German TV pulls show after SS scandal

2013-05-02 18:40
Berlin - German public broadcaster ZDF said on Thursday it would stop showing reruns of the wildly popular television crime show Derrick after it emerged that its late star had belonged to Hitler's notorious Waffen SS.

Horst Tappert, who played the beloved baggy-eyed detective from 1974 to 1998 in a programme that ran in more than 100 countries, was a member of an SS tank regiment on the Russian front, according to archive files released last month.

"ZDF is shocked and troubled by the news that Horst Tappert was a member of the Waffen SS," spokesperon Peter Bogenschuetz told AFP.

"We have no plans to broadcast any more reruns."

'I was shocked by the news'

ZDF produced 280 episodes of the show, which became must-see television for generations of post-war Germans. The most recent rerun had appeared on ZDF on 1 April.

Military archives uncovered by a researcher showed Tappert joined the Waffen SS at the latest in 1943 when he was 20.

Tappert, who died in 2008, was tight-lipped about his wartime past in interviews and his memoirs, saying only that he had served as a medic before being taken prisoner at the end of the war.

Meanwhile Dutch public television channel Omroep MAX said it had scrapped plans to show around 20 episodes of Derrick from July.

"I was shocked by the news, you don't expect something like that," Omroep MAX chairman Jan Slagter told national broadcaster NOS over the weekend.

"We will not honour an actor who has lied over his past."

Germans kept quiet

And the southern German state of Bavaria, where the series was set, said it was weighing rescinding Tappert's title of "honourary detective of the Bavarian police", awarded to the actor in 1980.

"If we had known at the time of Horst Tappert's possible past with the Waffen SS, we would never have approved the request" for the honour, an interior ministry spokesman said.

Several prominent Germans kept quiet after the war about their service in the Waffen SS, an elite corps responsible for some of the Nazis' worst atrocities.

A Nobel literature laureate, Gunter Grass, saw his substantial moral authority undermined by his admission in 2006, six decades after World War II, that he had been a member of the Waffen SS as a 17-year-old.


  • Pierre Nortje - 2013-05-02 19:16

    SS = ANC = no difference

      Gawie Gorrel - 2013-05-02 20:32

      @Odirle If it was not for Apartheid you and those like you would not have had the opportunity to now blame your shortcomings and have the opportunity to rape the country of millions. You would have been nowhere without that advantage.

      Leslie Erasmus - 2013-05-02 20:54

      Oderile,your comment aimed at black or white racists?

      Jomar De Lange - 2013-05-02 22:54

      Oh for f-sake.

      James Blacksmith - 2013-05-03 00:12

      Oderile, The first 'Apartheid' laws started in 1894 with the Natal Legislative Assembly Bill. There were no 'Afrikaners' around there... If you wanted the SS in Africa, there would not be a black person in sight today. They killed over 6 million Jews. More Afrikaner woman and children died in the concentration camps to Britain than blacks died to apartheid. We could all harp on about the past, but it achieves little. Forgive and forget, I know I have.

      HenriLeRiche - 2013-05-03 10:34

      @Odirile Seemise - Sorry matey but the Nats were not that close to the Nazis. Social "Democrats" like the Nazis are closer to the ANC. More like ANC supporters are like the old Nazi's. Ignorant as hell, Arrogant as loud can be. And of course, the love to reinvent the wheel, including history. The ANC don't even commemorate our brave soldiers that fought against Hitler in WW1 and WW2??? As if the ANC would be in government today was it not for their sacrifices....the ANC keeps quiet about...and it's supporters ignorant. Hitler indeed, would have made sure the ANC would not get into power, and would have stopped the NAT's from doing it think carefully what you say about who is being "ignorant"...

      Odirile Seemise - 2013-05-03 12:22

      HenriLeRiche.... arrogant and ignorant, from your response it reads like that's you mate. The Nazi a social democrat like the ANC?? Nothing you wrote makes sense or any truth to it that relates to my response. It's Odirile not Oderile, what you wrote has nothing to do with my name, both of you. James can never be Jamse right, you fail in even getting the name!

  • steve.dupreez - 2013-05-02 19:21

    Oh please Germany, really?? This happened almost 70 years ago.......... a bit late to get onto the high horse now, isn't it? It's like ANC blaming apartheid for everything!

      Squeegee Pilot - 2013-05-02 19:45

      This would be like discovering our president was a criminal and then firing him... O wait...

