Thursday, July 19, 2007


So - which one of you has Rommel’s gold?

I don’t often mention the UK’s Daily Mail in this diary, but there’s a story in today’s edition that will interest all Corsophiles.

After earning a fearsome reputation in northern Africa, Field Marshall Rommel took a “health cure” holiday in early 1943. Students of the Second World War will know that he never returned and, starved of support and adequate leadership, the German army began to lose vital battles and the tide of the conflict in northern Africa began to turn.

Rommel, or one of his officers, is widely supposed to have helped himself to a huge mass of gold while in Africa, confiscated from Jewish people living in Tunisia. The hoard weighed some 440 pounds, and, if it exists, at today’s rate is likely to be worth around two million pounds sterling. Unfortunately for him, and intriguingly for most other people on the planet, it seems to have got lost on the way. And a British investigator, Terry Hodgkinson, thinks it’s in Corsica.

A German officer, interviewed in Italy by Allied Troops some time after Rommel’s departure, told them the gold was buried in six ammunition cases in a sea cavern off Corsica’s East Coast. Hodgkinson believes the hoard to be less than one nautical mile from Bastia (I wonder how he’s so sure?) So Mr Hodgkinson, backed by the French Government, is off to find it.

If I were him, I’d look north of Bastia. Because if I'd been Rommell I'd have hidden my treasure off the coast of wild and craggy Cap Corse rather than risk it in the sea near Corsica’s bustling commercial centre. It makes you wonder if all those big houses up there really are paid for with Puerto Rican sugar money…

And if Terry Hodgkinson does find it, I hope the descendants of those Tunisian Jews - now scattered all over the world - will receive the lion's share.

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