Pulmonary function tests are performed to assess lung function. Spirometry is the most common and widely used lung function test, followed by diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide (DLCO). It is also known as the transfer factor. DLCO is a measurement to assess the lungs' ability to transfer gas from inspired air to the bloodstream. Carbon monoxide (CO) has a high affinity for hemoglobin, and it follows the same pathway as that of oxygen to finally bind with hemoglobin. Inhaled CO is used for this test due to its high affinity for hemoglobin (200 to 250 times that of oxygen). Among other potential gases for evaluating diffusing capacity, oxygen is not preferred since its uptake is limited by cardiac uptake and total body consumption.
The patient is then asked to hold his breath for 10 seconds at total lung capacity (TLC). Subsequently, the patient exhales out completely, and exhaled gas is collected for analysis after excluding the initial amount of gas from dead space. The collected gas is analyzed for CO and tracer concentrations. Total lung volume, initial and final CO concentration, and breath-holding time are used to calculate DLCO. The recommended timing method used is the Jones and Meade method, which measures breath holding time at thirty percent of inspiratory time up to half of the sampling time. Usually, an average of two or more attempts is considered for DLCO calculation in the single breath-holding technique.
The rebreathing technique is less frequently used, usually during exercise studies. However, a study carried out by Liu et al. showed the rebreathing technique to be more consistent with respiratory system physiology and could be a better test in measuring diffusing capacity than the intrabreath method. Another study conducted by Suzuki et al. showed that the intrabreath method is a reliable alternative to the single breath method to measure diffusion capacity.
Early the next morning, two military policemen guarding the road entering Keiselbach from Merkers saw two women approaching and promptly challenged and stopped them. Upon questioning, the women stated that they were French displaced persons. One of the women was pregnant and said she was being accompanied by the other to see a midwife in Keiselbach. After being questioned at the XII Corps Provost Marshal Office, they were driven back into Merkers. Upon entering Merkers, their driver saw the Kaiseroda mine and asked the women what sort of a mine it was. They said it was the mine in which the German gold reserve and valuable artworks had been deposited several weeks before and added that local civilians and displaced persons had been used for labor in unloading and storing the treasure in the mine.(3)
On February 11 most of the gold reserves, including gold brought back from the branch banks to Berlin for shipment to Merkers, currency reserves totaling a billion Reichsmarks bundled in one thousand bags, and a considerable quantity of foreign currency, were transported by rail to Merkers. Once the train reached Merkers, the treasure was unloaded and placed in a special vault area in the mine designated Room No. 8.(10)
To protect the nation's art treasures, the Reichminister for Education decided in March to ship them to mines for safekeeping. The first shipment took place on March 16, 1945, when forty-five cases of art from the Kaiser-Freiderichs Museum were shipped from Berlin to Ransbach, about nine miles from Merkers, for storage in a nearby mine. Rave, who had been sent with the shipment, found that the mine was unsuitable for a deposit, and therefore it was decided that subsequent shipments would go to Merkers. Between March 20 and March 31 the Germans transported one-fourth of the major holdings of fourteen of the principal Prussian state museums to Merkers. Rave was ordered to stay at Merkers and watch over the collection.(14)
General Eddy, after learning how extensive the mine was and the significance of its treasure, around noon called Lt. Col. John H. Mason, commanding officer of the 357th Infantry Regiment, and told him that the order of the previous day withdrawing his regiment from the Merkers area, minus the First Battalion, was countermanded. He ordered him to hold any movement and that his regiment, minus the Second Battalion, which had been assigned to be the Ninetieth Infantry Division's reserve, was to guard the mine area. At that time the Third Battalion guard had already been relieved by elements of the First Battalion, and the Third Battalion had started to move. The battalion returned to Merkers, and Mason moved his command post from Leimbach to Merkers. Mason then provided for the defense of the Merkers area and the various mine entrances with his First and Third Battalions, elements of the 712th Tank Battalion, and the 773d Tank Destroyer Battalion and numerous antiaircraft guns.(23)
