The Hainer Stollen (Hain Drift), also known as the “Alte Silberkaute” (“Old Silver Pit”), located below the Siegberg hill, is a disused down mine tunnel that was converted into an air-raid shelter in 1941. In the last few months of the war, it was mainly used to store art treasures worth a total of 3 to 4 billion gold marks and to protect them from bomb attacks.
Among these irreplaceable historical and cultural treasures were the remains of Charlemagne, numerous Rubens paintings and artefacts from the Aachen cathedral treasure. US soldiers discovered the hiding place in 1945 and ensured that the valuable pieces returned to their places of origin. The pictures that the US soldiers shot of their find are unique documents of contemporary history, especially the photo of a soldier with the crown of Charlemagne. The story of this American task force was later filmed, starring George Clooney, under the title ‘Monuments Men’.
An information and memorial plaque commemorates this historical event.