December 11, 2017 - 16:32 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The sole bidder at a bizarre auction has bought an entire East German village complete with buildings, sheds and garages for 140,000 euros, the Daily Mail says.
An anonymous buyer who bid buy telephone, is now the official owner of Alwine - a tiny village in Brandenburg state, 75 miles south of Berlin.
They secured the hamlet, which has just 20 residents - most of them elderly, at an auction in Berlin on Sunday, Saturday, December 9.
In 2000, the hamlet was sold to private investors for one 'symbolic Deutschmark,' the pre-euro German currency.
The two brothers who were the original buyers of its dozen buildings, plus sheds and garages, did not manage to stop its slide into neglect.
During the Second World War, the Hitler Youth trained around Alwine and prisoners of war were incarcerated nearby. Then the Iron Curtain went up and it became part of Germany's communist East.
Until Germany's 1990 reunification, all the property in Alwine, which once counted about 50 residents, was owned by a nearby coal briquette plant, the oldest in Europe.
Several local residents had worked there since the 1960s, said Andreas Claus, the mayor of Uebigau-Wahrenbrueck of which Alwine is a part.
The plant closed in 1991 and many people left.
Before the result, residents waited nervously to see who would buy the property, with some fearing the sale wo;; bring unwelcome changes. Paul Urbanek, 71, said: 'We have been chucked into cold water.'
'Most of the departures were, of course, younger people - the daughters and sons of this place' who moved to West Germany, said Peter Kroll, the district representative, who has lived nearby since 1945. None have come back, he said.
Mayor Claus added: 'People had no other prospects here, especially if they were older.'
Alwine is not the only such community in eastern Germany, which still lags behind the west in prosperity, wages and jobs, with a per capita GDP that was only 67 percent of that in western states in 2015.
Between 1990 and 2015, the region's population fell by about 15 percent, said a government report this year.