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An introduction from "Sir Vival"

Rüdiger Nehberg on Wolfgang Brög

I got to know Wolfgang as a documentary film-maker. After the murder of Michael Teichmann at the Blue Nile (1975) in Ethiopia, he was the one who had no hesitation in joining me on the next river tour (Omo River, Ethiopia) as a documentary film-maker. The film was broadcast on prime-time TV, Bayerischer Rundfunk.

Wolfgang Brög documented my journey by paddle boat across the Atlantic from my start in Senegal to my arrival in Brazil. Best transmission time, ZDF. Then I often travelled with Wolfgang, particularly in Brazil. There is no tributary of the Rio Negro where we haven’t been. He succeeded in making a really impressive reportage in Amazonia, where he revealed the true identity of the alleged “chieftain” Tatunca Nara and proved that the mysterious murders in his surroundings were actually the work of this “great chieftain”: "Das Geheimnis des Tatunca Nara" (The Mystery of Tatunca Nara). He also proved that the man was in reality Hansi Richard Günter Hauck from the picturesque Franconia in Bavaria. Prime time viewing in ARD, my book Abenteuer Urwald (Adventure Jungle) – a top-notch thriller.


Above all, however, Wolfgang made the decisive film – partly with a hidden camera – about the impending genocide of the Yanomami Indians (Brazil). By means of an air lift, an army of 65,000 gold-hunters had invaded this sovereign territory of the last great tribe (20,000 people) still living in accordance with their primeval traditions. 400 planes, 120 illegal landing strips: civil war staged under the cover of the rainforest. We heard nothing about this in our world. The invasion was perfectly organised – in mafia style – and was hushed up completely by the upper echelons, including the President of the Republic.

Wolfgang and I mingled as gold-hunters among the gold-hunters, we ran with the pack in order to document this utter disregard of the Brazilian constitution. His film "Goldrausch in Amazonien" (Gold Rush in Amazonia) was given a prime-time viewing slot in ZDF. Green Peace bankrolled the distribution to institutions and courageous channels throughout the world. It was also shown in Brazil and exposed the crimes to the entire world. It became a crucial milestone in the drama of the salvation of the Yanomami. The fact that, after over 20 year of civil war, they are finally able to live in peace, is due , not least, to Wolfgang’s film.


Wolfgang’s most distinctive features are his powers of endurance as well as his talent for organisation and improvisation. For him, as a former extreme alpinist and mountain guide, no obstacle is insurmountable. For an important film scene he never shies away from climbing the highest jungle trees, working his way forward from tree-top to tree-top, abseiling down into the deepest ravines, plunging himself with a boat into torrential currents or filming hostile regions from a motor-propelled paraglider. I have never experienced that he let fear deter him from taking a risk.

With regard to Brazil, his excellent linguistic skills are a great asset. Not only does he speak perfect Portuguese and Spanish, he also has a great ommand of the inexhaustible tricks necessary to survive in nature, in dealing with the authorities or the native population. Brazil and the Amazon region have become his second home.

Infomation: Rüdiger Nehberg - in Germany well known as "Sir Vival" - is Germany's most famous Adventurer. He wrote dozens of books about his adventures, survival and human rights and participated in many documentary films.
 

 

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