Schoolchildren give away almost €15,000 found on the street

Four Frankfurt children found €15,000 in an old brown envelope on their way to school and then passed it out to all of their friends this week, a police spokesman told The Local on Thursday.

Schoolchildren give away almost €15,000 found on the street
Photo: DPA

The two boys and two girls between the ages of 10 and 13-years-old couldn’t believe their luck when they noticed the bundle on Espenstrasse en route to their Griesheim district school early on Tuesday morning.

When they opened it they found €15,000 and paperwork for a visa in China.

“They threw the envelope away and excitedly took the money and papers to school,” spokesperson Karlheinz Wagner told The Local.

There they distributed the money among their friends, but it wasn’t long before they began to feel uneasy and one of the group told a teacher what they had done.

“They will not be prosecuted or punished at school,” Wagner said. “They realised after awhile that it was wrong and came clean. And besides, they’re children.”

But collecting the money back from students proved to be much more difficult than its distribution, he confirmed.

By the time police arrived at the school, school authorities had collected only €12,000 and had to appeal to the students once again to return the money. They ended up with €14,040.

In the meantime police had contacted the owner of the identification the children found in the envelope. The 33-year-old Afghan citizen, who has lived in Offenbach for some time, told police that he had lost about €15,000, but couldn’t name the exact sum. He said the money was to pay a trip to China, tuition fees there, and to cover debt.

“If he can provide proof, such as bank account details, and investigators determine that he didn’t acquire the money illegally, he can have it back,” Wagner said.

German law dictates that anyone who discovers a large sum of money is entitled to three percent – which will go to the children when the owner is confirmed.

But if police don’t find the rightful owner the money will go to a lost property office.

“If no one claims it within a year or so the children will get the money,” Wagner said.

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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.