According to a TV documentary, a German WW2 soldier created encrypted notes describing the location of a hidden tunnel system in Czechia while in captivity. There are rumours about a treasure hidden in this facility.
Blog reader Matthias Axinger has made me aware of a German TV documentary titled Geheime Unterwelten der SS – Das Geheimnis von Stechowice (“Secret underworlds of the SS – The mystery of Stechowice”). This documentary, which is an episode of the successful History series, is currently available on the website of the German TV station ZDF. I’m afraid it is going to be removed from there soon, but perhaps somebody will upload it to YouTube.
The documentary is about an SS officer named Emil Klein. After the end of the Second World War, Klein was captured in Czechia and became a prisoner. Allegedly, Klein had detailed knowledge of a secret tunnel system located near Stechowice, a town south of Prague. Some believe that the Nazis hid tons of gold and other valuable items in this underground facility. Klein was finally released from prison in 1964. He died seven years later.
Czechian intelligence officers interrogated and even tortured Klein many times in order to find out what he knew about the Stechowice tunnels. Anyway, this secret facility has never been found.
The story of Emil Klein and the Stechowice tunnels has been known for years. A German newspaper article from 1995 covers it in detail. However, the History TV documentary provides some new information. Especially, the makers of it had the chance to look at a large amount of notes and drawings Klein created while in prison. Klein was a skilled artist, and so he made numerous drawings that showed parts of the tunnel system and other motives. However, the Czechians couldn’t make much sense of these sketches.
Klein’s encrypted notes
The reason why Emil Klein’s story is interesting for this blog is that some of the notes he left behind are encrypted. The TV documentary doesn’t cover these cryptograms in great detail, but at least a few of them are shown and it is mentioned that the Cechians broke the cipher. I have no information about how this worked and what kind of encryption system Klein used.
In the following, I’m going to provide a few screenshots from the TV documentary that show encrypted texts Klein created. Considering the amount of ciphertext Klein produced and the fact that he didn’t have cipher tools or machines at hand while in captivity, it is very likely that the encryption method he used was a simple one. Most likely, it was a monoalphabetic substitution (MASC).
I assume that the amount of ciphertext given on these scans is sufficient to break the cipher. Can a reader solve it?
Apart from this, I wonder if somebody has more information about the Stechowice tunnels and Klein’s encrypted notes. If so, please let me readers and me know.
Further reading: The Schlüsselrad: New information about a little known German WW2 cipher device