The balance of the hunters' table that evening is quite civilized: one wine spritzer, one mineral water, two light beer, five wheat beer, three wheat beer.
Franziska Köpke (all names except Jürgen Kölbls have been changed), the 50-year-old waitress at the Richter brewery, has already cashed in, her wallet and apron have long since been stored in the drawers of the counter. Quitting time. The cleaning lady will put the chairs up tomorrow morning. It is shortly before midnight when she sits down at the regular table with the hunters.
This alabaster box sits on the blue tablecloth. There is gold writing on it, it is square. Kurt Schwabl, a 49-year-old driver, always takes out new jewelry from it and shows it to his friends at the table. Some of the price tags are still attached. 390 marks. 540 marks. Rings and ear studs are put on on a trial basis, examined and discussed. It is unclear where the jewelry comes from. But Schwabl wants to get rid of him; he praises him as the perfect Christmas present for the wives of the five men at the hunters' table.
It is November 17, 1989, a Friday evening. The “Tagesschau” reports that Hans Modrow, the new – and as will soon become clear, the last – chairman of the GDR’s Council of Ministers, clearly rejects the “unrealistic and dangerous speculations about reunification”. Boris Becker played against his arch rival Stefan Edberg again in the evening.
If the windows weren't covered with thick, black and white patterned fabric curtains, the hunters at the regulars' table could see from inside, past the decorated miniature Christmas tree, to the market square in the small community of Laaber in the Regensburg district.
When the St. James parish church struck midnight, two strangers opened the two double doors to the dining room. One is blonde, wears a leather jacket and is slim. The other has dark hair. Stable build, wearing a ski sweater with white stars on top.
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