SS role is death knell for Derrick
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