The Mammoth Book of
Robin Odell (Herausgeber)
Running Pr Book Publ, 2010. ISBN: 978-0762438440, 512 Seiten, Preis 9,99 €
The death of Dean Reed, an American pop singer, in Berlin during the Cold War remains an unexplained mystery.
The body of forty-seven-year-old Dean Reed was recovered from the Zeuthner See, a lake in East Berlin, on the morning of 16 June 1986. He had apparently drowned and East German media spoke of a "trageic accident".
The singer was a controversial figure. He had lived in the East for fourteen years and his songs were very popular in the eastern bloc countries. While he was highly regarded east of the Berlin wall, he was a hate figure for many Americans who regarded him as a defector and referred to him as "Red Elvis".
In the 1960s, Reed spent time in South America where he embraced Marxist doctrines. He was passionate about his beliefs and took out newspaper advertisements urging readers to write to President John Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikito Kruschev demanding an end to nuclear testing. This led to his expulsion from Peru and subsequently from Chile where he publicly insulted the Stars and Stripes flag in a protest against the war in Vietnam. His campaigning for world peace did not endear him to Americans who despised him as a "Commie lover".
In 1972 Reed moved to East Berlin where he was welcomed and he married Renate Blume, an actress. He rented a villa at Snoeckwitz and it was in the nearby lake that he was found, apparently drowned, inside his car. The East German authorities were coy about the precise cause of death but ruled out foul play. His friends were not so sure. His manager, a Denver businesswoman, expressed the opinion that he had been murdered because he had talked about returning to the US. This would have made him a double defector and a loss to the East who saw him as a propaganda asset.
A Sunday Times correspondent was in Berlin at the time of Reed's death on an assignment to interview him for the newspaper. He learned from Renate Blume-Reed that her husband had been taken int hospital on the day that he died. Doctors thought he had a viral infection; he was feeling ill and perspiring. The news was that he would be kept in hospital for a few days while tests were carried out. According to later reports, he was already dead.
Reed's death seemed to make minimal impact on the American authorities and there were rumours that he had committed suicide. There were also suggestions of a cover-up and no comprehensive post-mortem report was made public. Some of his friends said that the Russians were making life uncomfortable for him and he had admitted to being fearful of what might happen.
Six weeks before he died, Reed featured in an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes" in which he defended the building of the Berlin Wall. For a short time in the late 1970s, he had worked for the East German intelligence service, STASI. No enquiries into his death were made by the US authorities and speculation remained that one of the international intelligence agencies had put out a contract on him.