Red Army Fraction

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RAF logo: an HK MP5 submachine gun in front of a red star

The Red Army Fraction (RAF) was a left-wing extremist terrorist organization in the Federal Republic of Germany . She was responsible for 33 or 34 murders of executives from politics, business and administration, their drivers, police officers , customs officers and American soldiers as well as for the Schleyer kidnapping , several hostage-taking, bank robberies and bomb attacks with over 200 injured. 24 members and sympathizers of the RAF were killed by outside influences, suicide or hunger strike .

The RAF, in its self-image a communist , anti-imperialist urban guerrilla based on the South American model similar to the Tupamaros in Uruguay , was founded in 1970 by Andreas Baader , Gudrun Ensslin , Horst Mahler , Ulrike Meinhof and other people. The number of members of all three generations of the RAF between the 1970s and 1990s was between 60 and 80 people. The RAF cooperated with Palestinian, later with French, Italian and Belgian terrorist groups.

A series of attacks called " Offensive 77 " in September and October 1977, which were intended to press prisoners of the first generation of the RAF, led to a crisis in the Federal Republic known as the German Autumn . It ended with the suicides of the imprisoned leaders of the first generation of the RAF in the Stuttgart prison on the so-called death night of Stammheim .

Most of the second-generation terrorists responsible for most offenses after 1972 were in custody in the mid-1980s, had gone into hiding or had died. Various attacks by the late RAF, including nine murders committed by the third and last generation, have not yet been solved. The RAF committed its last murder in 1991, the last attack in 1993, and in 1998 it declared its self-dissolution. In June 2011 the last RAF member was released from custody. There is still a search for four former relatives to this day.

The dispute with the RAF had considerable socio-political consequences. It led to the development of the computer search and the passage of a number of anti-terror laws by the German Bundestag . The events are the basis of a large number of non-fiction books, television documentaries, feature films, plays and novels, published in Germany and abroad.


The RAF was initially referred to as the "Baader-Meinhof-Gang" or as the Baader-Meinhof-Gruppe . The name “Red Army Fraction” , which they chose themselves, has been in use since the mid-1970s, referring to the Soviet Red Army . In addition to the pronunciation of the abbreviation as "Err-A-Eff", you can also hear the pronunciation "Raff".

Several generations can be distinguished between which there was little or no personal continuity. The essentially three generations also differ in terms of organizational structures and changes in theory and practice. Nevertheless, the generation model represents a simplification.

The number of active underground members of the so-called hard core of all three generations between the 1970s and 1990s totaled between 60 and 80 people. 914 people were convicted of supporting the RAF and 517 for membership.

In their terrorist attacks or hostage-taking, RAF members murdered 33 people and more than 200 injuries. An exchange of fire that took place in Zurich in 1979 between police officers and members of the RAF ended fatally for Edith Kletz Händler who happened to be present. In retrospect, it was not possible to determine whether the deadly projectile came from the police or the RAF. For this reason, Kletz dealer is often counted as the thirty-fourth victim of the RAF. In addition, 27 members and sympathizers of the RAF died during its existence. Twelve of them were shot, five died in explosions, seven by suicide, one died of complications from a tumor and two were killed in a traffic accident. The police mistakenly shot four uninvolved people while attempting to arrest them.

In 2007, Der Spiegel estimated the value of property damage caused by attacks by the RAF at the equivalent of 250 million euros. The laws passed from 1974 to 1977 in response to the RAF crimes interfered with the personal rights of all German citizens and are still in force today.

26 RAF members were sentenced to life imprisonment. On the occasion of requests for pardon, there were regular heated debates in the German public about how to deal with the former terrorists. In June 2011, Birgit Hogefeld, the last former member, was released from prison.

There is still a search for four former members to this day. Daniela Klette , Ernst-Volker Staub and Burkhard Garweg were never caught. It was suspected that Friederike Krabbe was last in Baghdad . The whereabouts of three others are unclear. Ingeborg Barz and Angela Luther have been missing since 1972, Ingrid Siepmann since 1982. The arrest warrants were overturned.


