Nazi-hunter tracks missing diamonds

Monday, June 9, 2003

The compelling new documentary "Blood from a Stone" (8 p.m., History) follows one man's obsession with buried diamonds, which consumes more than a decade of his life and leads him on an investigative treasure-hunt through centuries of history.

Yaron Svoray, a professional Nazi-hunter, anti-terrorism expert and larger-than-life character, first heard about the missing gems in 1988 when a former American GI told him that he and his buddies had buried 40 large, uncut diamonds near their foxhole in France during the closing weeks of World War II.

Intrigued, Svoray traveled to the battlefield in 1989, but discovered that merely digging holes was a futile venture. He aptly describes it as trying to find a needle "in a stack of needles." Undaunted, Svoray traces the missing diamonds' path from the mines of South Africa to Amsterdam's diamond-trading district to the Nazi concentration camps of the second world war. "When I started this," Svoray recalls, "it was about finding a bunch of diamonds, becoming Indiana Jones and living in Aruba." But after discovering the bloody history of the gems, he decided he could never personally profit from their discovery.

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