Solo bidder buys East German village for $200000

An aerial view of Alwine  Germany.   Karhausen Auction House

An aerial view of Alwine Germany. Karhausen Auction House

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.

But the plant closed in 1991 and the town's homes began to empty, with many residents leaving to seek work elsewhere.

During the Second World War, the Hitler Youth trained around Alwine and prisoners of war were incarcerated nearby.

The two brothers who are the current owners did not manage to stop its slide into neglect.

This was before the Berlin Wall was put up and it became a part of the Communist East Germany.

Several local residents had worked there since the 1960s, said Andreas Claus, the mayor of Uebigau-Wahrenbrueck of which Alwine is a part.

None have come back, he said. Alwine-an embodiment of the failure of what was once East Germany to match the prosperity of the West-boasts a dozen or so decaying buildings and a population of 20.

Urbanek, who moved there after a divorce in 2010, said he likes Alwine because it's quiet.

Alwine has around 20 residents who are, with the exception of one family, retired.

"I'm retired, my neighbour is retired".

Given the region's exodus of younger people, "the ageing process in eastern Germany is progressing much faster than in western Germany", according to the government report.

As per a report in NY Daily News, the mayor of the town himself found out about the sale through a media report. The minimum bid was set at 125,000 euros.

"People in economically underdeveloped areas feel left alone with their problems", said Claus, voicing a common complaint that has impacted eastern German politics.

"We were contacted by many interested parties, also from overseas", a representative of the Karhausen auction house in Berlin, Matthias Knake, told the magazine.

In Germany's federal elections in September, nearly a quarter of Uebigau-Wahrenbrück voted for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, reflecting disillusionment with traditional parties.

"The concern is that nothing will happen", he said.

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