Reclaimed property
Submitted By: readyforaction60

~~Katharina von Hardenberg - 39 years old -   head of a wealthy family who claims back the whole estates of East-German village "Kleinhausen"

 Ann-Lena von Hardenberg - 19 years old - spoiled daughter of Katharina; she will finish her exclusive high-school this year and wants to become a trainer for professional equestrian sport-horses; she despise people of East-Germany, because she thinks that they have "a poor spirit"

 Antje Hansen - 30 years old - creative and ambitious lawyer of the Hardenberg-family; she holds an Elite certificate in property-law and has no qualms to adjust the interpretation of a law a little for the benefit of her clients

 Claudia Conradi - 26 years old - cousin of Ann-Lena von Hardenberg

 East-Germans:

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 Erwin Schroeder - 45 years old - mayor East-German village "Kleinhausen", who will do anything he can to protect his village and its citizen from the infringements of the "arrogant and ignorant" West-Germans

 Judith Hartung - 28 years old - she is wishful secretary of Erwin Schroeder; she is so impressed by the glamour of the Hardenberg-appearance, that she is even willing to betray her own boss just to win the favour of Katharina von Hardenberg

 Alexander Geis - 31 years old - boyfriend of Judith Hartung; he dreams to become someone very important one day, but he is unemployed at the moment; currently he lives in the degenerated main building of an old horse-farm, that Ann-Lena von Hardenberg is keen to re-built as her new equestrian school

 [testimony No. I of Judith Hartung]

 My name is Judith Hartung. In 1992 I had already been working at the secretary's office in the town hall of Kleinhausen for the past seven years. You have to know that Kleinhausen is a very small town indeed. In fact it is more a village then a real town, but its small houses and parks are absolutely lovely never the less.

 The only ugliness of Kleinhausen was its rising unemployment-rate. So I was lucky to have this job as it really seemed to be the most secure place for me to be. Or so I thought at least until the 15th of January 1992.

 This crucial day had started just like any other day before. Like yesterday there wasn't really much to do and so I had started filling out the missing figures of Kleinhausen's financial report of 1991. Since this year our office was connected to the regional data processing center and I was still a little slow at using its brand-new and quite complicated terminal-software.

 While working I kept my Sony walk-man running - listening to Nirvana's new album "Smells Like Teen Spirit".

 Therefore I didn't notice when a dark-blue BMW parked under my window or when its driver knocked at my door. I just startled by a shadow that was casted by a young lady who suddenly stood right in front of my desk.

 When I looked up her slim body I was pierced by two blue eyes.

 "Hello! How may I help you?" I asked befuddled.

 "I need to speak with Mr. Schroeder!"

 "Do you have an appointment with him?"

 "Are you telling me, you are such a bad secretary that you wouldn't even know whether your boss has an appointment now or not?"

 "No! I was just... just... Never mind!"

 I stuttered, while taking a closer look at my presumptive guest. She had definitely dressed in a manner that was guaranteed to draw attention as she wore a stylish black skirt and a white satin-blouse combined with a dark vest and an elegant silver-chain around her neck;

 Her blond hair was scraped back in a ponytail underlining the natural beauty of her heavy dark eyebrows, her Grey-blue eyes and her firm chin. Blessed with so much beauty, this lawyer would easily wrap every male (and even some female) judge around her gloved fingers, I thought.

 "So?" the harsh voice suddenly kicked me out of my day-dreams.

 "Oh, I'm sorry. Who may I announce?"

 "Mrs. Hansen"

 Since my very first day at work I hadn't picked up the phone with such nervous hands. Fortunately there was just one single button to press to call Erwin Schroeder.

 "Yeah?"

 "There is a Mrs. Hansen who wants to speak with you?"

 "About what?"

 Shit - I had totally forgotten to ask my guest about her concern. Due to the style of her dress I just extemporised "Business matters!"

 "Okay! But I'll have to finish my speech for the roofing ceremony of the new fire-department first. Send her into my office in five-teen minutes!"

 After I hang up, I turned back to Mrs. Hansen and professionally lied: "Unfortunately Mr. Schroeder in still in a telephone-conference on the other line. He will welcome you in a few minutes. Please take a seat for so long!"

