Who is the richest homeless

In the corridors she was called "the Countess". Because she always sounded so educated when she said something. She didn't talk much, though. Most of the time she sat in her room and read the newspaper, which not so many others did here. If someone asked her on the street where she lived, Betia M. said she was staying with the Good Templars. That sounded better than a homeless shelter.

The Eisenstrasse behind Düsseldorf Central Station is something like the border between that part of the Oberbilk district that has already been gentrified a bit, where new bars and shops have moved into the old houses. There are many beautiful old buildings in Eisenstraße with large amounts of dog droppings in front of them, which in turn can be used as an indicator that this is a more traditional train station area. An area where people are washed up who have fallen from the edge of society into the abyss.

Here Betia M. walked through the streets with her rollator for many years, wearing a headscarf, taking her steps slowly. In the evening she pushed her little cart into an entrance, in front of which the Order of the Good Templars has put a nice sign, but which mainly accommodates homeless people in small rooms. Homeless people like Betia M., who in the end had no one else in life, no family, no friends. As long as she was alive, there weren't many who were interested in her life. And the other way around it was similar, Betia M. was not interested in the lives of others. But now many want to know why she led this life in a homeless shelter - although she could have otherwise. At least she had the money.

A little treasure that Betia M. hadn't told anyone about

Betia M. died at the end of July in a Düsseldorf hospital, ultimately of her age, she was 83 years old. For the past three years she had lived with the Guttemplern on a few square meters, with a shared kitchen and bathroom in the hallway. And after her death there was this big surprise: Your social worker discovered a bag with 45,000 euros and 6,648 dollars. A little treasure that Betia M. hadn't told anyone about. Since then, the deceased has been considered the richest homeless person in Germany and a great mystery at that. We haven't had a case like this before, according to the local court that deals with the estate.

The estate, that is the money, a little jewelry - and three flower pots that are now in the office of the social workers who take care of the homeless. And who are now constantly asked who the lady was now. "She was very educated," says her social worker, who wants to remain anonymous. Betia M. came from the Republic of Moldova and spoke a German that was not always easy to understand, that was probably preserved there for many centuries and that had already fallen from the time when Betia M. came to Germany 25 years ago.

"After a doctor's visit, she couldn't always say what she had in German. But she knew the diagnosis in Latin," says the social worker. The old lady used to work in the health service, led a normal life, as far as you can tell. The break was probably the death of her husband. Betia M. now lived alone, was alone, became difficult and ended up on the street - an evacuated life.

She was wandering around, at the age of 80, employees of the public order office took her to the accommodation on Eisenstrasse. This is actually only intended for the transition, after a while the homeless should be accommodated where they best fit: in their own apartment, in a care facility or in a nursing home. The latter would have been the best, says Betia M.'s social worker. Because the old lady kept falling and was only partially able to take care of herself. "But if someone doesn't want to take part, we don't stand a chance. She wanted to keep her independence," says the social worker.

No visit, hardly any contact with roommates

"Everyone in Germany has the right to an apartment," says Roland Buschhausen, head of the social welfare office. But also the right to determine where this roof is. Betia M. wanted to stay in the homeless shelter, which became a permanent home. She did not get any visitors there and had hardly any contact with other residents.

Once, the social worker says, she asked to write to her son, who lives in the United States. "When clients feel that they don't have much longer to live, many ask us to contact the original family again." But the son didn't want any more contact. The estate administrator has now written to him again to arrange the inheritance. But there will probably not be much left of this: Betia M. has received basic security, plus the costs for accommodation and care services, which the state now wants to have back. That will eat up the roughly 50,000 euros, of which no one can say where they actually come from.

Some people have goals in life but don't have the money for them. Betia M. had money, but maybe no more goals for which she could have used it.