Perhaps the largest theft of art objects in history after World War II took place in Dresden, Germany. Attackers have stolen from the treasury of the Saxon monarchs “Green Vault” precious exhibits worth hundreds of millions of euros.
Thieves broke into the Dresden museum Grünes Gewölbe (“Green Vault”) early Monday morning and stole diamonds, other gems and other almost priceless treasures worth about a billion euros, the media reported.
According to the press, the robbers cut off the power to the museum’s state art collection at 5 a.m. before sneaking in through the first floor window, damaging the iron grids. The intruders supposedly set fire to a nearby electricity distributor to disable the museum’s alarm system.
After the break-in, the thieves reportedly looted gems and jewelry for several generations from the museum, which houses Europe’s largest collection of treasures.
After the robbery, the intruders fled by car. The police arrived at the scene. Despite the thieves’ blackout, there is a possibility that some of the CCTV footage was still linked to the museum’s theft.
According to Michael Krechmer, Saxony’s prime minister, the thieves robbed not only the Saxon State Museum, but all Saxons. “The values stored in the Green Vault and the Castle Palace have been acquired by the people of Saxony with difficulty over the centuries,” the politician said, adding that the collection was an integral part of Saxon history.
The exact amount of damage and the list of stolen items have yet to be determined. According to the German tabolide Bild, these are diamonds and vintage jewelry.
“The Green Vault” (Grünes Gewölbe) is Europe’s famous jewelry collection in Dresden, a former princely treasure house from the Renaissance to Classicism. This collection is part of the Dresden State Art Collections and is exhibited in two permanent exhibitions, the Historical Green Vaults and the New Green Vaults, located in the west wing of the Dresden Palace Residence. Some believe that this is the oldest museum in the world, surpassing even the British Museum in age. However, recent discoveries allow you to give the palm of the championship to the Vatican Museums.
Its unusual name, the collection of jewelry received, as they say, from the malachite green color, which once were painted the columns of the hall of Pretiosensaal jewelry (now they are closed with mirrors).
During the war, the Anglo-American bombing of Dresden on February 13, 1945 destroyed three of the nine halls of the treasure. But the exhibits themselves had been evacuated to Koenigstein Fortress a few years earlier. After the war, the items of the collection were sent to the Soviet Union, but then were returned to the GDR in 1958 by decision of the Soviet government.
What exactly was stolen by the robbers, has yet to be determined. Among the works of art stored in the “Green Vault”, we can name the sculpture “Moor”, decorated with precious stones and made of pear tree 64 cm high. Or the “Obelisk of Augustus” (XVIII century) about 2.3 m high with an oval image of the Saxon elector Augustus the Strong in the center. The cost of this obelisk at the time of manufacture was equal to the cost of the Baroque palace. The golden coffee set of the end of the XVII century and the beginning of the XVIII century is especially luxurious. In addition to gold, silver, enamel, ivory and about 5600 diamonds were used to create it.
The “Green Vault” also contained such jewels as the unique 41-carat green diamond from Dresden, considered one of the largest diamonds in the world. Or the 48-carat white diamond and a unique sapphire presented by Peter the Great. Or the amber cabinet made by King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia in 1742 in Koenigsberg.