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Monday, 17 January, 2000, 12:35 GMT
Divers seek Nazi's last secrets

Forged pound note Millions of forged pound notes could be found


By Nigel Glass in Vienna

A team of divers begins searching a lake in Austria described as the garbage can of the Nazi Third Reich.

The remote Lake Toplitzsee in central Austria is believed to contain top-secret files from the Nazi regime's last days and millions of pounds of forged British currency.

Surrounded by high mountains and approached only by an unmade muddy track, this was part of the so-called fortress Alps from where the Nazis intended to mount their final resistance.

Submarine search

Today's searchers will move electronic sounding gear onto its frozen surface to pinpoint areas to be investigated by miniature submarine.

The head of the Nazi Security Service, Ernst Kaltenbrunner who was executed in Nuremburg in 1945, was in hiding nearby as the Allies advanced.

He is believed to have hidden top secret files from Berlin in the lake.

The lake is also believed to contain documents and forged currency from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp at Oranienburg, north of Berlin, where the Nazis moved their operation to flood the United Kingdom with counterfeit money.

Veteran Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, who is supporting the search, said the story of the Lake was sufficient for several films.

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