Drilling has gone underway near a network of tunnels built by concentration camp prisoners in Austria as investigators try to answer one of the Second World War’s most enduring mysteries: whether Hitler was close to acquiring an atomic bomb. The search for secret underground chambers follows the discovery of unusual levels of radiation at the former Mauthausen-Gusen labour camps.
As many as 320,000 prisoners were worked to death or killed in gas chambers at the complex. The discovery that many of them were scientists and that some of them were assigned to an unknown special project from 1941 has led to renewed speculation that it could have been a secret branch of the nuclear programme. Andreas Sulzer, Austrian film-maker has been working on a film for two years about the Austrian scientist Viktor Schauberger, and found out that he was involved from 1941 under the strictest secrecy on SS research projects, warning colleagues in letters that he was involved in atom-smashing.
Archive searches reveal that 272 inmates were taken from the main camp to St Georgen to build underground passages. The drilling is being conducted by the government-owned Austrian Federal Estates Company.