During the Second World War, many wealthy families and indeed nations tried to hide their valuable artworks from invading troops. Adolf Hitler’s Nazis, for instance, were determined and rapacious looters of high culture. And though many items were returned to their rightful owners after the war, others vanished without a trace – never to be seen again. Here are ten of the most infamous relics that disappeared.
10. The Amber Room
It was 1701 when the master craftsman Gottfried Wolfram began making the Amber Room to the design of Andreas Schlüter. The intricately decorated panels were intended for the Charlottenburg Palace of King Frederick I of Prussia. And it’s said that Frederick was prompted to commission this lavish work by his wife, Sophie Charlotte, who was apparently a woman with expensive tastes in interior décor.
The Amber Room actually ended up in the Berlin City Palace, but it soon found a new home. Tsar Peter the Great visited Frederick William I – Frederick I’s son – in 1716 and mentioned just how beautiful he thought the space was. And, seemingly able to take a hint, the Prussian gifted the entire room’s fittings to the Russian.