The German town of Goerlitz has a secret. Its picture post card looks, the neat and tidy buildings, the clean streets are in part down to one mysterious person.
The town, on the frontier with Poland attracts tourists who admire the historical buildings in its pristine streets.
Now it is that time of the year for the town’s accountants to check the coffers again as they have done for the last 20 years.
“Each spring we receive a transfer of 500,000 euros. A committee of five people then decides how to divide the money between the owners of the buildings,” explained Hartmut Wilke, the head of the town’s Architecture Department.
The money arrives with two conditions, that the cash must be spent on renovation work in the old part of the town and that no one can reveal the identity of the secret philanthropist.
“I think the secret donor is great. What he has done is amazing. I want to thank him very much for donating the money to our monuments and buildings. I don’t know who he is,” enthused Goerlitz resident Nadia Stoykow.
Local institutions and private individuals can apply for a share of the annual gift and since the donations started there have been almost 1,500 applications.