90 minutes with the former largest brothel owner in southern Germany

The decision was made on Boxing Day: life or death

Peter Häberle is a true native of Baden-Württemberg. Hardworking, innovative, successful. In his youth, he had some Christian leanings and even played in a trombone choir.

At the age of 26, he moves to Gronau in North Rhine-Westphalia. The high-flyer opens a textile department store and in just two years adds 15 more stores. Success all along the line. The money flows and allows him to enter high society. Receptions and celebrations. Peter, of course, in the front row. Best contacts in politics and business. And quickly got used to the expensive alcoholic beverages. In front of the door of his villa are four cars of the extra class. Sometimes there are a few more. Money? Not an issue. On weekends, he competes in Formula Vee as an amateur racer. Peter Häberle in the fast lane. He has no time for his two children and rarely for his wife.

In 1976, the successful entrepreneur sells his textile empire. After all, he knows how to increase revenue even faster. He moves to Pforzheim and founds a real estate company. 400 employees in its own administrative complex buy and sell. They manage properties and invest that it is a pure joy. The network includes a private construction company that is making mighty profits. Peter Häberle’s advertising slogan is: “Save taxes, build assets. With no equity!” Who doesn’t want that?

He becomes the president of the Pforzheim soccer club, and with Peter as a patron of the arts, expensive players are bought. Under his direction, the club rises several times and reaches the upper league.

His many millions want to be well invested. Peter Häberle founds an investment firm. For this purpose, he hires a banker, a tax advisor and a lawyer. It is necessary to multiply the existing funds. In 1992, he establishes an AG in Switzerland and millions flow across the border into safe accounts. Its bank-like operations have long been outside the bounds of legality, especially since 80% of its finances are black money.

In 1994 Peter enters the red light milieu. Soon he has three large brothels in Stuttgart, Heilbronn and Heidelberg. Day after day, 100 DM per room go to him and since he has a lot of rooms, Peter makes money like in a picture book. He doesn’t even notice that money has long since taken over him and that he is running like a man possessed on the hamster wheel.

He followed capital transactions abroad with only one eye. When he finally hears that 400 million DM are being juggled back and forth, he suddenly gets cold feet. He wants to get out of this business. But how?

In 1995, he was caught in the crosshairs of the banking supervisory authorities. The requirement of the high lords is: “Apply for a banking license or pay back all investors their money – within six months. Peter Häberle neither wants the one, nor can he do the other. After a self-disclosure, police officers with submachine guns, judges and law enforcement officers are suddenly standing first in his private home, then in his company headquarters. That same evening, he is taken into custody on suspicion of collusion.

His life resembles a fall into the bottomless pit. The money is gone, the reputation ruined and his radius of action is limited to a small barred cell. Interrogations in court follow. After filing for bankruptcy, a bankruptcy trustee squanders his property. The months pass. The sentence is for 5 years. For Peter, these are dark weeks without hope. The former member of fine society has now landed at the bottom. Abandoned and sold. God? No, faith is useless, Peter thinks. Instead, he prepares his suicide. Through secret channels he procures 60 strong sleeping pills. As a doctor later attests, the dose would have been enough to send two elephants to kingdom come.

On Christmas Day 1996, his wife, son with daughter-in-law and four-year-old grandson are allowed to visit. They know nothing about the planned suicide in the evening. The little grandson paints a picture in the cell. Actually, it’s more of a tickle. Some lines with a black dot.

“Why don’t you tell Grandpa what the dark spot means?” – “The little pants answers: “The spot is a seed for new life! At that moment, something completely inexplicable happens. Peter has an apparition. A figure of light stands before him and he knows without any doubt that he has just come face to face with the risen Jesus Christ. A deep peace fills his heart. A calm that is not of this world floods his cell.

The conversion experience is real. The closeness of God helps him to get through the years of imprisonment. Bible reading and prayer become his lifeline in prison. Peter even organizes a prisoner choir that intones Christian songs. On February 20, 2000, the real estate mogul, multimillionaire, and superlative doer is released to go home destitute.

“Peter,” I ask him at the end of our conversation, “what statement would you make about your life looking back?” – The 83-year-old thinks for a moment and answers thoughtfully: “I wasted 30 years. All my money had no real value before God. I was trapped and bound. I found my freedom only through Jesus Christ!”/KDJ

Addendum: Peter and Elke Häberle met Sabine Teichert, the head of our nursing service, a few months ago. They are currently spending a week in Curahuasi to get to know Diospi Suyana.

Peter Häberle (white hair) and his wife Elke sit in the front row at the morning service.
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