Blick reporter Viktor Dammann (72) was at the scene of the accident.
“I stood by when the Mani Matter was revived”
The famous Bern troubadour Mani Matter was only 36 years old. 50 years ago, on November 24, 1972, he lost his life in a traffic accident. Court reporter Blick Viktor Dammann (72) was there as a photojournalist on this sad day.
Mani Matter had a fatal accident on November 24, 1972.
I remember that Friday evening, November 24, 1972 very well. I sat down briefly with editor-in-chief Hansuel “Blöch” Blöchliger in the Keystone newsroom to discuss our tasks for the upcoming weekend.
I had the door latch in my hand when the phone rang. Blöch picked it up, listened for a moment and motioned for me to stay. The call came from Swiss TV. There were fears that something might have happened to the Mani Matter. The singer and songwriter was expected in Rapperswil SG for a concert. But nobody knows anything about his whereabouts. Matter probably used the highway from Zürich to Pfäffikon SZ to reach Rapperswil.
I immediately called the media spokesperson of the canton of Zurich police to ask if there had been an accident on the N3 in which Mani Matter might have been involved. Unfortunately, this was the case, at Kilchberg ZH there was a collision with various vehicles, including a truck with a trailer.
For me, going out to serious accidents was almost a daily occurrence. In the 1970s, before seat belts were compulsory, there were up to 1,800 fatal road accidents a year – today there are still around 200. Photojournalists had a special police reporter’s pass to drive to the scene of an accident when the roads were closed. .
Mani Matter didn’t stand a chance
It was no different in this serious accident. Everything was bathed in gleaming headlights and the screeching of sparks splattering the divider panel could be heard. Firefighters used special tools to extricate the wedged accident victim from the wreckage of the car.
The policeman in charge confirmed to me that the dead man was Mani Matter. The singer and songwriter was killed in the crash. In addition to the truck, three other passenger cars were involved in the accident. A total of six people were injured.
“NZZ” wrote the next day that Matter probably misjudged the speed of the truck in front of him and hit the left rear wheel of the truck’s trailer while overtaking. As a result, his vehicle crossed into the fast lane and overturned on its side. The trailer was also hit by two following cars, which were thrown and touched Matter’s car.
Policeman: “He had bad luck”
I was able to speak to a retired officer the other day who also showed up at the time. “Mani Matter had the bad luck to suddenly have a freight train in front of him at normal speed. Entered the N3 in Zurich-Wollishofen. At that time, such heavy vehicles could only accelerate slowly. A vehicle creeping along at about 40 km/h was like a sudden obstacle to Matter. »
I then went to the editorial office to develop my images. It was only later, on the way home, that I realized what a great loss we all experienced in the death of a great singer and songwriter.