It is good news for the Cologne Zoo: the Zoological Garden will receive considerable sums of money over the years from the inheritance of a US citizen who was born in Cologne. The woman and her Jewish husband had experienced terrible things in Germany during World War II.
The Cologne Zoo has received a rare blessing: The 96-year-old US citizen Elizabeth Reichert, who died last year, left the zoo around 26 million dollars (a good 24.5 million euros), as the zoo in the cathedral city announced. Reichert and her husband, who died in 1998, considered the zoo out of gratitude to the city of Cologne and because of their love for animals.
Accordingly, the money was put into a foundation. The zoo now receives annual dividends from this. The first payment of $700,000 has already been received. Future payments could sometimes be even higher - up to the equivalent of one and a half million euros.
"With the dividends, we are securing significant additional income for the zoo," explained Zoo Director Christopher Landsberg. On Twitter, the zoo shares a picture of him with Reichert while he was alive. The founding of the foundation also ensures that the zoo can benefit from this heritage over a "very long period of time" and for "many generations to come," it said.
According to the announcement, the donor Elizabeth Reichert, who died in 2022, was born in Cologne. She emigrated to the United States after World War II with her Jewish husband Arnulf Reichert. Both survived the war in Germany thanks to helpers from Cologne who would have offered Arnulf Reichert hiding places.
The couple later set up their own pet wholesale business in the USA. Elizabeth Reichert died in mid-February 2022. She had wanted the inherited money to flow exclusively into the further development of the zoo's animal husbandry.