A Perfect Crime (2020): Season 1, Episode 3 - Occupier - full transcript

Questions arise about the motivation behind the assassination of Rohwedder and whether or not it was the RAF or former Stasi officers.

From the ruins risen newly

To the future turned, we stand

Let us serve your good wealth truly

Germany, our fatherland

Triumph over bygone sorrow

Can in unity be won

For we shall attain a tomorrow

When over our Germany

There is a shining sun

There is a shining sun

Stasi go home!

We didn't think the GDR
would ever cease to exist.

We didn't see it coming.

I realized it was possible only later.

The media tell us

the RAF murdered Rohwedder,
the head of the Treuhand.

However, after considering
the execution, its presumed planning,

and ideological background,
this assumption seems erroneous.

On the other hand,
there are many indications

that the assassinations
were planned and executed

by the remnants of the East German
Ministry of State Security,

known as the Stasi,
which was still operational at the time.

In the Rohwedder case,
I see only one possibility:

I see that this was carried out
by dissatisfied citizens

of the former GDR.

I am absolutely certain of that.

These people must have had
excellent military training,

including training necessary for a sniper.

I see this as a revenge killing.

Is this really possible
or highly unlikely?

When it comes to the Stasi,
no evil is out of the question.



The German Reich!

Nobody has any intention
of building a wall.

West and East Germany, a divided nation.

Unity and justice and freedom…

Red Army Faction...

Insane attacks by barbaric terrorists...


Risen from ruins…

Tear down this wall!

Our fatherland, reunited.

Flourish, German fatherland


Mr. Rohwedder has been killed.
What are your thoughts?

Has he? That's news to me.

Haven't listened to the news today yet.

-You haven't heard?

He was the head of the Treuhand. Do you…?

Oh, well…

I guess they had their reasons.

I can't blame them.

If I had the chance,
I'd take out a few more.

We've never been screwed like this before!

I think the West German government
should have realized long ago

that this is no way to run their politics.

Perhaps this will make them realize
that the five new federal states

are a bomb waiting to go off.

Something was bound to happen.
Everyone could see that.

I have my doubts that this
was really done by RAF terrorists,

as they say in the news.

I don't know, it could have been
some of the people from the Stasi.

I am quite certain...

that this was not just
some madman or politically…

irresponsible people, like the RAF.

I think the execution
of Detlev Karsten Rohwedder

had economic reasons,

because of decisions he made,
measures he was responsible for.

Berlin, city center. One office building
has the most important address

for wealthy investors from the West
who want to invest in the GDR.

We are in negotiations
regarding the buying of a company.

What's going on?

-We are buying a company.
-Which one?

I don't have to tell you.
I don't want to tell you here.

I'm just visiting.

-What for?
-Just to see what's happening.

-You wouldn't be here for no reason.
-Why not? I'm visiting old friends.

I experienced the Treuhand
for myself and I watched…

people queuing up in order
to get their hands on whichever company.

Business people came over thinking,

"Hey, what a bargain.

I can buy a fully equipped company...

for a euro."

I'm exaggerating,

but the general impression was,

"Here come the occupiers,

breaking up all sorts of companies…

to sell them off for a quick profit."

I don't know
what to call these people.

They exploit things
wherever they find something to exploit.

They invaded

our little country like locusts.


I would like to say that
they not only added to the chaos,

they also aggravated
the personal misery of people.

And you couldn't help…


"So you are supposed to be
our brothers and sisters?"

At the moment, we are indeed in a phase

when companies, when the whole economy

needs to sweat out any remains
of socialism. We'll have to endure this.

And the quicker we address this crisis,

like a sick person,
the quicker we'll come out the other end.

Detlev Karsten Rohwedder was the most
powerful German business tycoon

of his era.

I imagine that some people
did not like some of his decisions.

It feels a little like the Wild West.

Some people are quite brazen
when dealing with the Treuhand.

This simply would be
impossible in West Germany.

Of course, the privatization policies

that the Treuhand implemented
so forcefully in our country

are always both lauded and condemned.

When I remember the spring of 1991,

it seems that Rohwedder
was hated by everyone.

And we did ask ourselves,
"Are we safe here?"

We had received a few threats already.

Staying at the Grand Hotel,

we often took the opportunity

to walk over in the morning
to the Treuhand building.

Right across the street
was the so-called "House of Democracy."

And he said,
"Look, if someone wanted to kill me,

he could sit over there
and shoot me without being caught.

We have no control over
who goes in and out of that building."


