• gerard van weyenbergh

Inside job in theft of diamonds and rubies from Dresden Museum?

Four security guards employed at the Green Vault museum in Dresden have been charged, suspected of being involved in the robbery that took place last November. Investigators suspect that the theft, one of the largest since World War II, was carried out with the help of accomplices working in the museum.

Among the suspects, two are guards who were on duty in the early hours of November 25, when the theft took place. According to the investigators, they did not "react adequately" when it was evident that there had been a break-in and did nothing to prevent the theft. One of them, arrested on November 29, also reportedly provided information on the layout of the rooms and the museum's security system.

Chief Prosecutor Jürgen Schmidt told the Bild newspaper: "The suspects were cooperative at first and said they wanted to speak to the investigators, but then used their right to silence. " In all, seven individuals were involved in the theft.

The Green Vault ("Grünes Gewölbe" in German) is a museum founded in 1723 by the prince-elector of Saxony Frédéric Auguste II, known as Auguste le Fort, and located in the castle of the Residence of Dresden in Saxony. It houses the most extensive collection of treasures in Europe, made up of more than 4,000 works of art, precious stones, porcelain, ivory and amber sculptures, bronzes, and containers set with precious stones).

Among these treasures is a 64-centimeter Moor's head, studded with emeralds, a 548-carat sapphire donated by Tsar Peter I of Russia, and a 41-carat diamond considered the most precious piece in the museum.

On November 25, 2019, around 5 a.m., a fire destroyed an electrical transformer located near the museum, thus deactivating the alarms and lighting of the adjacent streets. However, a surveillance camera continued to operate and filmed two men, who managed to enter the museum through a small opening in a window and enter the vault of Auguste le Fort.

The thieves stole three 17th century ornaments with diamonds and rubies. The director of the museum Marion Ackermann spoke of the prejudice of "invaluable" historical and cultural value. "We cannot reduce them to value because they are not for sale," she explained. Another museum official in the city of Dresden said the stolen ornaments were "part of the world's cultural heritage." According to the region's interior minister, Rolan Wöller, the theft would be an "attack on the cultural identity of all Saxons."


Le Journal des arts