Case 171

The Gladbeck Hostage Crisis

On August 19 1988, two armed offenders entered a branch of the Deutsche Bank in Gladbeck, West Germany with the intention of holding it up. Hans-Jürgen Rösner and Dieter Degowski planned to steal a large sum of money, then make a quick getaway.

But their actions would trigger a series of shocking events that spanned 54 hours and became known as the Gladbeck Hostage Crisis.



Casefile Presents



Research – Milly Raso and Erin Munro

Writing – Erin Munro

Special thanks to Stef for her assistance in the creation of this episode

Creative direction – Milly Raso

Narration – Anonymous Host



‘Flatline intro’ and ‘Come play with me’ intro and outro –

Audio production – Mike Migas 

Music – Mike Migas and Andrew Joslyn



Logo and website design – Paulina Szymanska




Police plan backfires when crooks take BMWPottsville Republican

Third hostage killed as German police end two-day dramaThe Herald

West Germany nabs 2 banditsNew York Daily News

Shootout ends two days of gun battles, hostage-takingGreat Falls Tribune

Teen feared more killingThe Republic

Murdered hostage’s relative vows to sue over police assaultSydney Morning Herald

Kidnap saga ends in courtThe Vancouver Sun

3 convicted in 1988 German terror spreeAustin American-Statesman



Gladbeck: The deadly hostage drama where the media crossed a lineBBC

The hostage crisis that shook Germany’s rules of reporting: GladbeckDW

Hostage dies as German drama endsThe New York Times

Killings in German hostage incident stir dispute The New York Times

Families of slain hostages file criminal charges against police – AP News

German bank raid and hostage-grab of 80s plays out in TV drama – The Guardian

“I was a coward” – FOCUS

Infamous ‘Gladbeck gangster’ to be released from jail in GermanyDW

16.8.1988: The Gladbeck Hostage Drama – Today in History

Here the Gladbeck gangster enjoys his freedom – Bild

The court decides to release Dieter DegowskiShz



The Gladbeck Hostage

Das Geiseldrama von Gladbeck 1988

ZDF History – Das Geiseldrama von Gladbeck

Gladbeck – Dokument einer Geiselnahme





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