When Timur died in 1405, he was interred in the Gur-e Amir complex of Samarkand, Uzbekistan. A huge green jade slab which had once served as the throne for Kabek Khan was placed over his tomb and covered with Arabic text Just to make sure nobody messed with Timur’s bones down the road, the words ”When I arise from the grave, the world will tremble”
In 1941, Stalin dispatched Soviet archeologist Mikhail Mikhaylovich Gerasimov to excavate Timur’s gravesite.
According to Kaumov, local Uzbek elders were understandably upset about the excavation: “These old men showed me a book saying that the tomb of Timur should not be opened, otherwise a war could be provoked. I was young at the time and not too wise. I did not pay too much attention to this event. On 21 June we removed the skull of Timur. Then, on the 22 June the war with the Germans began.”
In other words, less than 24 hours after opening the tomb that threatened to “make the world tremble” if disturbed, Stalin’s men saw Hitler launch Operation Barbarossa: the largest and most brutal invasion of WWII.
After losing millions of Soviet soldiers and civilians, the Russians finally returned Timur to his tomb with full Islamic burial rights on December 20, 1942. At the same time on the opposite side of the country, Operation Winter Storm, the last German attempt to escape destruction at Stalingrad, failed decisively.