The Nazi past of Federal Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger and the passing of the emergency laws led to protests in 1968

In the 1960s a generation grew up in the Federal Republic of Germany that viewed their parents' behavior critically during National Socialism . Many also fundamentally questioned capitalism , parliamentary democracy and bourgeois lifestyles. Reinforced by the American civil rights movement and the Vietnam War , parts of society developed a negative attitude towards the politics of the United States . In the major university cities of Western Europe, there were demonstrations by students against US policy, which often also brought up other topics.

The West German student movement of the 1960s had a formative influence on the RAF. With it came the extra-parliamentary opposition (APO). A substantial part of the APO's criticism was directed against the emergency laws, which were passed on May 30, 1968 by the first grand coalition in the German Bundestag and which added an emergency constitution to the Basic Law . Protests, some of which were massive, had been rejected by both major parties and could not prevent the adoption. In addition, the past of Federal Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger , who was a member of the NSDAP and an employee of the Foreign Office at the time of National Socialism, polarized . It came to the action of Beate Klarsfeld , which Kiesinger slapped on November 7, 1968 at the CDU party conference in Berlin in front of running television cameras and called a "Nazi".

When the student Benno Ohnesorg was shot by police officer Karl-Heinz Kurras during the demonstration against the Shah of Persia, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in West Berlin on June 2, 1967 , this marked a turning point further escalation of the already tense situation. On April 11, 1968, the assassination attempt on one of the movement's leaders, Rudi Dutschke , only barely survived, seriously injured. From 1969, however, the APO began to break up into many, sometimes violently divided groups. The more politicized youth perceived the end of the movement as a defeat and tried to realize their political ideals in other ways. Many became members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) or tried other ways to march through the institutions .

From the protest movement, however, a militant part developed in the following years, from which the first generation of the RAF and later the movement on June 2nd (1972), the Revolutionary Cells (1973) and the Red Zora (1977 at the latest) developed. The RAF saw itself as part of international anti-imperialism and was of the opinion that the “armed struggle” against so-called “US imperialism” must also be waged in Western Europe. In the first few years, their operations were tactically based on those of the guerrillas in South America. In parts of the former student movement, the K groups and from other circles of the population there was initially sympathy for the group. This was expressed, for example, in support campaigns and widespread, semi-legal support logistics, especially through the Red Aid . The list of prominent defenders of the first generation is also an indication of this. The second generation had largely lost this base due to their radicalism and operated as a secret, militant and isolated group even further away from the socio-political developments in the Federal Republic.


Arson attacks in 1968

Ulrike Meinhof as a young journalist in 1964. She founded the RAF in 1970 with Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Horst Mahler

After the strategy discussions in the student movement about the legitimation of “violence against things”, Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Thorwald Proll and Horst Söhnlein started fires in two Frankfurt department stores on April 2, 1968 with the help of time fuses to protest against the Vietnam War . The fires caused a damage of 673,204 DM. The arsonists were caught on April 4 and subsequently to three years prison sentenced. During the trial against the four arsonists, the later management level of the first RAF generation met directly. Horst Mahler represented the defendants as a lawyer and Ulrike Meinhof took part in the trial as a columnist for the magazine, specifically as a reporter.

After the convicts had applied for an appeal to the Federal Court of Justice, they were initially released. After the application was rejected, Baader and Ensslin went into hiding and, together with their lawyer Mahler, decided to found an urban guerrilla based on the Latin American model.

However, this plan was initially thwarted by the arrest of Andreas Baader, the leading member of the group. The police had arrested him after a tip from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution - undercover agent Peter Urbach during a fictitious traffic control. Urbach, nicknamed "S-Bahn-Peter", was an important supplier and supplier of weapons and bombs for people on the left in Berlin, whose services Baader and Mahler also used. Exactly what role he played in the formation of the RAF has not yet been fully clarified. Horst Mahler claims to have received his first pistol, a Browning 9 mm caliber and ammunition, from him.

