussia. ”
Complete solution stories with “absence”, Rode came when I discovered in the archive a document mentioning Rode’s report to secret minister Zimmermann on a successful trip to Saxony, where two locks were discovered near Rochlitz (Burgh Kryvshteyn and Wechselburg), in which and placed the Amber Room. The report is dated 4 December 1944.
The most significant fact is that nowhere in the archives of our expeditions to find the Amber Room, nor in popular publications on this topic is there any mention of the fact that anyone was developing a version of the burial of the Amber Room in Rohlitsa. Only in the notes of the German researcher, Professor Kohler, such lines: “Dr. Rode, who is in charge in Konigsberg for the Amber Room, was sent by the leadership to Saxony at the end of the year 1944. Four days later he returned. Two days that he spent in Dresden, I can tell almost every hour. Two days spent outside Dresden, just sunk into darkness, complete obscurity, there is no trace. Which places in Saxony could he visit? Apparently, the galleries and mines. Why no one knows about this? Because such vaults in those years were the “first secret of the Reich,” only those close to the Führer knew about them. ”