Tanks but no tanks! German fined for WWII weapons arsenal

From the Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) — A German court on Tuesday convicted an 84-year-old man of illegal weapons possession for having a personal arsenal that included a tank, a flak cannon and multiple other items of World War II-era military equipment.

The state district in the northern city of Kiel handed the man a suspended prison sentence of 14 months and ordered him to pay a fine of 250,000 euros ($300,000), the German news agency dpa reported.

It also ordered the defendant, whose name was not given in line with German privacy laws, to sell or donate the 45-ton tank and the anti-aircraft cannon to a museum or a collector within the next two years.

FILE – In this May 28, 2021 file photo a 84-year-old, accused of possession of a tank, waits in the courtroom for the start of the trial in Kiel, Germany. A German court has convicted a 84-year-old man for illegal weapons possession of a Panther tank, a flak canon and multiple other World War II-era military weapons to a suspended prison sentence of one year and two months. (Axel Heimken/dpa via AP)

Authorities discovered the illegal military arsenal during a 2015 raid of the collector’s storage facility in northern Germany in an investigation into black market Nazi-era art that turned up two bronze horse statues which once stood in front of Adolf Hitler’s chancellery. Those items were in another man’s possession.

During the raid of the defendant’s property, authorities also seized machine guns, automatic pistols and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

Local media reported at the time that the man made no secret of his weapons collection and even brought the tank out during a bad winter to use as a snow plow.

Before the court’s verdict was announced, the defendant’s lawyer read out a confession on his client’s behalf, dpa reported.