First generation

Bomb attack on the Terrace Club behind the headquarters of the 5th US Corps in Frankfurt am Main in May 1972
Baader, Raspe and Meins were arrested on June 1, 1972 in front of this apartment building at Hofeckweg 2-4 in Frankfurt am Main. There was an exchange of fire in which police officers fired over 300 shots
The later Federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily, here in Bonn in 1983, was Gudrun Ensslin's defender in the Stammheim trial from 1975 to 1977
JVA Stuttgart-Stammheim. Photo from 2004
In such a hiding place in the files, lawyers smuggled three firearms into the high-security wing of the prison
Gravesite of Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe in the Dornhaldenfriedhof in Stuttgart

There was no formal establishment of the RAF. The first action - and thus the birth of the RAF - is considered to be the liberation of Baader on May 14, 1970. Andreas Baader was taken to the German Central Institute for Social Issues in Berlin because the journalist Ulrike Meinhof had given as a pretext to book a book with him wanting to write about foster children. On this occasion he was freed using gun violence and the institute employee Georg Linke was seriously injured by a gunshot. According to later statements, in particular by those involved in the crime, Astrid Proll and Monika Berberich , the liberators had planned a different course of action. Ulrike Meinhof should not flee with the perpetrators and go illegally, but stay behind at the crime scene. After the unplanned shootout with a seriously injured person, Meinhof spontaneously joined the fugitives, according to this information.

After Baader was liberated, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) began to search for the Baader-Meinhof group, which initially included around 20 people, and no longer just for individuals.

On June 5, 1970, the first public programmatic statement of the group appeared in the magazine Agit 883 with the text “Building the Red Army!” On June 15, 1970, an interview that the journalist Michèle Ray had conducted with the people in hiding appeared in Der Spiegel to whom they justify the violent liberation of Baader and once again proclaim the founding of the group.

From June to August 1970, Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Ulrike Meinhof, Horst Mahler, Peter Homann , Brigitte Asdonk and about a dozen other people stayed in a camp of the Palestinian Fatah in Jordan , where they received basic training in weapons science, shooting, and unarmed Combat, hand grenade throwing, explosives making and combat tactics. This enabled the group to organize its actions in the Federal Republic and represented a milestone in the development of terrorism, since for the first time one terrorist group had trained another with different goals and different nationalities.

During the development phase, the Baader-Meinhof Group initially attracted the attention of the state through several bank robberies, vehicle and document thefts, which were primarily aimed at maintaining life underground. For example, on September 29, 1970, in the so-called “Dreierschlag” with at least 16 people involved in the crime, three banks were attacked at the same time in Berlin and over 209,000 DM were looted. (According to other sources, only two robberies were the responsibility of the group.) On October 9, 1970, the police arrested Horst Mahler, Irene Goergens , Ingrid Schubert , Brigitte Asdonk and Monika Berberich at Knesebeckstrasse 89 in Berlin because of the robberies.

In April 1971 the RAF went public with the strategy paper The Urban Guerilla Concept . In it, the group calls itself the Red Army Faction for the first time and uses the symbol of the red star with a submachine gun. Shortly thereafter, the search for the group, which had previously concentrated on West Berlin, was expanded and intensified across the whole of Germany. Wanted posters were used, which were publicly displayed in every police station.

As announced in the scriptures, members of the RAF responded with armed resistance to arrest attempts. Soon there were fatalities on both sides. RAF member Petra Schelm was shot on July 15, 1971, and police officers Norbert Schmid and Herbert Schoner died on October 22 and December 22 of the same year . On March 1, 1972, a police officer shot and killed the seventeen-year-old apprentice Richard Epple after he had fled a traffic stop. The officer later said he thought he was a member of the RAF.

In 1972 the RAF started their so-called May Offensive . Four people were killed in six bomb attacks and over 70 were injured. On May 11, 1972, Baader, Ensslin and others bombed the headquarters of the V Corps of the American Armed Forces in Frankfurt am Main. Lieutenant Colonel Paul A. Bloomquist was killed and thirteen were injured. On May 12, 1972, there were attacks on police facilities in Augsburg and Munich , in which 17 people suffered severe injuries. On May 15, 1972, a bomb attached to the car of the investigating judge at the Federal Court of Justice Wolfgang Buddenberg exploded when his wife started the car. She was badly injured. On May 19, 1972, the “June 2nd Command” carried out a bomb attack on the Axel Springer AG publishing house in Hamburg . Of five explosives deposited in the building, four exploded and injured 38 people, some seriously. On May 24th there was an explosives attack on the headquarters of the 7th US Army in Heidelberg . Two vehicles with a total of 120 kilograms of explosives were parked on the site. Three American soldiers were killed and five other people were seriously injured.

