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German pensioner who stashed tank and weapons in basement facing penalties

German pensioner who stashed tank and weapons in basement facing penalties

German pensioner who stashed tank and weapons in basement facing penalties

An 84-year old pensioner from Heikendorf, who stored a World War Two tank, an anti-aircraft gun and a torpedo in his basement, is causing legal chaos for prosecutors in Kiel, after they struggled to reach a decision on how the defendant should be penalised. 

Museums are interested in purchasing the man’s collection 

The Panther tank, which the man must now find a new owner for, was arguably the most efficient such vehicle deployed by Germany during World War Two. According to his lawyer, a US museum is interested in purchasing the tank. 

Some of the other items seized from the property included assault rifles, a torpedo, pistols, and an anti-aircraft gun. The court in Germany is therefore to decide if the defendant’s collection is in violation of Germany's War Weapons Control Act. 

The items had to be removed by the military in 2015

Following a tip-off from local authorities in Berlin, who had already searched the pensioner’s home for stolen Nazi art, around 20 soldiers arrived at the property to remove the tank and place it into secure storage back in 2015. 

Defence lawyers argue that the weapons collected by the pensioner are unusable, and that the tank was purchased as scrap. However, prosecutors believe some of the weapons could still be used to cause harm. If found guilty of breaking the law, the man could face a suspended sentence and a fine of up to 500.000 euros. 

A decision on the case is expected to be delivered in August. 

Emily Proctor

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Emily Proctor

Emily studied International Relations and Chinese, and is now undertaking Master's degree in International Security. She enjoys writing, cooking, and playing piano.

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