While the treasure was being reviewed on April 8, in other tunnels Americans found an enormous number of artworks. Late that day, Capt. Robert Posey, a Museum, Fine Arts and Archives (MFAA) officer, and Major Perera, G-5, Third Army, arrived to inspect the artworks and the gold and currency. Perera interviewed Veick about the circumstances surrounding the transfer of the treasure to Merkers and obtained from the XII Corps personnel a copy of their inventory. Perera and Posey then set out for the Third Army headquarters at Frankfurt, arriving there at 10 p.m. Shortly thereafter they made their report to Lt. Col. Tupper Barrett, G-5, Twelfth Army Group.(24)
The person who would take over the Merkers operation was Col. Bernard D. Bernstein, deputy chief, Financial Branch, G-5 Division of SHAEF. In October 1942, when he was commissioned a colonel, Bernstein was the assistant general counsel at the Department of the Treasury, handling foreign funds matters. Late on the morning of April 8, Bernstein, at SHAEF headquarters at Versailles, read a front-page story in the Paris edition of the New York Herald Tribune about the discovery of the gold and other treasures at Merkers. He immediately called Barrett to see if he had any information on the subject. He was advised that Barrett was forward at Third Army and would be telephoned immediately about the matter.(26)
Barrett, who had arrived at Frankfurt at 10:30 a.m., learned that Perera and Posey had gone in search of information about the report that the Americans had uncovered the gold reserve, large stocks of foreign currency, and art treasures. About 11 a.m. Barrett received a message that Bernstein was trying to reach him and wanted to know about the validity of press stories concerning the discovery of the treasure at Merkers. Barrett tried unsuccessfully to reach Bernstein, but he did reach Perera, who said the discovery had not yet been verified. And Bernstein, after not being able to reach Barrett, conveyed the information about the Merkers treasure to Brig. Gen. McSherry, deputy chief of staff, G-5, SHAEF, at the advance headquarters at Rheims, France, who thereupon told Bernstein to go to Merkers immediately to look into the matter. Not long afterward, McSherry called him and said that Eisenhower wanted him to take control of the matter.(27)
Just before noon, Bernstein telephoned Barrett and told him about the newspaper stories concerning the Merkers treasure and that SHAEF had received a message from the War Department asking several questions about the treasure. Bernstein asked whether he should fly to Frankfurt, stating that McSherry wanted him to. Barrett told him that he would phone him back when he received another report from Perera and would then recommend whether he should come or not. Shortly thereafter, Barrett reached Perera by phone and was informed that Perera had just received confirmation that the mine contained more than one hundred tons of gold, much foreign currency, billions of German Reichsmarks, and valuable paintings. Perera said that the XII Corps finance officer, at the direction of General Eddy, was placing a heavy guard around the treasure, making a preliminary inventory, and taking protective custody, pending instructions from higher authority. Perera said that only one Reichsbank official from Berlin (Veick) was present with the treasure and that he did not believe it was necessary for Barrett to visit the site until he could return to Frankfurt with a full verbal report that night. Perera also did not think it necessary for Bernstein to come immediately, since he could get pertinent information from the Reichsbank official and the treasure was under sufficient protection at present.(28)
Perera called Barrett at 6 p.m. and gave him summary figures and said that he would return to Frankfurt that night with the preliminary inventory. Thirty minutes later Barrett was informed that Bernstein had left and would arrive at Frankfurt that evening, but at 9 p.m. Barrett learned that Bernstein's plane was stopping at Rheims for the night and he would come the next morning. At 10 p.m. Perera and Posey arrived at Frankfurt. Perera informed Barrett that the principal items in gold and currency at Merkers were 8,198 standard gold bars, 711 bags of twenty-dollar gold pieces, 1,763 bags of other gold coins, various bags of foreign currency, and 2.76 billion Reichsmarks. Perera gave Barrett the inventory, providing fuller details about the Merkers treasure. Perera said Veick told him how and why the treasure was at Merkers and what he was doing there. Posey reported that the art in the mine was very important and that it consisted of the most valuable pieces from various Berlin museums.(30)
By the time Bernstein's transportation could be arranged, the pilot told him it was too late to go to Frankfurt, but he would fly him to Rheims. Bernstein agreed. Once there Bernstein met with McSherry, who told him that Eisenhower had discussed the matter with General Crawford, assistant chief of staff, G-4 (supply and maintenance), SHAEF, and Eisenhower wanted Bernstein to go to Merkers immediately and check the contents and arrange for the treasure to be taken from the mine to a more secure location, thereby relieving combat units for tactical missions. The two then discussed the details and problems involved.(31) 2b1af7f3a8