 But Mrs. Hansen didn't take a seat. Instead she just watched every of move I did with a presumptuous smirk on her red lips. Her eyes conveyed a sort of unspoken challenge. I tired to keep my expression impassive but my heart was beating faster. I looked down at my paperwork to hide my momentary anxiety, but still I felt how her observing eyes were focused on me. After a count of three I looked up again.

 "May I offer you a cup of coffee?"

 Mrs. Hansen just raised her eyebrows, sending a derogative gaze at my ordinary coffee-machine.

 "No, I rather abstain." she declared with an unmistakable undertone of disgust. "But I will take a Coke. Out from a fresh can, please!"

 "I am sorry - but we don't have any Coke."

 "So why don't you get any?"

 Surprised by such boldness I stared back at her, unsure if her statement was meant generally or if she really wanted me to get her a coke now. I remembered that there had been a new Coke-machine installed at the entrance area of the local youth club a year ago. But she certainly wouldn't expect me to go there, would she? So I just kept standing there, simply lost in my unsureness.

 "What do you gawk at me? Haven't I just told you what I expect of you? Hurry along now!"

 I opened my mouth to protest, but it took just one more look into these dark eyes of her to silence me before even a single word had left my lips. Instead I clumsily retrieved my jacket from the coat-hook and rushed out of the office without taking another gaze at my presumptuous guest.

 You probably think now that I must have been most-stupid to allowed this daunting woman to treat me like that. In fact I thought of me being most-stupid too. Mrs. Hansen was definitely not much older then me but somehow there was a kind of aura of superiority around her which I just didn't dare to oppose. I was so overcome by the effect that her aura had on me that I almost stumbled when I crossed the street to the youth-club.

 When I finally returned to the office with a chilled can of Coke Cola in my hand, I found my office abandoned. Mrs. Hansen had obviously entered Mr. Schroeder's office. Then I noticed a writing-pad lying in the middle of my desk. Mrs. Hansen must have written something on it, before Mr. Schroeder had asked her into his office.

 Although the top sheet had been torn off from the pad, the underlying sheet still was marked by the impacts of the writing. From a thriller that I had recently seen at TV I remembered that such a written text could be made visible again by carefully hatching the sheet with a pencil. And indeed the graphite slowly revealed the secret of Mrs. Hansen's writings. It was a key-figure-list of Kleinhausen's investments in 1991. She must have written them down right from my terminal-software. But why would Mrs. Hansen be interested in such unimportant information? It didn't make any sense to me!

 I know that I was not supposed to listen into a confidential conversations of my boss, but Mrs. Hansen's data-thievery had made me just too curious. I just had figure out what Mrs. Hansen's was intending with this visit. Unfortunately the door to Mr. Schroeder's office is made of thick wood and so I understood only a few incoherent phrases even although I pressed my ear against the door as firmly as possible. Mrs. Hansen was calmly stating something about her "her right of restitution", while my boss seemed trying to argue her down.

 Suddenly I clearly heard him shout out vigorously: "You don't talk to me like that, Mrs. Hansen. It's simple, really. I'm telling you 'NO'."

 "I don't think you're entitled to make that decision, Erwin." followed Mrs. Hansen's cold reply.

 "I don't care what you think. That's what I want. I'm calling the shots in this village!" my boss shouted again.

 "Alright. If you want to play games with me, I am in. Although I should warn you that you might deeply regret your pig-headiness in a few days."

 Then I heard the approaching clicks of high heels. Mrs. Hansen was leaving the office!!! Hectically I rushed away from the door and jumped back on my chair just in the moment when Mrs. Hansen was opening the door.

 "I hope Mr. Schroeder could help to satisfy your wish?" I asked her most innocently, although I have to admit that my interest was much more than pure politeness.

 "Oh yes. But it seems that there will be some more encounters necessary to persuade Mr. Schroeder of the inevitability of my claims!"

 I remember how her ambiguous statement was sending me shivers down my spine. Although I must admit that it probably was not the statement itself which made my shudder, but it was the frightening calm voice in which she made this statement.

 As I did not want to admit to her that her presence had made my mouth went dry, I didn't touch my cup of coffee, but just nodded professionally and cawed out a croaky "Sure, Mrs. Hansen!"

