Germany condemned a pensioner who kept a Wehrmacht tank in his garage

In Germany, one of the most unusual trials ended – in the case of an 84-year-old pensioner named Klaus-Dieter F., who kept a whole arsenal in his garage weapons, ammunition and armored vehicles from the Reich times, including the real 1944 Panther tank. The Kiel court sentenced the man to 14 months probation, as well as a fine of 250 thousand euros, which must be paid in favor of charities. Most likely, the defendant will rescue this money from the sale of trophies, to which he was obliged by the German Themis. Lawyers admit that they had to puzzle for several years over what articles can be brought to justice for an extravagant collector.

The quiet village of Heikendorf on the Baltic coast thundered all over Germany in 2015, when the police evacuated the Panther from the garage of a retired financier in front of an astonished audience and reporters, and also confiscated an 88-mm anti-aircraft gun, a torpedo, a mortar caliber 50 millimeters, many small arms and cartridges. For all this “economy” Klaus-Dieter F. equipped an underground storage facility in the style of the “Fuhrer’s bunker”, where the operatives saw illuminated runes on the walls, tablecloths with swastikas, Reich banners, figures of imperial eagles, sculptures from the offices of Nazi bosses (in fact, their searches and led to the basement) and even busts of Hitler.

True, it is impossible to condemn collecting “rarities” with Nazi symbols in Germany if the owners do not display them. The man was found guilty under articles on violation of the law on military weapons and illegal storage of ammunition and explosives. By the way, only the anti-aircraft gun was recognized as a military weapon, and the tank, which became a symbol of this resonant case, was classified as a “military-historical weapon with a museum function.” In other words, the fact of collecting, albeit underground, served as a mitigating circumstance. In the end, according to the judge, the owner did not rush around the village and did not shoot or hide from justice. By the way, everyone in the district knew very well about the existence of the tank, which the pensioner was “very proud of.” Several times a year he started up his Panther, in winter he used the tank to clear snow, and also helped his neighbors uproot trees.

In Europe, there is no uniform legislation regarding the storage of weapons, including collection weapons. For example, in Switzerland, every man between the ages of 18 and 53 is considered a reservist in the militia and has the right to purchase any weapon, including a tank, experts say.

In the Czech Republic, small arms made no later than 1890 are considered historical – they can be bought any adult citizen. In Canada, collection weapons are required to be declared, but in Japan samurai swords, including antique ones, are freely sold in specialized stores.