It is probably the longest series of unsolved murders in postwar German history: Yugoslav agents liquidated at least 29 people in the Federal Republic during the Cold War. The victims were mainly exiled Croats who were working against the regime back in their homeland. “Murder in Tito’s Name – Secret Hit Squads in Germany,” the first German TV documentary on a subject that remains little known in spite of its monstrous scope, first airs on ARD on September 30 in German, first airing in English is scheduled on Deutsche Welle, October 16.
A year’s research has resulted in a 45-minute film containing tense scenes, exclusive revelations and very emotional moments, jointly produced by Bavarian TV’s “Kontrovers extra” team and Deutsche Welle. Authors Philip Grüll and Frank Hofmann have managed to track down a man who heads the German authorities’ list of most wanted criminals for murders in the Federal Republic. He still lives completely free and fearless of prosecution in Bosnia. In addition, a former high-ranking Yugoslav agent candidly told them how he helped to organize terrorist attacks in Germany.
Roberts Zagajski’s father was murdered in 1983 in Munich, and his search for the truth forms the film’s leitmotiv. During the making of the film, he finds out who had been spying on his father. The authors catch on film how they confront one agent living in the town of Fürth with explosive secret police files. The documents show that the man possessed numerous weapons and collected detailed information about the victims’ habits shortly before the attacks.
Ex-Interior Minister Gerhart Baum and Klaus von Dohnanyi, former senior official in the Foreign Office, are the first former members of the West German government to publicly admit that Bonn was already fully aware that the Yugoslav secret service was committing murders in Germany at the end of the 70s. But they were not discussed in public to avoid angering the leaders of a strategically important country during the Cold War.
At the end of the film Robert Zagajski watches in agitation as the former Yugoslav intelligence chief is extradited to Germany and arrested by police at Munich Airport. This man and another high-ranking former intelligence official will appear in court in Munich on October 17, accused of aiding and abetting the murder of an exiled Croat in Wolfratshausen. This could mark the first step in finally coming to terms with an unprecedented crime spree decades after it happened.
ARD: Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 00:20 clock (October 1st)
Bayerischer Rundfunk: Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 21.00 CET (“Kontrovers extra”)
Deutsche Welle: Thursday, October 16, 2014, 22:15 UTC (DW) further broadcast varies according to world region