30 minutes with the Secretary
By Ralph Kratzer………
To fill up our category “Friends Pages” on our website tfrnorthcyprus.wordpress.com, bit by bit I have decided to interview members of the TFR on a regular basis and to publish these interviews.
So don´t be astonished if I come to you one day with a request for an interview. I promise, you won´t be interrogated, only harmless questions about the country you come from and a little bit about your life.
Today I start this planned series of interviews with our member Adolf Kohn, my predecessor as Secretary of TFR.
Here we go:
Ralph – Adolf, the first question I have is: where you were born?
Adolf – I was born in Saarburg, which is between Trier and Saarbrücken. It’s in the very western part of Germany.
Ralph – You grew up there?
Adolf – I went to school there, later I went to the High School in Trier and did my A-levels.
Ralph – Did you go to University after that?
Adolf – Yes, I went to the University in Bonn but I did not like it. After my military service in Koblenz I started an apprenticeship in a Bank. I graduated as a banker and went afterwards to Luxembourg to work for different banks there. I ended up as a banking expert and in 1989 I went to San Diego in California, United States, to re-organize a Brokerage Firm there. It should have been a stay of 1 year but in the end it was almost 20 years. After 3 years staying there I founded my own little Brokerage Firm, but difficulties in this sector for me as a foreigner led me to the decision to be a pawnbroker company and I operated it for 13 years.
In these times I met a Turkish Cypriot in the States just by chance and this man persuaded me to visit the island. So in the year 2000 I came here for the first time. Later on I came every year on vacation. A friend of mine, Hussein, convinced me to sell everything in the USA and to emigrate to North Cyprus in 2008. After a while being a volunteer for Animal Rescue I bought the Amanda´s Auction House in 2009.
Ralph – This will be one of my later questions. I heard, you have not only a German passport but an American one as well. How did that come about?
Adolf – I had a Green Card for the USA and my girlfriend had one as well, but she lost hers. So we went to our Immigration Solicitor to get a new one, but he said: You are here for such a long time now. Instead of applying for another Green Card you can also apply for an American passport. This is what we did.
Ralph – You wanted to stay in the United States for ever at that time?
Adolf – Yes and no! The advantage of a passport was that you are free to travel around which is not possible with the Green Card, because if you leave the country for more than 6 months you lose it.
Ralph – And what was the final reason to then leave the USA and come to Cyprus?
Adolf – After nine-eleven 2001 (terrorist attack World Trade Center) life in the States changed. There was a kind of freedom loss for the people and nothing was like it was before.
Ralph – Did your business go down after 9/11?
Adolf – No, but the whole social life became worse. For example when you entered the country after a stay abroad they asked you, very rudely, where do you come from, what have you done there, how long did you stay there? I mean, when I arrive in Germany nobody asks me these kind of questions.
Ralph – So, the quality of life decreased in the USA?
Adolf – Yes.
Ralph – O.K. Back to Cyprus. What moved you in the business with Amanda´s Auction?
Adolf – Ömer, Amanda´s husband at that time – Amanda died 2 ½ years ago – asked me one day if I would be interested to buy the company. My simple answer was: if the price is o.k.! After a few weeks the talks became more serious and one day we were in agreement. I became major shareholder and Ömer stayed as my business partner.
Ralph – Another question. You are now together with your Egyptian girlfriend Nirwana. How did it come to that?
Adolf – (laughing) Nirwana, living in South Cyprus, was a customer of the auction house before. One day in 2010 she came to an auction with a female friend of hers and told us she would like to visit a casino later for a little bit of gambling. Ömer said to me: let’s meet the girls for a cup of coffee there. This is what we did. Nirwana was a widow for 6 years at that time and I was single too, so we arranged another date one week later…… the rest is history!
Ralph – You both are living now in Uwe Vandieken´s house. Did you settle already?
Adolf – Everything is nearly finished now, including a new kitchen. We cleaned up the garden as well. Let´s see!
Ralph – Now the inevitable question: will there be another garden party in the future in famous Uwe´s garden“? A lot of members did enjoy it in the past.
Adolf – Yes, it is planned. But as we don´t have workers like Uwe did we will need some assistance of the members to realize it.
Ralph – Well, coming back to the auction. If people want to sell or buy something, how does it work?
Adolf – One day a month, always the first Sunday, there is an auction in our facilities in Ozanköy from 10 am to 3 pm. The Saturday before is viewing from 10 am to 4 pm. We pause auction-wise only in the hot summer months July, August and sometimes September. During the week the store is open like a shop and people can buy apart from the auction if they accept the price the seller wants. Opening hours are 10 am to 4 pm in winter and 10 am to 2 pm in summer. Sundays and Wednesdays we are closed. Goods for sale can also be brought in during the opening hours. Sellers pay 15% commission, buyers in the auction pay a 14% hammer charge plus VAT, so let’s say about 16% in total. Whatever is bought during the auction should be picked up and paid on Tuesdays. All prices are in Lira.
Ralph – What makes no sense to bring to the auction?
Adolf – Broken electronic devices are of no sense, because to repair them costs more money than to buy new ones. Used clothes as well make no sense to be auctioned. Otherwise everything is possible.
Ralph – Ok. Last question: are you satisfied with your business?
Adolf – It could always be a little more, but the business pays its bills. Somebody said to me: if you want to make a million over here you have to bring 2 million with you!
To read more of The Foreign Residents in the TRNC click here