Was Horst Tappert a member of the SS?

Was Horst Tappert a member of the SS?

It was recently reported that German TV actor Horst Tappert (1923 - 2008) had been identified as having been a member of the Waffen SS in World War II. However, it was also reported that a German historian had said that the circumstances of his SS membership remain unclear.

What are the facts? Was he or was he not in the SS?


Yes, Horst Tappert was a member of the Waffen SS. There is no doubt of that. What historian Jan Erik Schulte may be referring to is whether he might have been "pressured or coerced" into joining the SS.

Tappert never mentioned the fact of his SS membership in public. However, unlike German author and Literature Nobel winner Günter Grass, he did not pretend to be a brave fighter against fascism while keeping quiet about his war record.

Earlier this month, Germany public TV broadcaster ZDF announced that it would not broadcast any more reruns of "Derrick", the detective series that had made Tappert famous. In the Netherlands, "public television channel Omroep MAX said it had scrapped plans to show around 20 episodes of Derrick from July." (BBC).

Tappert was an actor, but his character Inspector Derrick was the creature of Herbert Reinecker, Germany's most prolific TV screenwriter for decades. Reinecker had been a fervent Nazi from the start. He, too, was in the SS (in the same Totenkopf division as Tappert), but he also had a career as an influential propagandist, beating the drums of war from 1935 when he joined the Reich propaganda ministry right up until the last month of fighting in 1945.

The link in the paragraph above goes to a a German-language article in Die Welt from 2011 reviewing a book analyzing Reinecker's war and post-war careers. The author of the book concludes that Reinecker -- who never made a secret of having been in the SS -- remained an apologist for Nazi crimes after WW II, without being explicit about it. Episode after episode of "Derrick" and other TV shows written by Reinecker features protagonists who run afoul of the law with the best intentions.

The tragic dimension in crime was also explored by other writers such as Georges Simenon, creator of Inspector Maigret. But Reinecker's writing frequently was barely more than a coded apologetics to vicariously absolve Nazis in particular, and Germany as a nation, of historical guilt. Many episodes condemn the "dredging up of the past" -- again, without explicitly referencing Nazism or WW II, but the underlying message was nonetheless appreciated by the viewership, in a wordless kind of way.

It is unclear whether Mr. Tappert understood this. He was not known for being an intellectual. His appeal as an actor came from an understated virility and his ability to credibly represent the power of the state to catch criminals, a comforting notion to people all over the world. Yet even Tappert is said to have recoiled at playing Derrick in what was to have been the final episode of the series.

According to a 1999 report in Berliner Zeitung, that episode was to feature a photograph of the infamous ramp in the Auschwitz death camp in the service of an abstruse plot about a Ph.D. madman who induces young people to suicide by showing them scenes of great horror. Apparently, such a cynical use of the Holocaust was too much for Tappert and he refused; the episode was never produced.


Derrick (TV series)

Derrick is a German TV crime series produced between 1974 and 1998, starring Horst Tappert as Detective Chief Inspector (Kriminaloberinspektor) Stephan Derrick, and Fritz Wepper as Detective Sergeant (Kriminalhauptmeister) Harry Klein, his loyal assistant. They solve murder cases in Munich and surroundings (with three unsolved cases in total). It was produced by Telenova Film und Fernsehproduktion in association with ZDF, ORF, and SRG.

Derrick (TV series)
Created byHerbert Reinecker
StarringHorst Tappert
Fritz Wepper
Willy Schäfer
Theme music composerLes Humphries
Country of originWest Germany (1974–90)
Germany (1990–98)
Original languageGerman
No. of seasons25
No. of episodes281 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producerHelmut Ringelmann
Running time60 minutes
Release
Original networkZDF ORF SRG
Picture format4:3
Audio formatMonaural (1974-1994)
Stereo (1995-1998)
Original release20 October 1974 ( 1974-10-20 ) –
16 October 1998 ( 1998-10-16 )

Derrick is considered to be one of the most successful television programmes in German television history it was also a major international success, with the series sold in over 100 countries. [1] On 2 May 2013, ZDF announced it would no longer carry reruns of the show, after Tappert was found to have been untruthful in discussing his service in the Waffen-SS in World War II. [2]


‘Derrick' actor reportedly was SS member during war

BERLIN — Reports that the late German actor Horst Tappert, best known for his longtime role as dapper TV sleuth Stefan Derrick, served in a feared Nazi SS unit prompted at least one European broadcaster to announce Saturday that it would drop the show's reruns from its schedule.

