Sunk U-boat surfaces amid rumours of Nazi treasure: Conservation team stands by to uncover wartime secrets as U-534 is raised

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The Independent Online
COPENHAGEN (Reuter) - A U-boat, sunk in the dying days of the Second World War and which may hold Nazi secrets or treasures, is finally raised by a Danish-Dutch consortium after a 12-hour salvage operation. Jonathan Wardlow, spokesman for the salvors, said: 'The U-534 is in fantastic shape, much better than we ever could have expected.' Naval experts were to open the vessel later yesterday.

The submarine, built in 1942, was sunk by a British Liberator bomber on 5 May 1945 in one of the final actions of the war, after it slipped out of the German port of Kiel to escape advancing Allied forces. It is rumoured to be loaded with war loot, the remains of high-ranking Nazis or secret documents.

High winds had delayed the final lifting of the submarine, making it impossible for two cranes to lift the vessel from the seabed 13 miles north of the Danish island of Anholt. It will be placed on a submersible barge for transport in the coming week to Hirtshals, north Jutland, where a team of conservation experts will begin registering its contents. Work will then begin to remove the six tons of torpedoes and other ammunition thought to be still on board. The vessel is due to be put on permanent exhibition in Denmark.

Rumours of treasure arose because it was of a type designed for long transoceanic hauls and belonged to the 33rd Flotilla, whose task was to transport cargo to Germany's ally, Japan. Other 33rd Flotilla submarines were found to be carrying valuable cargo and documents hidden in modified compartments.

German survivors have expressed some doubts about whether any such treasure would be found on board. Seven German survivors of the U-534's last voyage and four crew members of the Liberator were due to view the wreck yesterday.

(Photograph omitted)