Mystery German 'miracle bag' donor hands out cash gifts
BERLIN, Aug 6, 2019 (AFP) - A mystery German donor has handed over "miracle bags" packed with cash estimated to be worth a total of 200,000 euros ($223,910) for local causes this year, the DPA news agency reported Tuesday.
Bags, each stuffed with notes worth between 20,000 and 100,000 euros, have been appearing at a local Brunswick newspaper, the Braunschweiger Zeitung, with instructions of which local charity the money should go to.
Repairs to churches and a bureau to help crime victims are examples of causes to benefit.
The cash bags have been appearing intermittently in the north-central region since 2011, but newspaper staff estimate around 200,000 euros have been handed over this year alone, yet the donor's identity remains a mystery.
"We simply don't know, and we don't want to endanger the good deed," admitted Brunswick journalist David Mache.
The chief editor said the mystery donor has contacted the paper several times recently to hand in cash.
The latest donation, worth 100,000 euros in 200 bills and marked "Wundertuete" ('miracle bag'), was left at the newspaper's office on Monday with a request for it to be given to a local hospice.
"To make it easier for seriously ill people to die is a sign of human warmth and earns respect and recognition," was written in an attached letter with an assurance the money came from taxed income.
Employees at the nearby hospice, which has beds for 12 terminally ill patients and cares for up to 20 people per year, were delighted by the cash gift and can't stop smiling, director Petra Gottsand told broadcaster NDR after receiving the hospice's largest single donation. "It's crazy."
Now Brunswick locals are puzzled as to whether the latest flurry of donations is from the same source which has been providing the area with generous gifts since 2011.
A year ago, 100,000 euros was handed into the offices of a rival newspaper in nearby Wolfsburg with a request to build a hospice.
Between 2011 and 2013, around 250,000 euros were donated anonymously to kindergartens, soup kitchens and social projects in the region - along with a Braunschweiger Zeitung clipping to indicate the intended recipient.