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Honecker's hunting lodge sold for €2.5 million

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Honecker's hunting lodge sold for €2.5 million
Photo: DPA
15:09 CET+01:00
An old hunting lodge belonging to former communist East German leader Erich Honecker has been sold at auction to a hotel group for €2.5 million, although there are still legal claims to resolve.

The bid by Vincent van der Valk's Van der Valk hotel group was about €640,000 above the minimum bid of €1.86 million set by the local district court and came after a brief bidding war that drove up the price.

But just before the auction, the wife of the lodge's former – and now bankrupt – owner said she's still owed €306,000 for an old mortgage debt. The district court will decide on that claim by November 28.

Van der Valk said he would be “investing a lot of money in renovation,” to turn the property into a vacation getaway.

The 14-hectare property, nestled among Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's lakes, was a 70th birthday gift worth 43 million Deutsche Mark from Stasi boss Erich Mielke to Honecker in the 1980s.

Outraged citizens stormed the lodge and various other Honecker-controlled properties when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The property eventually fell into the hands of a Bremen businessman.

When he filed for bankruptcy, his main creditor demanded the house be auctioned off, with the proceeds to help settle his debts.

Honecker and other German Democratic Republic leaders had a network of hunting lodges, despite long claiming to have lived a Spartan existence.

The discovery of the lodges upon the fall of East Germany reinforced demands that Honecker be tried for corruption. But he was spirited out of Germany by his communist patrons and died in Chile in 1994 aged 81.

DAPD/The Local/mdm

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