After this series of attacks, the Federal Criminal Police Office stepped up the search for the perpetrators again considerably. On May 31, 1972, the so-called “Aktion Wasserschlag” took place - thousands of police officers and customs officers simultaneously set up roadblocks on almost all federal highways and motorway entrances, which caused traffic chaos and initially did not lead to arrests. The following day, however, Baader, Raspe and Holger Meins were stopped when they wanted to pick up vehicles from a garage in Frankfurt am Main. The garage had previously been discovered and observed. After Raspe was arrested, Baader and Meins holed up in the garage for over two hours until an exchange of fire broke out in which the police fired over 300 shots. Mine remained unharmed and, as required, only dressed in underpants, turned himself in to the police. Baader was shot in the buttocks and arrested.

Ensslin was arrested a week later in Hamburg after a saleswoman noticed a gun in her handbag. Ulrike Meinhof went to the police a few days later in Langenhagen near Hanover , after the teacher Fritz Rodewald had taken her into his apartment but then informed the police. Thus at the end of June 1972 the entire leadership of the first generation of the RAF was in custody.

In prison, the terrorists described their conditions of detention as "isolation torture" or "extermination custody" and demanded, among other things, their lifting and the status of prisoners of war . The detainees went on hunger strike ten times to support their demands, and Holger Meins died as a result of this on November 9, 1974 in the Wittlich prison . Meins' “martyr's death” became a central element of the RAF's communication strategy as apparent evidence of the state's “extermination custody”. After Meins died, more than 5,000 people gathered in Berlin despite a ban on demonstrations. Rudi Dutschke , the former head of the student movement , also came to the funeral in Hamburg . Although he had positioned himself against the RAF many times in his writings, he clenched his fist at the open grave and shouted: "Holger, the fight goes on!"

On October 30, 1974, Amnesty International's Hamburg office was occupied by a group of 32 supporters called the “Committee against Torture”, many of whom later joined the RAF . Amnesty International criticized the conditions of detention as solitary confinement and officially complained to Federal Justice Minister Hans-Jochen Vogel (SPD), who rejected the allegations.

In the course of 1973 the most important RAF prisoners were brought together on the seventh floor of the Stuttgart-Stammheim prison and brought to justice in a building specially built next to the prison, the so-called multi-purpose hall. The construction costs amounted to about twelve million DM. Contrary to the usual regulations, men and women and offenders who were accused together had the opportunity to talk to each other for hours almost every day. At least from this point on, there can be no talk of isolation of the prisoners. In fact, the prisoners enjoyed significantly more privileges than other prisoners. According to the current state of research, it has been proven that the second generation of the RAF was led out of prison by the imprisoned first generation until 1977 with the help of lawyers.

In 1974 the RAF excluded founding member Horst Mahler, who renounced terrorism the following year. In 1980 he was released early after serving two-thirds of his sentence for bank robbery and prison release. Mahler later appeared repeatedly as an anti-Semite , Holocaust denier and neo-Nazi and was sentenced to long term imprisonment for hate speech.

The activities of the detainees, with the help of their defense lawyers, such as the later self-indicted lawyers Klaus Croissant and Siegfried Haag , also had a broader resonance in the left wing. The lawyers of the first RAF generation included the later Green politicians Otto Schily , Hans-Christian Ströbele and Rupert von Plottnitz as well as Hans Heinz Heldmann .

The French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre intervened , who tried to mediate in the dispute over the RAF prisoners. On December 4, 1974, he visited Baader in the Stuttgart prison.

In December 1974 the German Bundestag passed new laws for the first time based on the threat posed by the RAF. By changing the Criminal Procedure Code , the maximum number of defense counsel was limited to three, the simultaneous defense of several defendants was prohibited, individual defense counsel was allowed to be excluded by the court and the continuation of a hearing without a defendant was allowed if the defendant was himself to blame for his inability to stand trial . In 1976 a new criminal offense arose with membership in a terrorist organization . The Contact Blocking Act made it possible in 1977 to temporarily ban conversations between defense lawyers and prisoners.

In May 1975 the arrested were charged and in April 1977, after 192 days of trial in the Stammheim trial , they were sentenced to life imprisonment for, among other things, murder. Ulrike Meinhof had already been sentenced to eight years imprisonment on November 29, 1974 for her involvement in the liberation of Baader.

