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.
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The one chart that shows how George Osborne is almost certainly going to be our next Prime Minister
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...