Dutch TV station MAX pulled reruns of the show, which was produced from 1974 to 1998, after daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published documents Friday showing the actor had been in the SS during World War II.

“Derrick” was one of the most widely syndicated German TV shows, broadcast in over 100 countries including China, Australia, France and Norway.

“We are not going to honor an actor like this who has lied about his past,” Dutch public broadcaster NOS quoted MAX chairman Jan Slagter as saying.

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Tappert had spoken of his wartime service as a medic in an interview 10 years before his death in 2008. But he didn't mention that his unit was part of the elite SS Armored Infantry Regiment 1, nicknamed the “Skulls” after the emblem they wore.

The SS is known to have committed atrocities during World War II but it was unclear from the newly discovered documents whether Tappert was directly involved.

Peter Grune, a spokesman for German public broadcaster ZDF that co-produced the show's 281 episodes, said nobody at the station had known of Tappert's SS past.

“Stories like these come up now and again,” he said. “For us it's not an urgent matter because he's dead.”

The hidden history of prominent Germans' involvement in the war has become a subject of public debate again in recent years, after being largely ignored for decades.

In 2006, German Nobel literature laureate Guenter Grass admitted in an autobiography that he had been a member of the SS in the final months of the war. The revelation hurt Grass' image as one of the “moral consciences” in post-war Germany.

Earlier this year ZDF broadcast a three-part drama about the war, accompanied by a publicity campaign that urged Germans to seek out survivors of the Nazi period and ask them about the role they played at the time.


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About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”


Filmography

1950
- Doctor Praetorius

1958
- The Trapp Family in America
- Wir Wunderkinder
- Arms and the Man

1959
- The Angel Who Pawned Her Harp
- The Beautiful Adventure
- Ruf ohne Echo

1961
- Zu viele Köche
- Ein schöner Tag
- Küß mich Kätchen

1962
- Das Halstuch
- Er kann's nicht lassen
- Schneewittchen und die sieben Gaukler

1963
- Das tödliche Patent
- Zwei Whisky und ein Sofa
- Leonce und Lena

1964
- Der Aussichtsturm
- Sechs Personen suchen einen Autor

1965
- Eine reine Haut

1966
- Die Gentlemen bitten zur Kasse
- Ein Tag in Paris
- Der Kinderdieb
- Das ganz große Ding
- Der Mann aus Melbourne
- Jerry Cotton: Die Rechnung &ndash eiskalt serviert
- Four Queens for an Ace
- Der schwarze Freitag

1967
- Liebe für Liebe

1968
- Heißer Sand auf Sylt
- The Hound of Blackwood Castle
- Das Kriminalmuseum
- The Gorilla of Soho

1969
- The Man with the Glass Eye
- Seven Days Grace

1970
- Perrak

1971
- The Devil Came from Akasava
- Und Jimmy ging zum Regenbogen
- Bleib sauber
- The Captain
- She Killed in Ecstasy

1972
- Der Todesrächer von Soho
- Hoopers letzte Jagd

1973
- Eine Frau bleibt eine Frau

1974
- Plus minus null
- Derrick
- Auch ich war nur ein mittelmäßiger Schüler

1984
- Cinématon

2000
- Der Kardinal

2001
- In 80 Jahren um dies Welt

2003
- Herz ohne Krone

2004
- Derrick &ndash Die Pflicht ruft

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Popular German TV star was secretly a Nazi, documents reveal

German 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, was a member of an SS tank regiment on the Russian front, according to archive files released last month.

No-one deduced Derrick Horst Tappert (left) as a SS officer. He starred in the popular TV series Derrick as Senior Detective Stephen Derrick, the methodical dour investigator who uses his powers of deduction to unravel crimes.

"ZDF is shocked and troubled by the news that Horst Tappert was a member of the Waffen SS," spokesman Peter Bogenschuetz said. "We have no plans to broadcast any more reruns."

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

German TV star Horst Tappert at the 1997 Cannes film festival. Credit: Reuters

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."

And the southern German state of Bavaria, where the series was set, said it was 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 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.


German TV Drops Detective Show over Waffen SS Actor Revelations

German broadcaster ZDF has dropped repeat showings of a popular detective series after it emerged its late star had hidden his Waffen SS past. Archives released last month reveal Horst Tappert, who played Derrick in the show of the same name, had served in the Totenkopf panzer division.

Tappert, who died in 2008, had remained tight-lipped about his war record. According to the archives, the 19-year-old panzer grenadier was wounded on the Eastern Front in 1943.

