Kollateralschäden (‘collateral damage’) go on air

Premier of the (newspaper) column as a TV-series

Published on Dec. 2nd 2021

Go here for the video

Chronicles of a disease.

Corona makes you sick. That’s what we report on. Stories that don’t find their way into the media.

The series “collateral damage” is based on reports of people affected by Corona-mandates.

So nobody can say: “We didn’t know that”.

The thought provoking, disturbing, moving fates of people that suffer under political mandates are now starting to be aired as filmed documentaries.

By Johanna and Frank Wahlig

KOLLATERAL: Series originally from reistschuster.de in cinema scope.

Millions of readers. Thousands of sorrowful, compassionate, thankful and encouraging messages to the authors. The series “collateral damage” on reistschuster.de had an enormous echo. Thus the idea to film “collateral damage” was born. Producer Robert Cibis, who, among other things, has produced for Arte and 3Sat starts with the first season on 10 different channels.

An idea becomes a chronicle: Collateral damage

It wasn’t supposed to be anything major: just short stories about what the virus, or rather the governmental mandates meant ‘to fight the virus’ do to people. Also stories about how the state becomes merciless and harsh. The idea “to write down what happens”,turned into a chronicle of the Corona-times.

Collateral damage: The old man

It all started in 2020 with an old man from Upper Bavaria who wasn’t allowed to receive guests anymore.

Communication ban, visiting ban. The old man was a craftsman, nothing was known about a depressive disposition, a normal neighbour. Not even a disgruntled person. During the lockdown, he was alone for months. He had become old and lonely. The man put on his coat in this hard and humanly cold lockdown, and positioned himself on the railway tracks for the last regional express to Munich. The train driver didn’t see him, he only felt the impact.

The old man became, in a sense, “collateral damage”. It seemed important to us, to document the fates of victims of the war on a virus, as led by the political elite.

“Collateral damage” became one of the most read online-series in German media. The contributions were at times disturbing, sometimes hard, but also factual and sober. In a time, when Germany became hysterical, when people started to fear people. The virus had become a party to war.

Writing can lose you contacts, and gain you new ones.

Readers reacted to the stories, millions of readers, thousands of emails. The authors received information, documents, and stories. From those, new collateral-reports emerged. Some people asked for discretion, feared for their jobs, reputation and friends. Not without reason. Colleagues of the ARD (German public law broadcaster) have broken off contact with us. We would be helping “the wrong people”, so they said. It can make you lonely.

Other colleagues told us that they thought us courageous. In their editorial offices, such stories were not allowed to be broadcasted, written or filmed. Writing gains you new connections and friendships. That is also true.

We, the authors, my wife Johanna and I, have written dozens of collateral-reports, many readers have helped us with that. We have talked to people whom we might otherwise never have had contact with. Good writing also produces closeness and new friends.

In the summer, Johanna and I were sitting together with some acquaintances in a Bavarian beer-garden.

At the neighbouring table guests, gathered around an iPad, were discussing an article published online on reitschuster.de. A “collateral damage”. I said: “Hello”. It turned into a good conversation. They wanted to pay our bill. They wanted us to continue, no matter what.

We paid for our beer ourselves, and we will continue.


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