“The day after Alfred Herhausen was murdered, I wanted to make a film about it,” says German producer Gabriela Sperl . “Because I know the official stories we’ve heard are not true.”
This goes back to 15, Herrhausen, the chairman of the board of directors of the German financial giant Deutsche Bank, has just been blown up, his armored Mercedes-Benz hidden in the bag on the bicycle parked by the Herrhausen road pounder bomb torn to shreds, his security convoy passing by every day.
It was a shocking and accidental assassination that was quickly blamed on the Red Army Faction (RAF), a German far-left terrorist group that killed the Many prominent capitalist figures include Jürgen Ponto, president of Dresdner Bank, and Hanns Martin Schleyer, president of the German Employers Association. The RAF claimed responsibility, but the actual bomber was never found, and many details of the case have not been confirmed.
The RAF was in its “third generation” – the original members were all dead, imprisoned or at large, and young extremists were already on the move – not known for its tactics Ideas are known for an attack as complex and technically sophisticated as the Herhausen bombing, which seemed beyond their reach. Then there’s the question of goals: Herhausen is a banker, but he’s a progressive calling for debt relief for Third World countries. At the time of his killing, he had pushed through a deal negotiated with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to secretly provide the Soviet Union with 8 billion Deutschmarks In order to maintain its economic operation, in exchange for the support of the Soviet Union. Kohl and West Germany pushed for unification with Soviet-controlled East Germany in another way. Hardly the epitome of a capitalist pig bashing communism.
For years, the question of who killed Alfred Herlhausen and why has become an obsession for true crime fans in Germany and the source of many homegrown conspiracy theories. Andres Veiel’s award-winning 1993 documentary Black Box BRD about the lives of Herrhausen and Wolfgang Grams, Royal The Air Force terrorist believed to be involved in the assassination was killed in a 1993 suspicious police shootout, but he skimmed the details of the murder itself .
“There have been many attempts over the years to tell this story, but it has never been successful,” Spurr said. “But I’ve been in touch with Herrhausen’s widow for years, and finally, about 5 years ago, she said, ‘Well,’ we can do this now.”
As a result, five years later, It’s Herrhausen – The Banker and the Bomb , a brand new film that premiered at the Munich Film Festival A limited series, it won Best Miniseries this week. The jury called the four-part mystery drama an “impressive” feat of storytelling. An “authentic account” of German history combined with a “grievous narrative style”.
“It’s a story that happened at the end of . But it’s surprisingly relevant today,” says the show’s director, Pia Ster Pia Strietmann said. “Our challenge was to take this historical material and all the research that Gabriela has done, and tell this story in a contemporary way for a modern audience.”
Presented by Sperl with X-Filme Creative Pool Co-produced by (Babylon Berlin) Mystery drama stars Oliver Masucci from Look Who’s Back and Netflix’s Dark , as Herlhausen. Freemantle Processing International Sale.
Masucci talks to The Hollywood Reporter from Munich about his role as a “hero capitalist”, the dramatic power of conspiracy theories, And how the violence of that era shaped his own life.
You were born in , you Go through the period depicted in the series. How did you go through that turbulent period and the assassination of Alfred Herlhausen? 1993
I know this all too well and realize that we are not being told the truth about what happened. As far as we know, the killer has not been brought to justice as the case has not been solved. The terrorist attacks at the time were very personal to me. Gerold von Braunmühl (the senior West German diplomat) lived on the same street as my family in Bonn. His daughter is my friend. I was coming home from my parents’ restaurant – my father owned several Italian restaurants in the city – and the street was blocked. Von Braunmühl was shot, assassinated (by a member of the RAF) outside his house, in the street a few hundred feet from mine. At that moment, the world ceased to make sense to me. At that moment I swore to renounce every ideology. From that moment on, I developed a deep distrust of any ideology, political or otherwise. A deep suspicion of authority and how the world we’re told works.