 Mrs. Hansen's smile widened fractionally, as if she could pick up on my nervousness.

 "I like this attitude! What a pity that you already work for Mr. Schroeder!"

 My pulse quickened just a little. Was she just toying with my mind or was she really indicating that she wanted to hire me? But before I even could respond, Mrs. Hansen had already turned around and left the room.

 Ten minutes later my boss came out of his office. I couldn't help but notice his pale face.

 "Is everything okay, Mr. Schroeder?"

 "Yeah - everything is alright!" he mumbled without even taking a look at me. Heavy thoughts seemed to wallow in his mind.

 "Come on! Please tell me what distracts you such much!" I dug deeper.

 "It's Mrs. Hansen. She just told me that she acts as a substitute for the Hardenberg-family and claimed the immediate property-transfer of our whole recreation-area including the old hotel and the horse-stables. According to Mrs. Hansen the Hardenbergs were expropriated in 1957 by the German Democratic Republic and are therefore entitled for a total restitution based on the unification treaty."

 "So the town gets new and solvent investors. What's so bad about it?"

 "What's so bad about it??? I'll tell you what's bad about it: The Hardenbergs plan to convert our recreation-area into an exclusive holiday resort for the upper crust. The native citizen of Kleinhausen are meant to become nothing more than attendants for the elitist guests of the Hardenberg's tourist-corporation. As I protested to these plans, Mrs. Hansen even threatened me that I would be replaced if I refuse to play my role as the Hardenberg's puppet-major."

 "Sorry - I didn't know that! But maybe we can find anything in the land-register that proves the legal effectiveness of the estate's former transfer into the communal property?"

 "The land-registers as well as the title-records were neglected during the GDR-regime and have been lost now. But I think that I have already found out another chance to prevent that our town is taken over by the possessive and snotty Hardenberg-clan."

 As soon he saw my rising despair a gleeful grin appeared on his face.

 "But the situation is not as hopeless as it seems." he stagy declared with a bumptious tone.

 "I just found out that the paragraph 3a of the 'German Open Asset Questions Regulation Act' concedes the so-called priority-rule. This rule forces the original proprietor to waive his right of restitution for the benefit of any current investor who generates jobs. Now we only have to claim that we have already planned such investments in 1991 and we have won!"

 "But.... we haven't the hotel and the horse-farm aren't used anymore since 1989." I argued.

 "Sure! But how will the Hardenberg-family be able to prove that?"

 Suddenly it hit me: Mrs. Hansen had stolen the figures of Kleinhausen's investment-plan 1991 to prove exactly argument. With this information the Hardenberg-family would easily crush down any objection to prevent the restitution on basis of to the 'priority-rule' of the 'German Open Asset Questions Regulation Act'.

 Or to put it directly: We were quite fucked!

 I really wanted to tell Mr. Schroeder about this crucial data-thievery of Mrs. Hansen, but for some reason I didn't get out any word.

 Looking back I do not know what possessed me, but I guess that it was the feeling of sharing a secret with Mrs. Hansen if I wouldn't tell my boss about it. Sharing such a great secret made me become some kind of intimate confidant to her. And being a kind of intimate confidant to Mrs. Hansen was a very arousing though.

 So I just faked an expression of utmost relief when I said "Thank god that you have found this paragraph, Mr. Schroeder."

 With a smile of untroubled happiness on his face he went home.

 I was using at last minutes of this eventful day to tidy up the office room, when I found a pair of leathern gloves on the side-board of my desk. Mrs. Hansen must have forgotten them.

 They were made of the finest leather, so my heart beat fast as I took the into my hands. Their smell of leather was mixed with a slight touch of her perfume.

 Everything of them seemed to be so exclusive as if the gloves were coming from another world. From the Western world.

 For a short moment I though about the idea of letting her hand slip inside, but some secret force hold me back. Somehow I felt that such gloves were meant for another league of woman. Woman like Antje Hansen. It wouldn't be appropriate that my hand would enter such a masterpiece.

 Still I can not deny that my nipples stiffened a little, when I carefully put them into my desk drawer.

 [testimony No. II of Erwin Schroeder]

 I am Mr. Schroeder. Erwin Schroeder to be precise.

