Is the key to finding millions in buried Nazi treasure hidden in a German musical score?
Dutch filmmaker and musician Leon Giesen certainly thinks so. The 51-year-old artist has been attracting attention after overseeing digs in the Bavarian town of Mittenwald in a bid to uncover a rumored stash of gold and diamonds dating back to World War II, Der Spiegel reports.
Some treasure hunters, including Giesen, believe the key to the buried treasure lies in an annotated piece of music by Gottfried Federlein called "March Impromptu." The theory was first floated a year ago by Dutch writer Karl Hammer Kaatee, who had come into possession of a copy of the music apparently scribbled on by Adolf Hitler's aide Martin Bormann, the report explains. Kaatee claims that Bormann secretly encoded the whereabouts of a Nazi fortune at the end of World War II.
Calling the treasure "one of the last remaining secrets of the Nazi era," Kaatee notes on his website that he believes Hitler's own personal diamonds are among the stash, which was intended to fund "post-war terror group Werwolf."
Unable to crack Bormann's alleged code, however, Kaatee posted digital copies of the score online, where Giesen found them, NBC News reports. Now, nine months later, Giesen says he can decipher the code, which has led him to the small southern German town.
After securing permission from Mittenwald officials, Giesen dug three exploratory holes into the street and was cautiously optimistic about the initial results, according to the outlet.
"Our geophysical survey showed a so-called 'anomaly' deep below the surface and experts excluded that it could be an old aircraft bomb or a big stone," Giesen told NBC. "If there are boxes with valuable items below the surface they could be booby-trapped, so we need to bring in specialists and meet all safety requirements first."
Der Spiegel notes that Bavaria has long been a destination for "many an aspiring Indiana Jones." Hitler's right-hand man Heinrich Himmler apparently wanted to build a fortress there, and in 1945, some 100 gold bars stored in the region by the Wehrmacht armed forces mysteriously disappeared.
Watch a report about Karl Hammer's theory in the video below.