Now we can…

Mrs. Rohwedder always maintained

in our telephone conversations
that the Stasi must have been behind it.

Because their old networks were unhappy

with her husband dissolving the GDR.

During his work, he had seen evidence

indicating where
the Stasi might have hidden

several hundred million
that had disappeared.

And the Stasi was worried
he might find their hiding place.

Here are several telexes

I sent to the State Criminal
Police Office, Security Department.

"The evidence strongly suggests

that a new form of terrorism is emerging,

which greatly exceeds and dwarfs the RAF.

Not only does it have
far more members than the RAF,

the ex-Stasi members
are much more professional

with regards to training,
communications, financial means,

logistics, experience,
and inside knowledge.

And they are resolutely determined.

The Chief Security Office
of Saxony-Anhalt,

Klaus-Dieter Matschke…"

Yes, I meant absolutely...

what I said here.

It would only have favored

those who believed the sell-off,

the total dissolution of the country,

could be stopped by killing this man.

My name is Klaus-Dieter Matschke.

I used to work
for the Federal Intelligence Service,

later for the Federal Office
for the Protection of the Constitution.

In that capacity,
I was moved to the former GDR...

to investigate...

who worked for the Stasi
before Reunification.

What did they do?

It was my job to report all my findings

directly to the Prime Minister.

I made contact

with former Stasi generals.

We spent a lot of time together,

including drinking together.

If I needed more information on a subject,

I just asked one of them
and he would give me an answer.

I asked the generals
about the Rohwedder case,

and they had come to the same conclusion:

their own people were likely responsible.

My name is Eberhard Böttcher.

I used to work
for the Ministry of State Security.

My last job was in Branch XXII,

as Head of Department 1,
and my rank was Lieutenant Colonel.

My sole reason for joining the Stasi

was my commitment
to the prevention of another war.

I experienced World War II firsthand.

My hometown Plauen
was bombed and 80% destroyed.

There was hardly a building left standing.

I know what it means to fear
for your life while cowering in a cellar.

This experience has stayed
with me and shaped who I am.

No more war!


Friendship with our Russian brothers!

The GDR was an anti-fascist state,
and that made it the better Germany.

You have to remember

that any Nazi who was keen to get away,

who did not want to be caught
and tried by the Russians,

made their way to the Western Zones.

This led to the Western Zones

being crowded with all types of Nazis.

The same people

who had wanted to kill me too,
just a few years earlier...

because I am Jewish.

Consider this horrendous
period of our country's history,

the Holocaust,
the devastation of World War II,

the appalling injustice Germany brought
upon its European neighbors and the USSR.

Bearing all this in mind,

we do not deserve
the great joy of reunification.

Though not deserving it at all,
we have achieved it.

From an economic perspective,

the GDR was bound to collapse.

But I did not expect this
regarding its concept of society.

There was betrayal in our ranks as well.

People submitted.

Some were just frightened.
They would have done anything…

out of fear.

We had hoped that
socialism could reinvent itself.

We waited for this to happen.

But what happened instead?

Total collapse,
as ordered by Gorbachev himself.

Gorbi! Gorbi!

The Soviet Union
was in deep economic trouble.

In the summer of 1989,

Helmut Kohl asked me...

to give the Soviet Union,
and, therefore, Gorbachev,

an untied loan of five billion marks.

Gorbachev had extreme financial problems.

Under normal circumstances,
I was only allowed to grant an untied loan

if I was 99% sure to get the money back.

In this case, I was 99% sure

we would not get the money back,

but we just brushed
our financial regulations aside.

This was a very important
trust-building gesture,

signaling to Gorbachev

that he could rely
on Helmut Kohl and his government.

Mr. Secretary General,

if you press
the left button on that device,

you will see a picture
of today's guest of honor: yourself.

Secretary General,
our most important message to you is:

thank you for the speed
and dynamics of your politics.

We wanted to achieve a change in attitude.

The Soviet Union was starting to think,

"Maybe we are better off

having a good relationship
with a reunited Germany,

rather than having
West Germany as an enemy."

At the German-Soviet summit in Moscow,

Chancellor Kohl
and General Secretary Gorbachev

spent four hours in private talks.

The Soviet leadership was impressed

that Helmut Kohl came to Moscow

with a generous offer
for economic support.

Gorbachev and I agree

that the German nation
should have the sole right

to decide

whether it wants
to live again as one country.

He was like…

Let me shake your hand.

It was a good day's work.
We can be proud, really proud.

I think we should celebrate
and have a drink right now.

The GDR had to perish

in the face of West Germany,

because it had lost all its allies.

