Column views: the kirschgartshausen alert

On Monday, German television showed a halfway serious film about the Mafia. However, people preferred not to discuss it seriously.

Elsewhere it goes: Arrested mobsters of the US Italo operation "New Bridge". Picture: dpa

When a Google Alert "Kirschgartshausen" pops up in the morning, it’s like a birthday present. Recently, it happened again. The alert led me to the "Rhein-Neckar morgenweb" news portal, where the promising line "Police solve spectacular capital crimes" was found. There had been twelve murder cases in 2013 – and all of them had been solved quickly.

All of them? Well – not quite. Because there is still this "mysterious murder of an Italian and his Thai partner on a homestead in Mannheim-Kirschgartshausen."

You guessed it: It was because of this murder, not because of the beautiful district name, that I had set up the alert in the first place; and now I found myself thrown back to the first alert from August 2013 "Murder in Kirschgartshausen: The police are still in the dark".

But that was a lie. For in the Italian press one could read that after a double murder near Mannheim on May 13, 2013, German investigators went to Palermo to consult with their Italian colleagues. The question discussed was how to explain the increasing traffic on the "route of death" between Mannheim and the Sicilian province of Agrigento, or more precisely the little town of Palma di Montechairo, which has been notorious since the 1990s. The Sicilian investigators, it was read, were tipping off a new mafia war for economic claims in Germany.

20 kilometers in 21 minutes

And as it sometimes goes – when the documentary "Caution Mafia" was shown on Monday on the German TV channel Ersten, the film team went to Sicily on the trail of the construction mafia in NRW. One of the makers of the film: "During our research we found that most of the Italians involved in such business in Germany come from a region in Sicily. […] Some time ago, two people were shot there. Everyone we asked agreed that these murders had to do with distribution struggles in Germany."

The area Marko Rosseler is talking about here is the province of Agrigento, or more precisely the little town of Licata. It takes four hours to get from there to Palma di Montechiaro – on foot; by car, the 20 kilometers can be covered in 21 minutes (source: Google Maps).

No, this is not about playing Sherlock Holmes; it’s about the fact that in the subsequent broadcast of "Hart aber fair," from Volker Beck (Greens) to Rainer Wendt (Greens in uniform), they were very much in agreement that they didn’t need any tutoring from the stupid Italians about the Mafia. That’s probably why the editors of "Hart aber fair" had also uninvited Petra Reski, a specialist journalist who lives in Italy. Although an explicit Mafia investigation had been carried out beforehand, the editors preferred to "keep the Mafia portion of our program very low and to focus primarily on other forms of crime in Germany. Specifically, Roma and Miri clans and Arab youth gangs."

Maybe they are responsible for the double murder in Kirschgartshausen. I’m waiting for the alert.