Leading members of the first generation died in 1976 and 1977 in the high-security wing of the Stuttgart-Stammheim prison. On May 9, 1976, Ulrike Meinhof hanged herself on the cell window with a towel torn into strips. After the failure of the attempt of the second RAF generation to press the remaining prisoners free in the so-called "German Autumn", Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe died on October 18, 1977 by suicide on the so-called death night of Stammheim . Raspe and Baader shot themselves with weapons that had been smuggled in by the lawyers Arndt Müller and Armin Newerla . Ensslin hanged himself with a cable. Irmgard Möller inflicted four stab wounds in the heart area with the institution's own cutlery knife, but these were not fatal and survived. Möller denies the collective suicide to this day and, according to widespread conspiracy theories, speaks of state-ordered murders on the night of death in Stammheim . A few weeks later, on November 12, 1977, RAF founding member Ingrid Schubert hanged herself in her cell in the Munich prison .

Publications from 2007 show that the RAF prisoners in the Stuttgart JVA also during the German autumn of 1977 and immediately before and possibly even during the night of death in Stammheim through microphones in the cells and also through listening devices on the intercom system made by the prisoners were bugged. Officials deny that the authorities knew about the firearms in the high-security wing.

Second generation

Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (SPD) on July 13, 1977. In the autumn of 1977 in Germany, which was shaped by the RAF terror, he did not give in. The hostages in a hijacked Lufthansa plane were freed by the Federal Border Police, and the kidnapped Hanns Martin Schleyer was murdered by the RAF
Federal Prosecutor General Siegfried Buback , here 1976. His murder marked the start of the 1977 terror year
Employer President Hanns Martin Schleyer , here 1973. His kidnapping was the central event of the German Autumn. He was kidnapped, held for six weeks, and murdered in September 1977
Return of the rescued 90 hostages from the hijacked “Landshut” plane. October 1977
On August 25, 1977, an attack on the Federal Prosecutor's Office in Karlsruhe failed because the RAF's home-made rocket launcher did not work. Today he can be seen in the House of History in Bonn
On July 25, 1978, Lower Saxony's constitutional protection authorities blew a hole in the outer wall of the Celle prison in order to simulate an attempted liberation by the RAF
The then NATO Commander in Chief in Europe and later Foreign Minister of the USA, Alexander M. Haig jr. , here in January 1981. He survived a 1979 bomb attack by the second generation of the RAF
On August 31, 1981, the RAF bombed the headquarters of the US Air Forces in Europe in Ramstein

The second generation formed after the arrest of a large part of the first generation, whose writings and statements from prison achieved a great propaganda effect in left circles. Many of the members of the second generation came from the socialist patient collective founded on February 12, 1970 or were recruited by the first generation lawyers, Siegfried Haag and Klaus Croissant, who later went underground themselves. The group around Siegfried Haag and Roland Mayer got the name "Haag-Mayer-Gang" in the media.

On February 27, 1975, three days before the election of the Berlin House of Representatives , members of the “June 2nd Movement” took control of the CDU's top candidate , Peter Lorenz . The kidnappers demanded the release of imprisoned terrorists, including members of the RAF. The federal government responded for the first and only time to such an attempt at free compression and allowed Verena Becker , Gabriele Kröcher-Tiedemann , Ingrid Siepmann , Rolf Heissler and Rolf Pohle to fly to Aden in Yemen , in return Lorenz was released on March 4, 1975. The fact that four of the five released prisoners later became active again in terrorist activities encouraged the German government not to engage in negotiations with terrorists again.

After this success, the liberation of the imprisoned first generation was the main goal of the second. On April 24, 1975, when Stockholm was taken hostage , six RAF terrorists occupied parts of the German embassy in Stockholm and demanded the release of 26 prisoners from German prisons, including the RAF leadership. Participated Hanna Krabbe , Karl-Heinz Dellwo , Lutz Taufer , Bernhard Rössner , Ulrich Wessel and Siegfried Hausner who Andreas Baader lawyer Siegfried Haag had recruited. After two diplomats were murdered by the embassy occupiers, the hostage-taking ended in chaos because a terrorist explosive device accidentally detonated and set the entire building on fire. The terrorists Wessel and Hausner died as a result of the explosion. During the fire, the remaining hostages escaped and the four surviving perpetrators were arrested.

