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Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 15:08 UK

Dead German poet gets TV demands

Friedrich Schiller
Friedrich Schiller is one of Germany's favourite poets

The celebrated German poet Friedrich Schiller, dead for more than 200 years, has been sent reminders that he should pay his TV and radio licence fee.

The German fee collection agency, GEZ, mistakenly sent letters to "Mr Friedrich Schiller" - which arrived at a primary school bearing his name.

The author of Ode to Joy had been registered with GEZ as a householder.

With the annual fee of about 200 euros (157) unpaid since 1805 Schiller would owe more than 40,000 euros.

The reminders came to the Friedrich Schiller Primary School in the eastern town of Weigsdorf-Koeblitz.

GEZ issued an apology, admitting its mistake.

"We have to deal with such a huge amount of data, that something like this can happen, and the name Friedrich Schiller is not so unusual that it stood out as strange," a GEZ spokeswoman said.

The reminders came despite the fact that the headteacher had written to GEZ stating that "the addressee is no longer in a position to listen to the radio or watch television".

Schiller is one of Germany's best-known poets and playwrights. His dramas The Robbers and William Tell are among the German classics.

His Ode to Joy was set to music by Beethoven in his Ninth Symphony.



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