Picturesque Bavarian town Berchtesgaden holds lottery for burial spots | News | DW | 14.07.2018
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Picturesque Bavarian town Berchtesgaden holds lottery for burial spots

The lucky winners of Berchtesgaden's funeral lottery will have their corpses buried at the foot of the Alps. The scenic spot was a holiday spot of Adolf Hitler.

The picturesque town of Berchtesgaden has long had a shortage of available burial plots, with authorities turning down applicants wishing to secure a spot because of a lack of space.

However, officials in the settlement — which lies at the foot of the Alps — now say that some 200 sites have been freed up. The 140 available burial sites and 60 locations for cremation urn tombs will be allocated in a lottery.

The draw is to be carried out next Wednesday and the odds for any of the town's 7,800 residents who wish to apply are good so far, with 280 people having registered on Saturday morning.

"We wanted the process to be as fair as possible," said director of the municipality Anton Kurz.

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The price of a spot at the cemetery varies from €490 to €760 ($570 to $890). Residents are able to apply for places for themselves or relatives.

The Federal Association of German Undertakers said it had never heard of a similar situation, where demand for cemetery places outstrips supply. In northern Germany in particular, the situation is the opposite with many cemetery spots empty.

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Berchtesgaden was a favorite holiday spot of Adolf Hitler, and he bought a home in the Obersalzberg mountain retreat above the town. It became effectively a second seat of government for the Third Reich, with prominent Nazis such as Hermann Göring, Joseph Goebbels and Albert Speer also frequenting the area.

Hitler's "Eagles Nest," overlooking the town, was built as a present for his 50th birthday.

Today, Berchtesgaden and the surrounding areas are a popular destination for holidaymakers and mountaineers. It boasts one of Germany's highest mountains, the Watzmann, as well as one of Germany's national parks.

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