In your research for this character, did you discover that there is a similarity with Alfred Herrhausen? personal connection? Do you have similarities? 1993
I think we have a lot in common. I’m also a very impatient person, eager to protest social conventions and restrictions. I want everything to happen faster and make the system better. And make it happen now. If I can quote Nietzsche, the age of the master builder is over, the age of people trying to create something new, to shape the future. We are in the age of the actor, the self-promoter. Stone by stone, people lay the foundations of ideas and structures that will last beyond their death into the future, but this era has been replaced by this phase (hopefully temporary) of populism, whether it is left-wing populism populism or right-wing populism. It doesn’t matter. But Alfred Herrhausen was a builder. He analyzed the sociopolitical processes of his time, he was aware of his responsibilities as a capitalist, and he saw capitalism as a way to make society better, rather than in itself. At some point in the process, capitalism loses its humanistic momentum and it all becomes profit. But Herhausen is still thinking about the future in innovative ways. His idea of debt relief for poor countries is about the future. It’s about creating markets in these countries, building markets so they can make money to pay their debts. It was a very big and very radical idea at the time.
To have a character like him, a heroic capitalist, in this moment when bankers and corporate executives are demonized, feels like Really aggressive.
Absolutely, absolutely! But he’s one of those who can see another point of view. It’s like the discussion these days about whether growth needs to be stopped so we can all live on less. This may be fine for rich countries, but it ignores the fact that there are many people around the world who don’t have extra money. It takes someone like Herhausen who can see another’s point of view to really make progress.
You played a lot of real people from German history – from the fictional Hitler Who in “Look” Back Radical filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder Artist Joseph Beuys in Scary Children (Joseph Beuys) Oscar nominated film ) Never look away . But the story here is based on exhaustive research of real-life Herhausen. Did that influence the way you played the role, what conclusions did you draw from this research? 1993
No, not really. I always approach my characters the same way, from their story, their character. There must be something in them, in the story, that I can relate to myself. I’m always looking for similarities to myself because I can’t play other people. I can always be myself. This role helps me learn more about a certain part of my personality. In the case of Herhausen, maybe I’m more focused on my conservative side, but at the same time my own impatience, wishing things went faster, wanting the world to be a better place.
The show is set during the Cold War, when West Germany tried to engage the Soviet Union, and Herhausen endorsed it. But shortly before production began, Russia invaded Ukraine. Does that change your perspective on this story and the history it portrays?
of course. The Cold War is about to return, and I think that’s Putin’s plan. At the time, the phrase was “Wandel durch Handel” (Transformation through trade). The idea was that if you did business with the Soviets, you could change their society and democratize Russia. After Ukraine was invaded, I told the director and producers: “Well, how can we believe that now? It’s clear that it didn’t work.” But I don’t think Herhausen was in favor of abolishing the military to denuclearize Russia threaten. I don’t think he would advocate what the German government did when they tried to secede from the US, converted military barracks into kindergartens, and said the Bundeswehr was obsolete because Russia was no longer a threat. This peace will happen naturally. Now our government finds that we have no tanks, no weapons, and we are completely dependent on the Americans for our defense. I don’t think Herhausen would be that naive.
The series offers a speculative theoretical account of what actually happened in Herhausen’s assassination, which the East German government reported to the British Crown The Air Force provided the bombs and training to carry out the assassination. They wanted Herhausen dead because they believed his support for the Soviet Union was a threat to their future, the future of East Germany. Do you believe in this theory? 1993
Yes and no. It never occurred to me that the RAF was bombing alone. To me, the 3rd Generation RAF is an organization whose business model is terrorism. It’s too weak, too disorganized — it doesn’t get along well with other far-left terrorist groups in Europe, Italy’s Red Brigades, Spain’s ETA, France’s terrorist groups — to carry out such a thing. . The bomb that killed Herhausen was something the RAF couldn’t make itself. Obviously, there are many other people involved who are interested in getting rid of Herlhausen. What’s interesting about the research they’ve done in this series is the information from the Stasi archives, as these documents are publicly available in Germany. But then, when we looked at them, there was nothing on Herhausen, even though he was being watched all the time. When we asked the Americans, the British and the Russians for information, we got these long letters saying that not only was the information top secret, but that they would take legal action against us if we continued to try to obtain the documents. Even decades later, everything about it is shrouded in layers of secrecy. This is where conspiracy theories come in. Europe has had a great tradition of making these political conspiracy thrillers, which use history to question the stories being told. The idea of conspiracy theories has become so negative and associated with extremism these days, but conspiracy theories are great for playing with our past thoughts. It’s easier to do this in America than in Germany because we’re very sensitive about our past and anything that isn’t a documentary is viewed with suspicion. But I’m an actor, and I’m interested in entertaining audiences. What we have here is an exciting and interesting paper that makes you think about the history you think you know. It’s a bit of a game, but I’m fine with it. I want people to come and play.