Dark alleys and red-light districts, corrupt cops and organized
criminals. These were the elements of Peter Reichard’s working
environment for 30 years - and the source for his countless stories,
whether factual investigative reports for prestigious magazines or
fictional screen plays for Europe’s largest television networks.
Peter Reichard’s first contact with the criminal underworld came as a
cop. Shortly after school graduation, he joined the Hamburg police force
and was quickly assigned to the infamous Davidwache Precinct in the
city’s red-light district St. Pauli. He was later promoted to chief of
an undercover investigations unit on organized crime. Among his cases
were contract killer „Mucki“ Pinzner and the infamous St. Pauli serial
killer Fritz Honka.
His international investigative work involved
cooperation with several leading western intelligence and police
organizations and including tracking down kidnappers in London and South
For Peter Reichard, the most intense years with the police force were
directed against some unsavory colleagues. After it became known that
the US and Italian mafia were cooperating with notable German crime
figures, Reichard found himself caught up in a sticky and difficult
investigation that involved hundreds of his fellow law enforcement
officers. His efforts were answered by murder threats from the
underworld and disciplinary proceedings from corrupt colleagues.
Informers were murdered. Political pressure was brought to bear on the
investigators, even criminal charges. It was a lonely battle for
Reichard and his few courageous colleagues, before they were finally
able to get outside support. In the end, they were able to win the
support of Hamburg’s mayor Henning Voscherau and a handful of courageous
In 1980, Chancellor Schmidt dispatched his tough disarmament envoy
Alfons Pawelczyk to oversee the investigation. Hamburg’s Senator of
Justice Eva Leithäuser established an organized crime task force with
120 hand-picked police and prosecutors to investigate. Reichard was
selected as key adviser. They were able to send dozens of organized
crime figures to jail. In 1983, Hamburg’s Chief of Police was forced to
resign, putting a formal end to the greatest post-war police scandal in
the history of Germany.
Interview with Peter
Reichard on NDR in 1994
A year later, Peter Reichard launched his new career as investigative
reporter. On assignment for the prestigious German magazine Stern,
he posed as an orange-robed cult follower of Indian Guru Bhagwan,
reporting undercover from their highly secretive compound in Oregon and
exposing their extremist tactics.
For the following nine years he lived on the Côte d’Azur, reporting on
the Cannes Film Festival and Formula 1 Racing, as well as the trials and
tribulations of the Monacan royal family. He was there for Stern
when an escaped convict and cop-killer was arrested in the night, he
reported for Playboy when German undercover agents held
clandestine meetings with Arab drug dealers. He even spirited the
mistress of a German head of state out of St. Tropez to protect her from
Paparazzi. On international missions for Playboy and Radio
Hamburg, Reichard unmasked a secluded colony of German gangsters in
For the woman’s magazine Elle he portrayed an Afro-American female FBI
agent in Los Angeles, for the woman’s magazine Brigitte, he
accompanied a female undercover SIU-officer in Miami Beach.
One of Peter Reichard’s very first investigative stories covered the
victims of the protection racket. It ran in GEOMagazine
and bore the title “Enemies Always Pay” (Feinde bezahlen immer).
When Reichard launched his successful career as television screenplay
author several years later, he chose the same subject. It was broadcast
in the popular TV crime series “Peter Strohm” on the German ARD Network
under the title: “Friends Never Pay” (Freunde zahlen nie).
Throughout his many years of successful writing, Peter Reichard’s work
has always richly profited from his unique expertise. Whether fictitious
or factual, it has always been centered around cops & crime, the
gangster underworld of St. Pauli and his own Davidwache Precinct.