With its motto “My Honour Is Loyalty”, the Totenkopf (skull) division became one of the most ruthless units of the Waffen SS – the combat arm of Hitler’s SS paramilitary force.

‘Shocked and troubled’

ZDF, the German public TV broadcaster, said it would not show any more repeats of the 281 episodes of Derrick, which were made between 1974 and 1998.

“ZDF is shocked and troubled by the news that Horst Tappert was a member of the Waffen SS,” spokesman Peter Bogenschuetz told AFP news agency.

“We have no plans to broadcast any more reruns.”

Generations of Germans watched the show set in Munich, with its distinctive, baggy-eyed detective. The series was popular abroad too, shown on TV screens as far afield as Russia, China and South Africa.

Reacting to the revelations, 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,” chairman Jan Slagter told Dutch national broadcaster NOS over the weekend. “We will not honour an actor who has lied over his past.”

Bavaria’s interior ministry said it was considering stripping the late actor of an honorary chief police inspector title awarded to Tappert in 1980, German media reported.

Tappert himself said of his war record only that he had served as a medic, AFP reports.

It is not the first such scandal in recent years. In 2006, another famous German, the novelist Guenther Grass, caused consternation when he revealed that he had served as a member of the Waffen SS.


Nazi Secret: Report Reveals 'Derrick' Actor Was SS Member

published 26/04/2013 at 01:55 PM

He was known far beyond Germany's borders for his portrayal of Detective Chief Inspector Stephan Derrick on television. On Friday, information emerged suggesting actor Horst Tappert served as a member of the notorious Waffen-SS and hid the fact for years.


The German television show "Derrick" was one of the most successful crime show exports in the country's history, with broadcasters in 102 countries running it in syndication over the years. It emerged on Friday that the actor who played the enormously popular television detective, Horst Tappert, had a secret. He served as a member of the SS during World War II.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Friday that Tappert was a member of an SS anti-aircraft group (SS-Flakabteilung), in Arolsen, Germany, that was under the command of the notorious Waffen-SS.

Sociologist Jörg Becker uncovered a document showing Tappert had been a member of the SS while conducting research at the German agency WASt -- which maintains records of members of the former Wehrmacht, the German military under the Nazis -- for a memoir he is writing about another person. Becker told the newspaper the document shows that Tappert became a member of the Waffen-SS as a low-level grenadier by March 1943 at the latest, at the age of 19.

Prominent Dresden-based historian Jan Erik Schulte, an expert on the history of the SS, told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the circumstances of Tappert's membership in the SS and the question of whether he was pressured or coerced to join remains unclear.

Tappert played the role of Detective Chief Inspector Stephan Derrick from 1974 to 1998. A total of 281 episodes were filmed by German public broadcaster ZDF.

Tappert's affable portrayal of Inspector Derrick, an elegant, serious and empathetic official, embodied the character of an upstanding, postwar citizen in West Germany. It also helped to make the series popular abroad and Tappert one of the country's best-known actors internationally. He died in 2008 at the age of 85. In his comments about the war period and in his later memoir, Tappert never revealed any role in the SS.


The Broken House by Horst Krüger review – the book that broke the silence

H ow do you come to terms with the guilt of what your countrymen have done? In the case of Germany between 1933 and 1945 the crimes were so unspeakable and annihilating it was hard to know where expiation could begin. But the unspeakable will only remain so until someone dares to break silence, which is Horst Krüger’s painful achievement in his memoir, The Broken House. First published in Germany in 1966, it fell out of print for decades and no wonder: the truths in it were probably too scalding for a traumatised nation to digest. Now reissued in a translation by Shaun Whiteside, the writing glowers from the page, sorrowful, disbelieving, chastened and yet not without hope.

Krüger (1919-99) grew up in the modest Berlin suburb of Eichkamp, which he revisits as a journalist in middle age after 20 years away. He seeks to understand “what it was really like” back then, poised on the edge of the abyss. He is hunting amid ghosts - a Catholic mother and a Protestant father wounded at Verdun in 1916, neither of them interested in politics. In this, they were of a piece with their Eichkamp neighbours - hard working, respectable, petty minded – and not a Nazi in sight. So when Hitler’s Reich descended on these unsuspecting people they were not only bewildered, they were delighted to be swept along by the surge of national improvement – new jobs, new motorways, new assembly halls. Even concerns about broken Jewish shop windows and looted Jewish homes were lost in the triumphal thunder of the Fatherland reborn.