      Marc-Andre Daniels - 2013-05-02 20:21

      Some actions just have no moral statute of limitation. When we start deciding certain actions are OK after a certain period of time, we're being hypocrites about the Holocaust, the 9/11 attacks, Apartheid, the genocide in the African central lakes district, America's invasion of foreign sovereign states, state-sponsored murder by the USA and Israel, the MIddle East Conflict, human rights abuses in fact, about every moral issue we regularly outrage about! By that token, so what's so wrong about what the ANC is doing to this country? In 20 years from now, we'll just shrug our shoulders and say, 'Ag, what the hell, that was more than 20 years ago!" And right there's our problem: we're not steadfast in our beliefs. Our sense of morality flies like a flag in the wind: it follows whichever direction the wind blows strongest in!

  • Jurgen Eksteen - 2013-05-02 19:26

    The fact that he SURVIVED the Russian-front and returned is enough reason to let it be. Most of the German people supported the Nazi's in WII so why the holier than though hypocritical reaction? (btw I don't support Nazi'sm or racism for that matter ... just to be clear before the trolls start decending upon my post)

      Matthew Jones - 2013-05-03 08:56

      Agreed. This actor(or his family,if he's not alive) should be receiving a public apology for this insult.

  • Nicholas Van Graan - 2013-05-02 19:50

    Sounds to me like another case of manufactured "outrage" and "shock". Being accused or linked to nazism is a bit like being accused of racism in South Africa. Thereafter you have to lay in on thick to prove otherwise. The Germans will never be allowed to get over their Nazi past!

      Marc-Andre Daniels - 2013-05-02 20:32

      ...And neither should they (or we, for that matter!). That histoy has a valuable lesson for all of Mankind. It's not just a "German" story; it's a human tale of shame that has been allowed to repeat itself in the Great Lakes region of Africa; in Bosnia-Herzegovina; in Georgia in the Caucasion region in Central Europe, in South Africa during Apartheid and again during our own "Xenophobia" episode...'Doomed is he who forgets (or in this case, denies) history to repeat it'! (I forget who said that....).

      Jack Frost - 2013-05-02 22:09

      I don't recall Germany dropping TWO nuclear bombs on civilians, do you?

  • Richardnealejohn Neale Underwood - 2013-05-02 19:52

    I agree with Steve. People are really very stupid .This man was twenty when he signed up and was posted to his regiment in his cause he fought for the feuerer like all the others who fought for anything ,look at our situation in this country today ,where did it get anyone? The whole world seems to have gone to hell anyway .Man cannot rule man ,this has been amply proven .The man was a brilliant actor, now fools are going to deny others the opportunity to see exellence in action.

  • Matt Cumming - 2013-05-02 19:58

    a tank regiment? thats a bit unfair in a Country with conscription

  • Vark Nek - 2013-05-02 20:06

    Damn, there goes my chance of becoming a TV actor. I was a barman on the border. Fought many hangovers.

  • Michael Ian Wright - 2013-05-02 20:18


  • John Morreira - 2013-05-02 20:57

    The Waffen or "armed" SS were in fact, an Extremely effective elite fighting force. While they were indeed, responsible for numerous atrocities.They fought with great valor and tenacity. And must not be confused, with the SS-TotenkopfverbÀnde (SS-TV) who ran the concentration camps.

  • Garrick Dunstan - 2013-05-02 22:12

    Yeah you've got a valid point there jack

  • Garrick Dunstan - 2013-05-02 22:15

    Exactly. We all have pasts and not all of them are squeeky clean, during apartheid young men were conscripted to defend that regime often against their will or face several years in prison for objecting, does that make those men now bad folk?

  • James Blacksmith - 2013-05-03 00:15

    This is stupid. Would Derek have been able to conscientiously object? No, he would have been shot on the spot. The war is over, move on.

  • Brent Bartis - 2013-05-03 08:32

    it was an excellent series. what a shock. is this response appropriate?

  • Klipkop de Groote - 2013-05-03 09:01

    What about Hugo Boss that designed the SS and other Nazi uniforms? Sure he is dead but the brand is still here..

  • Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg - 2013-05-03 12:34

    No, they won't show reruns but when he was alive they showered every honour on him they could find. His war record could have been easily traced but no one ever would have thought that he could have done any thing sinister.

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