 You should know that I am the happily-married, 45-years-old major of Kleinhausen and that I have some considerable influence over this region. Influence that will be strongly needed as the times are getting tougher. Just two years ago Kleinhausen had been a peaceful place to live, but than the German reunion came over us and with it came the claims for restitution from selfish West-Germans.

 I hope you don't get me wrong. I don't condemn the restitution in general, but you also have to consider that one mere restitution claim on an estate of Kleinhausen will produce an immediate obstacle for potential investments until the legal settlement. And with an unemployment-rate as high as nowadays I can't afford to abandon any investment. And strictly speaking I won't!

 Instead I will do anything within my power to defend my town. So just let me give you an example of my current campaign against the recklessness of West-German egoism.

 One week ago a young and rather 'career-oriented' woman came into my office. Even the first impression of her left no doubt that this lady was a rather 'career-oriented' and Machiavellian kind of woman, even at her tender age. She was a perfect example of the blossoming emancipation of our modern times. The prime example, I might go so far to say.

 The must have been well aware of her disarming aura, because she demanded me to sign a waiver-declaration over our town's whole recreation-area without any deviation.

 Furthermore the town should bear all restoration costs.

 Of course I instantly rejected this absurd demand as this area (including its town's only hotel and a neighboring horse-farm) was already set in the town's future development-plan. My decision didn't find much sympathy of Mrs. Hansen. Instead she tried to bully me by threatening to take court action.

 But now I know that she will never do that as I still hold one big trump in my hand. The priority-rule of the 'German Open Asset Questions Regulation Act' protects job-generating investments from restitution-claims. Unfortunately I hadn't had time to generated such jobs so far. But how will Mrs. Hansen prove me wrong if I hold all the information about 1991's investments?

 And indeed Mrs. Hansen has just invited me to an extra-judicial agreement instead of bringing this case to court. I interpreted this offer as an significant indicator that Hardenberg-clan has given up this case already and is now trying to bargain for a compensation payment at least. As I have decided that Kleinhausen can show itself generous here, so the meeting will become only a matter of signifying a necessarily agreement.

 [testimony No. III of Erwin Schroeder]

 The appointment for our extra-judicial negotiation was set for ten o'clock in the morning. Five minutes before the time my secretary Mrs. Hartung and I arrived at Kleinhausen's town-hall. Mrs. Hansen has already parked her blue BMW directly in front of the entrance. On the parking-lot that was personally dedicated to me as the major!

 But I silently decided that I wouldn't complain as I didn't want to appear too narrow-minded. Or was it an inner fear of me of getting into any more trouble with Mrs. Hansen?

 Anyway -- I tried to stay calm and politely bid her "Good morning!"

 "A good morning it is indeed, Mr. Schroeder! But I just fear that this will be your last 'good' morning for quite a long time." Mrs. Hansen replied in mocked amusement.

 And how should I be able to answer, taunted in that way? So I remained silent, waiting for Mrs. Hardenberg to arrive. That was easier said than done, as I was harassed by Mrs. Hansen's disingenuous smirking the whole time while I kept wondering what she might be meaning with 'my last good morning for quite a long time'.

 Still I couldn't afford to show any confusion, as my behavior was observed by the attentive eyes of my secretary Mrs. Hartung. For such reasons I felt more than relieved when finally a silver Jaguar XJS drove around the corner. Its windows were tinted black leaving only a vaguely disquieting shadow. Such an exotic car at such an ordinary place could only mean the arrival of a very special guest: Mrs.von Hardenberg herself.

 Out of the car stepped a surprising attractive woman, although her eyes kept hidden by a pair of dark sunglasses. Beneath her coat she wore a snug, charcoal-gray wool skirt and pearl-gray blouse over a black turtleneck. Her exclusive boots were well-polished and gave her a severe look. Her meaningful face, framed by a luxurious mane of raven-black hair, almost demanded these clothes to give her person a proper amount of gravitas, yet the clothes perfectly emphasized her femininity. While I was still starring at the astonishing appearance of Mrs.von Hardenberg,

 Mrs. Hansen had already stepped forward to welcome her client."Good morning, Mrs.von Hardenberg. I hope you had a nice ride?"