Berlin says it is ready to offer the “Goebbels villa”

Berlin says it is ready to offer the “Goebbels villa”
Berlin says it is ready to offer the “Goebbels villa”

Expensive to maintain, difficult to destroy, difficult to sell… The former villa of Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, is a burden for the municipality of Berlin which now says it is ready to give it away.

The city-state of Berlin has been struggling for years to find a second life for this once luxurious property built near a lake, on a vast 17 hectare property, in the countryside surrounding the German capital.

“I am donating the land to anyone who would like it back, it is a gift from the state of Berlin,” finance official Stefan Evers said during a discussion Thursday in the Berlin Chamber of Deputies, hoping put an end to this endless debate.

The property is located about 40 kilometers from Berlin, in the state of Brandenburg, but neither the latter nor the federal government are interested in such a “generous gift”, he added.

Joseph Goebbels was offered the land in 1936, having the vast residence built there with funding from the UFA, the powerful film production company over which he reigned supreme.

The U-shaped building housed a private cinema room and spacious living rooms with a view of Lake Bogensee, where Goebbels received stars, personalities and mistresses.

The “Goebbels villa” is all the more cumbersome because it prevents any new use of another local vestige of Germany’s tumultuous history: a vast complex erected after the war by the authorities of the former GDR on the same land as Hitler’s minister’s house, in the middle of the forest.

This group of buildings built in the Stalinist style of the early 1950s housed the training center for cadres of the Free German Youth (FDJ, the youth organization of the East German communist party SED).

Within this communist university, the “Goebbels villa” had been converted into a supermarket for students and a nursery.

In the absence of a buyer or subsidy, Berlin is now considering demolishing everything and renovating the land, because the annual security and maintenance costs run into the millions, according to German media Bild and RBB.

This would require removing the status of historic monuments from buildings.

In 2016, the Berlin Real Estate Fund decided not to sell the already very dilapidated “Villa Goebbels” “for fear that it would fall into the wrong hands” and “become a place of pilgrimage for the Nazis”.

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