A schloss is for life - not just Christmas
A German castle may seem a snip at 40p but hidden extras can be horrend ous, writes Steve Crawshaw from Bonn
Monday 26 December 1994
The organisation entrusted with privatisation in east Germany, which has around 60,000 properties to dispose of, has chosen 20 of its choicest for sale and distributed 18,000 glossy catalogues, worldwide. Its English title is "Fairy-Tales", but in Germanits title,"Castles for the Future", is more accurate.
Property prices start at DM1 (40p). but however enchanting and however cheap the guide price, the words "in appalling condition" appear repeatedly.
The particulars of Schloss Wulkow, near the Polish border and available for DM1, note laconically: "It is imperative that reconstruction and repair begin as soon as possible. Otherwise, the building will be lost for ever." Purchase depends on legal guarantees that the building will be suitably restored.
Other highlights include an 18th-century castle with secret passageways; a 13th-century monastery, or a 16th-century manor house with moat.
Many have a chequered history. The catalogue says of a 13th-century castle, that "the use of the entire castle by the People's Army of the GDR resulted in serious interference with the original ground plan".
A manor house in south-east Germany was used in the past 60 years as: a Nazi labour camp for women; a hospital for the Soviet army; a training school for East Germany's Communist youth organisation; and, finally, as stables for a collective farm.
Response to the catalogue has been overwhelming, from those who want to create conference centres, holiday centres, or exclusive hotels. Now it is up to citizens' committees, who have spent several weeks scrutinising bids and would-be purchasers' creden
t ials, to decide which bid is best financially or for the locality. A shortlist will be published on Thursday.
Some properties carry a warning: "Restitution claims by the previous owners are known of." Theoretically, those expropriated under the land reform of 1945-49 cannot be reclaimed under a deal with Moscow at the time of German unity in 1990. Previous owners are still keen to try their luck, not least, because they are entitled to compensation.
- 1 Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
- 2 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 4 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...