On pg. 62
Amber, of course, is that semi-precious jewel produced of the petrified resin of prehistoric trees. It is most commonly found along the shores of the Baltic Sea. The Amber Room was a room paneled in amber and given as a gift by a German King to the Empress of Russia who had it installed at one of her estates near Saint Petersburg. Needless to say, it was priceless. During the Second World War, it was taken from Saint Petersburg by the Germans who were determined to keep it out of Russian hands. As the Russians were advancing west after having liberated Leningrad (formerly Saint Petersburg) the retreating Germans, who had sent the Amber Room to Koenigsberg for safe-keeping, found it imperative to ship the treasure further west in order to, once again, keep it out of Soviet hands.
That’s the history. What about the book? Desperately dull. It doesn’t fly, it doesn’t soar. It plods and disappoints. The reader is bounced between the GDR and the Waffen SS, the KGB and the NKVD. Not many will have the stamina to see this book through to its end. There just isn’t a lot of excitement to this book, to the solving of this puzzle: there is no chase; just a lot of waiting, standing in line, and grey dossiers and files that have had all the guts censored out of them.
So what happened to the Amber Room? Was it stolen by the retreating Germans who took it west with them as the Russians bore down on them from the east? Was it lost during the waning days of the Third Reich. Was it hidden in some deep salt mine or in the dungeon of a medieval castle? Was the whereabouts of the room forgotten by those charged with keeping it safe? Or is it sequestered away in some schloss in the Black Forest. According to the book, probably the Russians were the ones who looted the room. Perhaps, in bit bits and pieces or as one room, it’s somewhere in Russia. Or maybe it’s for sale on eBay: search under Amber, room.
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