On November 30, 1976, the police arrested Siegfried Haag and found the so-called "Haag-Mayer Papers". These contained plans for the series of attacks in 1977. However, the investigators did not succeed in deciphering the encoded papers in time. After Haag's arrest, Brigitte Mohnhaupt , who had just been released from prison, took over the leadership of the second generation of the RAF.

On April 7, 1977 in Karlsruhe , the Federal Prosecutor General Siegfried Buback , his driver Wolfgang Göbel and the head of the driving force of the Federal Prosecutor's Office Georg Wurster were shot from a motorcycle in their car. The perpetrators have not yet been identified.

On July 30, 1977, the murder of Jürgen Ponto , the then spokesman for the board at Dresdner Bank, followed . The RAF member Susanne Albrecht was personally acquainted with the banker, so that he received her in his private house on Oberhöchstadter Strasse in Oberursel . Susanne Albrecht, Brigitte Mohnhaupt and Christian Klar appeared in Ponto's villa to kidnap him. When he defended himself, Klar and Mohnhaupt shot five times at Ponto, who later died in the hospital. The three perpetrators fled in a car driven by Peter-Jürgen Boock .

On August 25, 1977, an attack on the Federal Prosecutor's Office building in Karlsruhe failed.

In the so-called German autumn of September and October 1977, left-wing terrorism in Germany reached its peak. On September 5, 1977, the President of the Federal Association of Employers, Hanns Martin Schleyer, was kidnapped in Cologne and held until October 18, 1977. In order to bring Schleyer into their power, the kidnappers shot his driver and three bodyguards.

The aim was once again to release the imprisoned members of the first generation of the RAF. Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (SPD) then convened the so-called Great Crisis Team , which included members of all parliamentary groups in the Bundestag and which in fact took over the government until the end of the crisis. In October 1977 the Bundestag passed the Contact Blocking Act, which makes it possible to ban conversations between inmates and their lawyers.

Because the federal government did not respond to the hijackers' demands, the Lufthansa plane "Landshut" was hijacked on October 13, 1977 . A command from the Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is cooperating with the RAF , took control of the plane with 91 people on board. After several stopovers, the Landshut landed in Mogadishu , the capital of Somalia . There, the special unit GSG 9 of the Federal Border Guard violently ended the hostage-taking on October 18, 1977 around midnight CET. All 90 hostages were freed unharmed in this operation, three of the four terrorists were killed. Flight captain Jürgen Schumann had previously been shot by the leader of the terrorist group during one of the stopovers.

A few hours after the aircraft hostages were freed, the imprisoned RAF leadership committed collective suicide on the night of death in Stammheim . Hanns Martin Schleyer was shot dead on October 18, 1977 when his kidnappers learned of the prisoners' death. His body was found on October 19, 1977 in Mulhouse, France . Apart from a controversial statement by Peter-Jürgen Boock, there is still no information about the identity of the shooters.

In 1978 there was an event that was initially brought into connection with the RAF, but was verifiably staged by the state: the so-called Celler Loch . On July 25, 1978, Lower Saxony's Office for the Protection of the Constitution blasted a hole in the outer wall of the Celle prison in order to simulate an attempt at liberation and slipped the incarcerated, alleged RAF member Sigurd Debus' escape tools. Allegedly, the secret service wanted to smuggle undercover agents into the RAF. In 1986 journalists revealed the true background, which led to the establishment of a committee of inquiry in the Lower Saxony state parliament and contributed to the resignation of the long-standing Lower Saxony interior minister Wilfried Hasselmann (CDU).

Brigitte Mohnhaupt, Peter-Jürgen Boock, Sieglinde Hofmann and Rolf Clemens Wagner were arrested in Zagreb in Yugoslavia on May 11, 1978, but were allowed to travel to a country of their choice in November after the German government refused to exchange eight Croatian exiles. The departure took place in South Yemen .

On the morning of June 25, 1979, the RAF carried out an attack on NATO's Commander-in-Chief in Europe and later US Secretary of State, Alexander Haig , while he was on his way to his place of work at NATO headquarters in Casteau , Belgium. The terrorists had filled a pipe running under the road with explosives and detonated the charge when Haig's motorcade passed the spot. His Mercedes was hit and destroyed, but Haig and his driver were able to get to safety unharmed.

