Linda Zervakis and Peter Lohmeyer standing on a sailboat
Photo: Jewgeni Roppel

Michaelis Pantelouris interviewed two popular German TV-Faces for ADAC Motorwelt Magazin. Linda Zervakis, who was the first Tagesschau-moderator with a migrant background. And the famous actor Peter Lohmeyer, who for example performed at the Salzburger Festspiele. This interview is all about cycling, racism and the forced rest thanks to Corona.

People say that you both are passionate about cycling. Is that true?

Zervakis – Yes! I once bought a single speed because it was so light. But when you ride it in Hamburg, you need padding on your bottom, otherwise you think you have a broken coccyx every time. Now I have a thick Holland bike. Insanely heavy, a mummy transporter with a child seat in the back.

Lohmeyer – I am also an enthusiastic cyclist and own many. I used to have one in every port, today I have a bike in every city. Or I get one locally. I also think it should be a matter of course that hotels have bicycles - without you having to pay twelve euros an hour.

Photo: Jewgeni Roppel
Linda Zervakis and Peter Lohmeyer standing at the window in a lighthouse
Photo: Jewgeni Roppel

Both of you are usually on the road a lot in your job. How was the enforced rest in the Corona year for you?

Zervakis – I must say that I actually first enjoyed it. It was like an imposed sabbatical year: you don't have any plans, you can't meet anybody and in return you can do whatever you want at home. At your own pace. And nobody can grumble. In mid-May I took the train to Berlin for the first time - with a mask and rubber gloves, because I was really scared. Of course I would have loved to fly to Greece, but that's whining on a high level. I still have my job and the family is doing well. I really can't complain.

Lohmeyer – Even after the time I spent at home, my range of movement was limited: between Hamburg and Berlin, because I have family there. Three of my children live there, one in Cologne. So I know what it is like to travel by train. Sitting all alone in a train compartment was very strange. But it's like Linda says: If you had to work before and knew that you would have to work again afterwards, then it's also something stress-free. No appointments, all the same: Robert De Niro and I both had nothing to do.

Peter Lohmeyer wraps Linda Zervakis with ship rope on the deck of a sailboat
Photo: Jewgeni Roppel

You are both committed against racism. In your case, Ms. Zervakis, that was almost automatic, wasn't it? Because of your exposed role as the first newscaster of the 20:00 "Tagesschau" with a migration background ...

Zervakis - Here we go: I was not particularly aware of my migration background until that moment. Then I was turned into something by the media, read that and thought: Is that me? Why isn't the headline called: Linda Zervakis is the new "Tagesschau" newscaster? I assume that I didn't get the job because of my background, but because I am quite good at it.

Ms. Zervakis, in your new book "Etsikietsi" you describe a journey with your mother into the family's past in Greece. And for your podcast "Gute Deutsche" on Spotify, you meet Germans with a migration background who tell their story. How did this happen?

Zervakis - I have been carrying the idea around with me for years. I wanted to make it into a television format, but it was during the refugee wave and therefore too delicate for everyone.

Mr. Lohmeyer, your son has a dark skin color. Was it the reason for your commitment against racism?

Lohmeyer - I came across a postcard from the Sauerland region that I found in my mailbox as fan mail more than 20 years ago. It literally said: "You are a welcome actor and human being, but no offense, does one have to be a colored person to be a witness to that?" Well, I grew up in North Rhine-Westphalia and one of my first real friends at the age of six was named Laiki, he was Turkish, that was never an issue. The main thing is that the people get along with each other.

You can read the entire interview in the ADAC Motorwelt issue 03/2020. More information about the new Motorwelt can be found on the ADAC website.

Cover of the ADAC Motorwelt issue 03/2020
Read the full story here ADAC Motorwelt 03/2020

Four times a year the ADAC Motorwelt offers information and service, reports, columns, tests and celebrity-interviews on the topics of cars, travel and mobility. The magazine is available in around 9,100 German Edeka and Netto subsidiaries. Club members can take it free of charge at the checkout.