Up to this point, Krüger’s story feels familiar, perhaps less compelling than other accounts of Germany’s sleepwalk into disaster, such as Sebastian Haffner’s unforgettable Defying Hitler (2002). But then a private tragedy blindsides the family and turns the narrative inside out. In March 1938, just after the Anschluss, Krüger’s sister, Ursula, is found one morning in bed, stiff and white, black blood leaking from her mouth. It transpires she has swallowed sublimate, a concentrated mercury, the two large death’s heads on the bottle grimly echoing the insignia on an SS cap. She dies 21 days later, though not before Krüger’s mother has transformed the hospital room into a Catholic shrine, a rosary wrapped around her helpless daughter’s clasped hands “like a tender manacle”. The subsequent invasion of the house by relatives becomes a “dance of death”, climaxing in a grotesque set piece worthy of Fassbinder. The family’s despair, briefly smothered by the odour of sanctimony and funeral-baked meats, breaks out when Krüger surprises the assembled guests by vomiting over the tablecloth.

The subtle accretion of detail here – the skull on the poison bottle, the SS cap, the timing of the Nazi annexation of Austria – dovetails so ominously with the domestic mood that one feels unsure if Ursula’s self-destruction was an act of protest or escape. “There was so much fear in you and you were always alone,” her brother writes, trying to make sense of it. Her death is the mysterious spell under which the rest of The Broken House plays out, gradually encompassing another, slower demise – the death of illusions. Krüger recalls a friend of his youth, Wanja, half-Russian, half-Jewish, an outsider whose unruly life force bewitched him as a student. Twenty-two years later, the author discovers by chance that Wanja is still alive and arranges a reunion in East Berlin. It’s a mistake. His old friend is now a communist, a true believer, all his idiosyncratic edges knocked off. They have both been mugged by the times: “We were sired by beaten, clueless fathers and our mothers were awkward and loveless.”

Krüger’s youthful idealism suffers another death blow when he is arrested for distributing letters critical of the regime. Interrogated and imprisoned for months on a charge of high treason, he awaits the end. By a mere whim of the Nazi judiciary he’s eventually released. His next escape, in the ruins of Germany in 1945, will prove even more miraculous.

Horst Krüger, who died in 1999.

One hopes for an ending to match its chronicle of lost illusions and the book magnificently delivers. In February 1964, Krüger attended the Auschwitz trial in Frankfurt, at a time when the German public regarded the Holocaust with indifference bordering on irritation. But that was before they learned what actually happened at Auschwitz. Twenty-two defendants sit in the courtroom, while the author listens to the evidence unfold in a trance of horror. When a witness mentions the word “Sanka” he is brought up short. Sanka was the ambulance van Krüger drove as a 22-year-old conscript in Smolensk, carrying the wounded to hospital. But what if he’d been detailed to Auschwitz instead, where Sankas were used as vans of murder? He admits that in the frenzy of killing he would have been like everyone else - “closed my eyes and pretended for a while that I didn’t notice anything”.

When a journalist friend points out a white-haired, immaculately suited man at ease during a courtroom adjournment, it’s a shock to the author (and to us) that this businessman from Hamburg was formerly adjutant to the camp commandant, Rudolf Höss, accused of securing Zyklon-B and overseeing transports to the gas chambers. How can such “harmless-looking” men be mass murderers? In the face of the indecipherable one might shrug in despair, retreat into bewildered silence. Or one might, like Horst Krüger, bear brave witness and warn one’s countrymen to be vigilant against the “darkness” within: “That Hitler, I think, he’s going to be staying with us – for our whole lives.”


'Shocked and troubled'

ZDF, the German public TV broadcaster, said it would not show any more repeats of the 281 episodes of Derrick, which were made between 1974 and 1998.

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

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

Generations of Germans watched the show set in Munich, with its distinctive, baggy-eyed detective.

The series was popular abroad too, shown on TV screens as far afield as Russia, China and South Africa.

Reacting to the revelations, 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," chairman Jan Slagter told Dutch national broadcaster NOS over the weekend. "We will not honour an actor who has lied over his past."

Bavaria's interior ministry said it was considering stripping the late actor of an honorary chief police inspector title awarded to Tappert in 1980, German media reported.

Tappert himself said of his war record only that he had served as a medic, AFP reports.

It is not the first such scandal in recent years. In 2006, another famous German, the novelist Guenther Grass, caused consternation when he revealed that he had served as a member of the Waffen SS.


Watch the video: Horst Tappert im Restaurant