That's the truth!

Do you all have a drink?


Here's to Germany!

Because of Gorbachev's betrayal...

our country perished.

Nothing made sense anymore.

I was depressed, dejected.

And my job was gone. We had to go.

The last staff members of the Stasi

left their workplace
for the final time today.

The on duty officer told me…

First we have to collect
their weapons and put them in storage.

Then they'll submit
their service uniforms to a central depot.

We didn't want to be identified
as former Stasi officers.

The bad press in the newspapers,

TV, and so on caused a lot of uncertainty.

There was even a law under consideration

to label the MFC a criminal organization.


Minister for the Environment,
Karl-Hermann Steinberg

was an undercover Stasi informant.

Minister, would you
comment on the accusation?

I must reject Mr. Fischer's accusations.


We would like to ask you a few questions

regarding your work
for the Ministry of State Security.

Where did you get that idea?

-May we ask you--
-No, and stop taking pictures of me.

We are looking for Mr. Pirne.

Pirne? That's me.


-Can you stop this, please?
-Are you a Stasi officer?

-No. Stop this, please.
-Were you a Stasi officer?

There are documents stating

that you are a special duty officer.

Well, I was.

-You were?
-It's in the past, of course.

But you were a special duty officer?

Yes, I was.

-And you openly admit to it?

Why should I deny it? 

Mr. Rohwedder, were you able
to dismantle the old Stasi networks

in order to have more of a free hand?

Mr. Lohse, if you're referring
to Stasi members,

we don't have any
at the Treuhand, not anymore.

I wouldn't lead an organization
where such people work.

Many people were summarily dismissed

without any consideration of their service
or recognition for their life's work.

They were deprived of justice.

And it upset me to see
so many people disregarded

by the self-perceived victors of history.

There was no victory.

If anyone won,
it was us, the East Germans.

Overnight, our people became irrelevant.

Today a general, tomorrow pauper.

This had a massive negative impact

on all the former armed forces,

not just the Stasi.

"It should be evident to everybody

that the former Stasi members
constitute a volatile social issue.

The social situation of Stasi members
is, to say the least, catastrophic.

Former high-ranking commanders
are either discharged,

unemployed, or working poor jobs
at the bottom of the social hierarchy,

well below their qualifications."

And these were all people
who voluntarily stepped down from power

in order to find their place
within this new, democratic system.

Of course, that's not to say
there weren't malefactors.

The Stasi had 100,000 full-time employees.

There could have been
someone bearing a grudge.

Any acts of revenge killing...


Although, it was possible.

We had the weapons.

If we had been ordered
to go somewhere and use our weapons,

of course, I would have gone.

But I don't know if I could fire a shot.

I did not much care
that the man was shot or killed.

Didn't matter to me.

I had more pressing problems,
like how to get back on my feet

and earn a living.

Luckily, I met the head
of a security company.

He hired me immediately.

But it still felt like

I'd been the director of a hospital
and was downgraded to a porter.

Back then, we employed a lot of people

from the GDR's special forces.

In the Düsseldorf-Essen area,
we had approximately thirty

working in various positions.

We were glad to have them
as they knew how to handle a weapon,

had a military mindset, knew how to guard,

how to patrol and protect.

So they were our preferred recruits.
There wasn't anything immoral in that.

We had no means of checking
their full background anyway.

There were four private security firms

operating in the exclusive area around
the Kaiser-Friedrich-Ring in Düsseldorf.

Were there black sheep among them,

spying on the Rohwedder house?

How else could the gunman have known

that the office window
on the first floor of Rohwedder's house

was not bulletproof?

A security guard
can gather a lot of information.

I don't want to rule out
that people continued to talk

to whomever while off-duty,

and that someone must have said,
"Look at this house. He must be rich.

What's his security like?"

Someone might have said,
"It's mostly private security

and there's a minimal police presence.

And that's why I think it's all possible.

I ask myself to this day:

Who is ultimately responsible
for the killing of my former boss?

Early on, I had gained some insight

into the former Stasi
while working at the Treuhand,

but investigating Stasi
structures and misconduct

was not our primary concern.

We were managing financial assets.

There are a lot of processes
that are anything but agreeable.

Sometimes I feel
like the Deputy Sheriff being blamed

for everything that's gone wrong
over the past few months.

This definitely isn't good.

Mr. Rohwedder had to make
some bizarre decisions,

which were unpopular with some people.

And if there was a rogue
among those unhappy people,

who thought he could protect
his interests by using a weapon,

then it could have been
one of the reasons for his death.



