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My dead neighbor's secrets

Von Autor Philipp Maußhardt

When a tenant dies, the landlord is sometimes stuck cleaning out the apartment. How does he react when the deceased’s belongings include explosives, photographic documentation of minor sex crimes, and a portrait of a Wehrmacht officer painted on a piece of Torah scroll? Zeitenspiegel’s Philipp Mausshardt finds out the hard way.

We were eating breakfast on Boxing Day when the neighbor came by. Herr Mayer, 66, wasn’t answering his doorbell. Could I go upstairs and see?

I was the landlord, I had a key. He lay naked on the floor in the bedroom of his subtenant, a pretty student. Next to him, a digital camera on a tripod. In its memory: Herr Mayer in her bed, sheathing his erect penis in a red bell pepper …

A journalist’s unexpected journey that ends with a selection of Mayer’s belongings being exhibited in Krakow’s Jewish Museum.