The Amber Room – The Modern Fictionality

The Amber Room, once a sign of alliance between the ancient land Prussia and Russia, was a gift from Frederich the Second to Alexander the Great in 1716.  The original installation of the room was begun in 1701 in Charlottenburg, Germany.  A world collaboration, the room was, designed by German Baroque Sculptor Andreas Schulter, and constructed by Danish Amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram.




Once it was gifted, it was shipped to the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg as part of a European Art Collection.  In 1775, Czarina Elizabeth moved the room to the Ekaterina Palace in the Czar’s village in Pushkin, and Bartolommeo Francesco Rastrelli, designer of the village, finished the newer space off with extra amber from Berlin.





On June 22, 1941, Adolf Hitler initiated Operation Barbarossa, which launched three million German soldiers into the Soviet Union.  The invasion led to the looting of tens of thousands of art treasures, including the illustrious Amber Room, which the Nazis believed was made by Germans and, most certainly, made for Germans.


As the forces moved into Pushkin, officials and curators of the Catherine Palace attempted to disassemble and hide the Amber Room.  When the dry amber began to crumble, the officials instead tried hiding the room behind thin wallpaper.  But the ruse didn’t fool the German soldiers, who tore down the Amber Room within 36 hours, packed it up into 27 crates and shipped it to Konigsberg, Germany (present-day Kaliningrad).  The room was reinstalled in Konigsberg’s castle museum on the Baltic Coast.  The museum’s director, Alfred Rohde, was an amber aficionado and studied the room’s panel history while it was on display for the next two years. In late 1943, with the end of the war in sight, Rohde was advised to dismantle the Amber Room and crate it away.  In August of the following year, allied bombing raids destroyed the city and turned the castle museum into ruins.  And with that, the trail of the Amber Room was lost.





Another very bizarre and strange aspect to this “dismantled” mystery is the Amber Room Curse.  Many people connected to the room met their ends in untimely ends.  Rhode and his wife, for an example, died of typhus after the KGB investigated the destroyed room.  Another victim of the curse is General Gusev, who died in a car crash after he talked to a reporter about the room.


Even though the aspect of imagination called the Amber Room has been lost, we shall still treasure its memory…











One Response to “JL Exclusives – The Amber Room – The Modern Fictionality”

  1. Noa Mendelevitch | 10.06.12 at 10:08 PM said…

    Fascinating piece about the Amber Room. I am an art history lover but I did not know about the Amber Room until reading your article…thanks for enlightening me 🙂