On November 19, 1979, four RAF members attacked a branch of the Swiss Volksbank in Zurich. They fled to the train station on stolen bicycles, where there was a shooting. A passerby was killed and a policeman was seriously injured. Rolf Clemens Wagner was arrested on the same day in downtown Zurich. In 1980, a Swiss court sentenced him to life imprisonment for this attack and the murder that was committed. He served this in Germany.

On April 16, 1981, the alleged RAF member Sigurd Debus died in the JVA Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel as a result of a hunger strike and the ordered force-feeding. The eighth collective hunger strike of the imprisoned RAF members, in which 68 prisoners took part, was then called off. Whether Debus was actually a member of the RAF and whether his hunger strike or medical errors by the prison doctors led to his death has not been conclusively clarified.

On August 31, 1981, the RAF bombed the headquarters of the US Air Forces in Europe in Ramstein . There were 14 injured.

On September 15, 1981, members of the RAF carried out an attack in Heidelberg on the Commander-in-Chief of the US Land Forces in Europe, General Frederick James Kroesen , in which four people were injured, some seriously. Christian Klar had fired at Kroesen's armored company car with an anti-tank missile of the type RPG-7 .

On October 26, 1982 one of 18 RAF earth depots was found in a wooded area near Heusenstamm in Hesse. Today there are doubts about the official version that this happened accidentally by mushroom pickers. Whether statements by imprisoned RAF members or a coincidence led to the exposure is controversial and the subject of current research. Later it turned out that it was the central depot of the RAF. There was approximately 50 ° 3 '54.4 "  N , 8 ° 45' 55.1"  O . In addition to weapons, ID documents and cash, references to almost all other earth depots, conspiratorial apartments and hiding places were found and these could also be deciphered. The police guarded depots and apartments for months and arrested the most important RAF members of the second generation by 1984. The logistics of the RAF in the Federal Republic were largely destroyed afterwards.

The inner balance of the RAF from 1978 to 1984 is shaped by life in the underground and the pressure of searches. In the meantime, many group members stayed among other things. in the Middle East. The members, who were constantly covertly underground, found hardly any safe quarters in the Federal Republic and were gradually arrested.

Ten so-called RAF dropouts went into hiding with the help of the Ministry for State Security (MfS) in the GDR and sometimes lived there for ten years under false identities. Even before German reunification , they were exposed in June 1990, arrested, extradited to the Federal Republic and, for the most part, sentenced to prison terms. At the beginning of the 1980s, several RAF members received military training while staying in the GDR for several weeks. It is unclear whether Klar and others learned or merely demonstrated the handling of armor-piercing weapons that were later used in attacks. What is certain is that Klar fired a rocket launcher at a Mercedes-Benz car in the presence of GDR officers. How far the support of the MfS went beyond this is unclear and is the subject of current research.

Third generation

Detlev Karsten Rohwedder, President of the Treuhandanstalt. He was murdered by an RAF sniper in 1991
Bad Kleinen train station. On June 27, 1993, a police officer and RAF member Wolfgang Grams died in an attempt to arrest them
Federal Minister of the Interior Rudolf Seiters (CDU). He resigned as a result of the GSG 9 deployment in Bad Kleinen

The third generation, according to information from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, an association of up to 20 people and 250 supporters, is held responsible for carrying out acts of sabotage and for several assassinations, to which personalities from German politics and business fell victim.

The members of the third generation of the RAF are hardly known. The Federal Prosecutor's Office knows less than half of its up to 20 members by name. Only Wolfgang Grams and Birgit Hogefeld are clearly assigned to the command level. Of the ten murders between 1985 and 1993, only one of the perpetrators is known. Unlike in the 1970s, the RAF was also isolated within the radical left. Their network of sympathizers largely dwindled. In 1992 the journalists Gerhard Wisnewski , Wolfgang Landgraeber and Ekkehard Sieker presented the controversial thesis of the RAF phantom - first in a TV report on the ARD broadcast Monitor , later in book form . Accordingly, the murders attributed to the third generation were not committed by the RAF, but by secret services . These suspicions are widely considered to be conspiracy theory.