In March 1991, we had discussions

about employing auditors

to analyze and establish

whether there were
hidden assets we needed to seize.

I am Kurt Hillmann...

born in Berlin.

I studied international trade and worked
in the GDR's Ministry for Foreign Trade.

And finally I began working
for the foreign trade company IMES.

The company

was engaged in the sale

of weapons and ammunition.

The main weapon was the AK-47.

Where did we sell them?


South America.

IMES was part of KoKo,

Department for Commercial Coordination.

It was a whole network with many people,

often conducting normal business...

in order to acquire
foreign currency for the GDR.

Purchases could be made for which
the GDR Mark was not accepted as payment.

But they also had
some rather...

questionable practices.

There were crooked deals,
such as an emergency call

for blood donations for the victims
of an earthquake in Romania.

But the blood ended up being sold
to the Red Cross in Munich.

Medical equipment, the art trade,

weapons, and ammunition…

There was a whole range of goods involved.

How they made their money
and how much they made

only became known
after the Wall came down.

The weapons on offer included
far more than the well-known AK-47

and its ammunition.

Trading in weapons…

from a business point of view,

whatever makes money.

It doesn't matter what you trade,

be it buttons or heavy machinery.

Make no mistake,

this was a well-organized department
that made the most of capitalism.

The head of the department
was Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski.

If there was fraud,
corruption, dishonesty,

this is for others to investigate, not us.

But we will do our share to shed light

on the Schalck-Golodkowski affair.

We are doing what we can,
but it's a volatile matter.

Pictures of his public
appearances are rare.

Schalck was one of the most important
mediators between the East and West.

Why didn't they ever really chase...

the missing millions?

Could it be
that some people had an interest

in delaying this?

Authorities are searching

for the former State Secretary
of Commercial Coordination,

Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski.

Business expert Schalck-Golodkowski,
who yesterday was still in Bonn for talks,

is suspected
of abuse of office and embezzlement.

Dr. Schalck-Golodkowski was on the run.

They flew him to the Federal Intelligence
Service Office in Munich.

And we were left wondering, "Is he really
getting away with it so easily?"

The initial court hearing took place
today at Berlin State Court in the case

against the GDR's foreign currency
procurer Schalck-Golodkowski.

I think when he got
a suspended sentence of 18 months,

he must have laughed about it.

I remember we had
another court case against him,

but the hearings had to be postponed

because the accused was on a German
government plane on his way to China

to advise on trading with the East.

From then on we knew that we couldn't
expect much from the state prosecutor.

Someone held a protective hand over him.

Today, Minister of the Interior Schäuble
repudiated a report in Stern magazine,

claiming he had helped
the SED foreign currency procurer

and Stasi officer Schalck-Golodkowski

to escape GDR jurisdiction.

In the West, in the Federal Republic,
there was nothing against him.

And we agreed
that he should be treated humanely,

and the Diakonie
organization did just that.

Wolfgang Schäuble is someone who would
have been central to the investigations.

He knew much about
the events but said little.

The federal government held back
and concealed important files.

We were quite angry

when we heard Schalck
had sent letters to Schäuble.

He must have mentioned details

about the companies, assets, and so forth.

We never got a hold of those letters.

At first, Schäuble couldn't remember.
Then he said the letters were "private."

He claimed he was under
no obligation to hand them over.

And, anyway, he couldn't remember
whether he still had them.

And we were supposed to find the money?

Secure it? How? We had nothing.

The media is particularly interested

in the contents of some five suitcases,
full of explosive documents.

Schalck calls them his life's work.

Political dynamite in a reunited Germany.


had a very adaptable,
flexible personality.

He couldn't have known
anything about my affairs,

and I didn't know anything about his.

Addressing concerns

that there might be someone supporting,
shielding, protecting Mr. Schalck,

I can only repeat what I have said
on numerous occasions before:

complete nonsense!

The files on West German politicians

have been destroyed.

I won't name names,

but the political elite
knows who I'm talking about.

This means we will see those immoral...

ignorant, evil people
in a variety of positions...

because no files will be found.
They're all gone.

But I know one thing.

In the spring of 1991,

there were no Stasi structures left
that could have executed people.

They simply didn't exist.


The fact that this murder

could be politically exploited
back then is interesting.

Being politically aware and also thinking
in criminological terms, I ask myself:

Who could it have benefited?

I could imagine someone

who had nothing to do
with the Stasi or the RAF.

He could be an independent killer,
but acting on the orders...

of some powerful
Western political stakeholder.