Eine Illustration tanzender Menschen im Berliner Club Berghain

Death in the techno club

Berlin's "Berghain" is a place of longing and cult in one for techno fans worldwide: sex, drugs and excess - countless myths surround the techno temple on the Spree. After the drug-related death of a young American woman, critical voices are being raised: Does the Berlin club scene have a problem with illegal drugs? Are party drugs tolerated in the club culture? And what responsibility do the clubs themselves bear, as well as the police and politicians? On this evening, the American couple Jenifer and Carlo also want to go to Berghain. Shortly after midnight, the "holy halls" of the club open for the two. One drug that is consumed in many Berlin techno clubs is ecstasy. Jenifer and her boyfriend Carlo also take the drug that night. What for the two and many others is part of a real party ends in a deadly drama. The 30-year-old does not survive the night in the club. Jenifer dies as a result of an overdose.

Carla Röthig's documentary focuses on conversations with people from Berlin's nightlife. Roman Shamov was a bartender at "Berghain" for many years and is stunned by the drug-related death of the young American woman. He and other scene people and partygoers report on the fascination that Berlin's nightlife and especially the "Berghain" has exerted for decades.

How do people party in Berlin clubs? Are drugs part of the club culture? Raimund Reintjes is the spokesman for the Berlin Clubcommission, an association of Berlin cultural workers within the party scene. Together with Olaf Schremm, head of the Narcotics Department at the Berlin State Criminal Police Office, he also provides insights into nightlife and the associated challenges posed by drug use in Berlin's clubs. Why do people take drugs in the first place? What risks are associated with the wrong use of party drugs? Dr. Andrea Jungaberle is an emergency physician in the rescue service and has accompanied various drug emergencies in Berlin's nightlife. She provides answers.

In addition, the author and director talks on camera with Rüdiger Schmolke from the Berlin drug prevention project "SONAR." Can cases like the drug death in the "Berghain" be prevented in the future? And can so-called drug checking make Berlin's nightlife safer?

  • Director: Carla Röthig
  • Camera: Dirk Heuer
  • Sound: Johannes Schneeweiß
  • Illustrations: Karl Schulschenk
  • Editing & Graphics: Konstantin Gramalla
  • Speaker: Nadja Schulz Berlinghoff
  • Producer: Johanna Behre
  • Production: Beate Selchow, Carsten Bartelt
  • Production (ZDFinfo): Jenny Heininger
  • Editorial Office (ZDFinfo): Natalie Zinkand

This film is available for streaming in the ZDF-Mediathek: