SS role is death knell for Der­rick

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

GER­MANY’S pub­lic broad­caster ZDF will stop show­ing re­runs of the wildly pop­u­lar tele­vi­sion crime show Der­rick af­ter it emerged that its late star be­longed to Hitler’s no­to­ri­ous Waf­fen SS.

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

‘‘ZDF is shocked and trou­bled by the news that Horst Tap­pert was a mem­ber of the Waf­fen SS,’’ says spokesman Peter Bo­gen­schuetz. ‘‘We have no plans to broad­cast any more re­runs.’’ Mil­i­tary ar­chives show 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 says it has 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 tells national broad­caster NOS.

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

The south­ern Ger­man state of Bavaria, where the se­ries is set, says it is weigh­ing re­scind­ing Tap­pert’s ti­tle of hon­orary 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 says.

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.

They in­cluded No­bel lit­er­a­ture lau­re­ate Gunter Grass, who 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.


Ger­man ac­tor Horst Tap­pert as de­tec­tive Stephan Der­rick in a scene from

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