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Death of an eccentric

Oct 06, 2014
Klaus Zapf, the German millionaire, founder and co-owner of moving company Zapf Umzuge in Germany died unexpectedly of a heart attack on 20 August, 2014 while on honeymoon with his third wife. He was 62.

Mr. Zapf founded his company in 1975 and built it up to include 14 locations, 600 employees and 60,000 customers per year.  However he never drove a truck himself as he had no driving licence.


Klaus Zapf was a political man, who made no secret of his convictions and ensured that his business activities were characterised by his social responsibility. Although he was a millionaire he paid himself only just enough to live and heavily criticised rich people in the country as being ‘a gang of irresponsible freeloaders’.


In line with his principles he lived well below his means in a small flat and was well known for his money-saving schemes such as, shopping for bargains in supermarkets, returning empty bottles and taking advantage of free newspapers. He is reported to have lived on around euro 300 a month.  "I don't need money. It just makes us unequal," he is reported to have said.


He looked like a tramp with his long beard and ragged exterior.  When the Berlin Wall came down he is reported to have predicted that the capital would move from Bonn to Berlin, leading him to set up a depot there and get the lion's share of the moving business.


The Board of Directors and the entire staff mourn the loss of the man and entrepreneur.  “We will honour his legacy and never forget him,” they said.



Photos: Klaus Zapf, millionaire who lived on 300 euros a month.

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