Eduard Zimmermann

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Eduard Zimmermann
Eduard Zimmermann.jpg
Zimmermann presenting Aktenzeichen XY … ungelöst, October 1967
Born 4 February 1929
Munich, Germany
Died 19 September 2009 (aged 80)
Munich, Germany
Nationality German
Occupation Journalist, Television presenter
Spouse(s) Rosmarie Zimmermann (m. 1960-2008; her death)

Eduard Zimmermann (4 February 1929 – 19 September 2009) was a German journalist, television presenter and security expert.


Eduard Zimmermann was born on 4 February 1929 in Alte Heide in the borough of Schwabing-Freimann in Munich, Germany to a teenage mother who worked as a waitress. Shortly before the Second World War Zimmermann moved to his grandparents house in Ottobrunn. At the end of the war Zimmermann moved to the city of Magdeburg where his mother had remarried to a hotelier, and where Zimmermann was first employed at his stepfather's hotel.

Following the Second World War the man who would later be known as a 'criminal hunter' and 'crook's bane' eked out a living as a thief and black market trader, for which he served a sentence at Fuhlsbüttel Prison. With a false identity and diploma he finally found work as a roadworks engineer in Sweden.

Zimmermann returned to the Soviet occupation zone in Germany on an assignment for Dagens Nyheter newspaper. There he was charged with espionage in 1950 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He served five years of his sentence in Bautzen and was released early on 17 January 1954 under the Viermächtekonferenz (Conference of the Four Powers).

Subsequently he worked as a journalist and editor at NDR and ZDF.

From 20 October 1967 to 24 October 1997 Zimmermann presented 300 episodes of the ZDF TV series Aktenzeichen XY... ungelöst (File Sign XY … Unsolved), whom he also co-hosted with his adopted daughter Sabine from 6 November 1987 until 24 October 1997 (Sabine would remain at the said programme until 7 December 2001), as well as 180 episodes from 1964 to 1997 of Vorsicht Falle! - Nepper, Schlepper, Bauernfänger (Beware, Trap! - Scammers, Hustlers, Conmen). He then retired from the television business and maintained an Internet security portal in co-operation with ZDF.

Zimmermann was a co-founder of Weißer Ring e.V. (White Ring), an organisation that assists victims of crimes, and was its chairman for many years.

On the occasion of Aktenzeichen XY's hundredth episode on October 1977 Zimmermann received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on ribbon, and was later awarded the Order of Merit First Class. In 1982 he received the Humanitarian Award of the German Freemasons.

Zimmermann himself revealed his past as a criminal in 2005 through his autobiography, titled Auch ich war ein Gauner (I was a crook too). In a newspaper interview he said that the time had made him tough:

Zimmermann's last appearance on TV was on the 400th episode of Aktenzeichen XY on 10 May 2007, and died on 19 September 2009 in Munich.


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