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Berlin offers to give away villa built for Nazi propaganda chief Goebbels

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AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Berlin offers to give away villa built for Nazi propaganda chief Goebbels
A view of the former country residence of Nazi propaganda minister Goebbels. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Patrick Pleul

A lakeside villa built for Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels is being offered up for free to anyone willing to take on the daunting task of being responsible for its upkeep.

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The Villa Bogensee, which stands on a 17-hectare plot of land just outside Berlin, was conceived as a country bolthole for Goebbels in 1936.

The Nazi PR chief is said to have used the house for his illicit liaisons with actresses right up until April 1945, just days before he and his wife committed suicide in a Berlin bunker.

The villa has been unused since 2000 and has fallen into disrepair, with the city-state of Berlin struggling to find a new owner to take it over.

Stefan Evers, Berlin's finance minister, told a local government meeting on Thursday the building was threatened with demolition.

"I am offering anyone who would like to take over the site to take it over as a gift from the state of Berlin," Evers said.

The property is located in Brandenburg but neither the state surrounding Berlin nor the federal government are interested in such a 'generous gift'" he said.

Germany has long struggled with the question of what to do with former Nazi sites as many are too complex to demolish, but leaving them intact risks them becoming magnets for a new wave of far-right extremists.

After the end of World War II, the Goebbels villa was briefly used as a military hospital before being handed over to a youth organisation which ran an academy there.

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The sprawling villa still has charming original features such as wood panelling, parquet flooring and chandeliers, but the cost of renovating it would likely run into millions of euros.

Evers said he was still hoping for a new proposal from the state of Brandenburg to take over the villa.

"However, should this once again come to nothing, as in previous decades, then the state of Berlin will have no other option than to carry out the demolition," he said.

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