Germany: Whose House Is This Anyway?

Questions of ownership and tenants' rights in the East are likely to dominate the political discussion

Amid the run-down villas in East Berlin's once genteel Pankow district, the lovely stucco house at Am Iderfenngraben 23 looks decidedly out of place. The wrought-iron gate is freshly painted; the clay roof shingles gleam in the afternoon sun. Rudolf Musch, a construction engineer, has spent most of his savings renovating the 1920s home since his family moved in eleven years ago. But the Musches, who pay $92 a month in rent for their 1,658-sq.-ft. space, may soon find themselves on the street. Hilmar Schneider, the owner of the house, who left the East in 1961 and lives in Kiel, wants...

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