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German police investigate hole at ex-finance minister’s grave

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German police on Monday opened an investigation after a deep hole was discovered at the grave of former finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who died late last year.

Schaeuble’s resting place is in his hometown of Offenburg in southwestern Germany and the hole was found on Monday morning, police said in a statement.

There was a “1.2-metre (3.9-foot), funnel-shaped hole” at the conservative politician’s grave, it said, adding that the gravedigger “did not reach the coffin of the deceased”.

The circumstances remain unclear, police added.

Schaeuble, a prominent figure in German politics for decades, was buried there in January.

A member of the conservative CDU, he served as a minister under chancellors Helmut Kohl and Angela Merkel.

Working with Kohl, Schaeuble played a key role in German reunification in 1990 and carved out a reputation as the guardian of German budgetary discipline as Merkel’s finance minister.

Schaeuble subsequently served as president of the Bundestag from 2017 until 2021 and remained a member of parliament till his death.

The discovery of the deep hole sparked an outcry.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told German daily Bild the incident was a “vile crime that must be prosecuted harshly”.

The current Bundestag president, Baerbel Bas, said she was “deeply shocked” by the desecration of her predecessor’s grave.

Bas also said she was worried by “signs of brutalisation” in certain sections of society.

Carsten Linnemann, the general secretary of the CDU, likewise told Bild the incident was “repulsive and leaves me stunned”.

“I very much hope the perpetrators are caught quickly,” Linnemann said.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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