Home » Entertainment » “Aktenzeichen XY … unsolved” was so political and sexist

“Aktenzeichen XY … unsolved” was so political and sexist

Do you recognize this dress (green in the story)? Scene from the first “Aktenzeichen XY” episode.photo: Screenshot zdf

In 1967, Eduard Zimmermann launched one of the most successful programs on German television. He had a very clear political program, as a documentary now shows.

17.08.2023, 14:4317.08.2023, 16:56

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He came once a month. The scary show no children were allowed to watch. The incredible horror they said from him, and our mothers also whispered to each other that they could never look at “Aktenzeichen XY … unsolved” alone, it was simply impossible, they would never dare to leave the house After that. The show was the first true crime format in the world, which took place on Friday, October 20, 1967 on ZDF.

In the award-winning documentary “Kuhlenkampff’s Shoes,” German director Regina Schilling examines the antagonism between former Nazis and Holocaust survivors in German television entertainment. Now he devotes himself to the creator and his monster in “This show is not a game: The mysterious world of Eduard Zimmermann”.

Regina Schilling, expert in the history of German television.Image: www.imago-images.de

call for the militia

Many come together: First, Konrad Adenauer founded the ZDF in 1963 as a measure against the too “leftist” ARD. Second, the 37-year-old carpenter was a more than adventurous character.

He is the illegitimate child of a 17-year-old waitress, growing up with his foster family and grandmother. In 1944 he joined the Hitler Youth, at the age of 18 he traveled as a stowaway. Sweden and work with a fake degree as a road engineer. In 1950 he went to Germany to participate in a competition for the Swedes Report is arrested by the Soviets writing about the Soviet occupation zone and sentenced to 25 years in Bautzen. After four years, the Federal Republic of Germany bought it for free and Zimmermann became a journalist. And at some point he has the idea to go on a real criminal hunt on TV.

Herr Zimmermann, simply a concerned citizen.Image: www.imago-images.de

“Aktenzeichen XY” is an open call for vigilance, for the crowd, for a shitstorm avant la lettre, for amateur investigative work and for “anonymous denunciation”, as ARD accuses Zimmermann. And collective paranoia. Zimmermann has real crimes, which have not yet been solved by the actors re-programmed, no details are forgotten, photos of real corpses and possible perpetrators are shown, the TV audience is asked to help and the show can be called, there is 1000 DM for the right tip Initially. , ZDF and the police are against it, but they catch a fraudster after the first broadcast.

Eduard Zimmermann’s switchboard.Image: Screenshot zdf

The “moral crime” inflation

Unfortunately, the scammer is just around the corner. The main case is the body of a woman found in the forest by a righteous villager. She is young, beautiful and extravagantly dressed. He is the prototype of Zimmermann’s victim: presumably self-confident, presumably on his way to pleasure and therefore very, very dead. Punished for his cockiness. The word “moral crime” occurs in “Aktenzeichen XY” more often than average.

Zimmermann cheerfully suggests a clear world order: there are well-behaved post-war German citizens and their families, who have bravely earned and earned their little bit of prosperity. In front of you are the criminals. They are always and only evil. And they never leave their families. In the case of crimes against morality in particular, nonetheless, this does not correspond to the criminal statistical facts. Also in the case of the first person to die in “Aktenzeichen XY” the murderer is the fiancé. He turned himself in to the police two years later.

The victim’s clothes are a little too sophisticated.Image: Screenshot zdf

The woman, especially the young, is a dangerous commodity in Zimmermann as soon as she leaves the house. It is safer in the scenes reenacted as a housewife. As soon as he is alone, the danger that is always male begins. In a hitchhiker, at the bar or simply when answering a stranger’s question on the road.

It’s safer at home

I think that my grandmother memorized each case, so vivid was her imagination that it was always populated by the girls who were torn by bicycles, in a car, kidnapped, raped, murdered. It made me feel like this had to happen at least every day in our area. But if at one point Zimmermann uttered the Federal Council’s Covid phrase “Please stay at home”, my grandmother would pass it to me unfiltered. “Aktenzeichen XY” created a scary atmosphere Deutschland. And on Austria and Switzerland, both of which soon joined Germany’s more successful Strassenfeger.

Tools of a sex offender.Image: Screenshot zdf

Regina Schilling shows very well how Eduard Zimmermann worked on a conservative image of society in his show, how he chose cases where he put women and homosexuals in their place, how he criticized drug use and not saw nothing of men enjoying the nightlife. , this is considered irresponsible in women.

The beautiful corpses and former Nazis

What it doesn’t show is the context of Germany’s true crime TV series and fictional TV thrillers. It is probably not entirely by chance that Germany has been considered the biggest and toughest producer of television crime thrillers in the world for decades. It was as if a great deal of national guilt could be discharged the cathartic. The showrunner behind the successful Edgar Wallace film, for example, from the famous former SS soldier and later actor Derrick Horst Tappert appeared, and behind “Derrick” (1974-1998) himself was Herbert Reinecker, born in 1914 He was the editor-in-chief of the Hitler Youth Reich magazine “Der Pimpf” and wrote propaganda war reports for the Waffen SS.

Derrick and assistant Harry in typical Munich setting.Image: www.imago-images.de

Chief Inspector Derrick determined in Munich, the location crime mainly aimed at rich, respectable people in beautiful houses. Therefore, “Derrick” can be read as a measure of ZDF against the more socially critical ARD series “Tatort” (since 1970). Like “Aktenzeichen XY”, nonetheless, “Tatort” also liked the scene of the corpse of the beautiful woman (naked) more often than average. And like “Aktenzeichen XY” it also took “Tatort” forever to come and pass the German, then it became an inflation obsession.

Schimanski (Götz George, 1984) tries to solve the problem of dead women.Image: www.imago-images.de

Invent Quotes

Until 1979, Zimmermann did his best to avoid looking for the first Nazi criminals in his show, although enough of them – and serious ones – were published for manhunts. On the other hand, in 1977 he could not wait to join the hunt for the kidnappers and murderers of the president of the German employer and former SS leader Hanns Martin Schleyer.

To support his conservative, anti-emancipation vision, as Regina Schilling is now proving, he occasionally even invents quotes from crime statistics that never existed. “Fear makes you cautious” was his credo, everything else was “ideal image”. All that the Left, the Greens, the youth and the women said at the time. The fact that Green Party politician Petra Kelly was murdered in 1992 must have been of little satisfaction to her. That it was his partner who shot him, not really.

PS: Eduard Zimmermann retired in 1997 after 30 years. More than 600 episodes have aired till date. Of the 4,952 cases presented (including 467 from Switzerland), 1,483 were resolved.

“This Show Is Not a Game: The Mysterious World of Eduard Zimmermann” by Regina Schilling is in the ZDF media library until August 31 watch without geoblocking.

#Aktenzeichen #unsolved #political #sexist

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