Russian scientists have discovered a secret Nazi base in the Arctic.
Located on Alexandra Land in the Arctic Circle, the site known as "Schatzgraber" or "Treasure Hunter" is believed to have been built on direct orders from Adolf Hitler. It was constructed in 1942 after the German dictator invaded Russia.
The supposed weather station was in service from 1943 but it was reportedly abandoned just a year later in July 1944. The staff manning the site was said to have been poisoned after being forced to eat raw polar bear meat that was contaminated with roundworms when supplies at the facility ran low. The poisoned crew were rescued by a German U-boat. The story, however, was often dismissed as a wartime myth.
For decades the location of the site was unknown but 72 years later, researchers who were exploring the isolated island stumbled upon it. They found more than 500 relics, including discarded petrol canisters, ruins of bunkers and a batch of paper documents that were well-preserved by the island's freezing climate.
Researchers also found bullets as well as personal items such as shoes. Many of these items appear to be dated and marked by the Nazi-appropriated symbol, the swastika. The artifacts will be taken to Russia, where they will be studied and later put on public display.
"Now we can enter this data in the scientific revolution, and, referring to the evidence, to expand and clarify the idea of the German army operations in the Arctic region during the Second World War," said Evgeny Ermolov, a senior researcher at the Russian Arctic National Park.
The name given to this German base has led some people to believe that it may also have had another secret mission. Some speculate that the base may have been used for pursuing ancient relics, which the Ahnenerb believed to have supernatural powers.
Ahnenerb was a Nazi Germany institute that conducted research on the Aryan race's archaeological and cultural history. The institute launched expeditions and performed experiments to find proof that the mythological Nordic populations once ruled the world.
Prior to the discovery of the site, the existence of the base was only known from written sources. The site was referenced in the German book Wettertrupp Haudegen, which was published in 1954.
Alexandra Land, where the base was discovered, has been a disputed territory for many years but it is now part of the Russian Federation. Russia is said to have plans of building a permanent military base in the region.