In a paper published in May 1982, often called the May Paper , the RAF announced a change in its objectives. The focus was no longer on the term "Big Raushole", i.e. the liberation of the imprisoned members, but precisely planned attacks and cooperation with other Western European left-wing extremist terror groups, such as the Action Directe in France, the Brigate Rosse in Italy and the Cellules Communistes Combattantes in Belgium.

On the morning of February 1, 1985, two people shot dead Ernst Zimmermann , head of the MTU Aero Engines (MTU) group, which is also involved in the defense industry , in his home. Her identity is still unknown to this day.

On August 7, 1985, US soldier Edward Pimental was lured out of a bar by Birgit Hogefeld and murdered hours later by an unknown RAF member with a shot in the back of the head in order to get his identification card . The card was used by a male RAF member on August 8, 1985 to get to the Rhein-Main Air Base and park a car as an explosive bomb. In the following bomb attack on Rhein-Main Air Base , a US soldier and a civilian employee were killed and 23 people were injured. The letters of confession bore the emblems of the RAF and Action Directe . The murder of Pimental met with heavy criticism in the left-wing scene because, as a simple soldier who was targeted by the terrorists only because of his access authorization to the air force base, he did not correspond to the enemy image. When the outrage continued, the RAF described the murder as a "political error" five months later.

On July 9, 1986, Siemens manager Karl Heinz Beckurts and his chauffeur Eckhard Groppler died in Straßlach as a result of a bomb attack by the RAF's "Mara Cagol Command". The only suspect of this act was Horst Ludwig Meyer . He was killed in an exchange of fire with the police in Vienna in 1999 .

On October 10, 1986, the diplomat Gerold von Braunmühl in the Foreign Office was shot by two people in front of his residence in Bonn-Ippendorf . Here, too, the perpetrators are still unknown to this day.

On November 30, 1989, a bomb on a prepared bicycle on the side of the road in Bad Homburg killed the head of Deutsche Bank , Alfred Herrhausen . His chauffeur suffered minor injuries, and it was not possible to determine who was responsible.

On July 27, 1990, State Secretary Hans Neusel survived a bomb attack by the RAF "Command Jose Manuel Sevillano" on his car at the Bonn-Auerberg motorway exit.

At the height of the Gulf War , several people shot three rifles from Koenigswinter across the Rhine at the US embassy in Deichmannsaue Castle , Bonn. Of the more than 250 shots fired, around 60 hit the building. In a letter of confession left at the scene of the crime, the RAF referred to the "US-NATO genocide" in Iraq. There was a hair in the getaway car that years later could be attributed to Daniela Klette .

On April 1, 1991, an RAF sniper murdered the President of the Treuhandanstalt , Detlev Karsten Rohwedder . His wife was injured. Once again, the perpetrator or perpetrators could not be identified. The rifle had already been used in Bonn in February. Ten years later, the Federal Criminal Police Office reported that a DNA analysis of hair found at the crime scene suggested that Wolfgang Grams was involved. The value of the analysis has come under fire.

At the beginning of 1992 Federal Justice Minister Klaus Kinkel (FDP) offered the RAF prisoners release from prison if they refrained from further actions. The RAF responded indirectly and stated that it wanted to "take back the escalation". Today it is known that the so-called Kinkel Initiative triggered a break among the RAF prisoners. Brigitte Mohnhaupt and others rejected the offer. Karl-Heinz Dellwo, Lutz Taufer and others wanted to go into this.

On the night of March 26th to 27th, 1993, the RAF carried out the last action with the bomb attack against the Weiterstadt prison . More than 200 kilograms of explosives destroyed three accommodation buildings and the administration wing of the institution under construction. The rest of the facility was badly damaged. People weren't hurt. The material damage amounted to 80 to 90 million DM. The opening of the prison was delayed until 1997. Initially only Wolfgang Grams and Birgit Hogefeld were suspects. Daniela Klette, Ernst-Volker Staub and Burkhard Garweg are now considered to be further possible perpetrators based on DNA traces.

On June 27, 1993, a GSG-9 mission took place in Bad Kleinen to arrest Wolfgang Grams and Birgit Hogefeld. The undercover agent Klaus Steinmetz , who had come into contact with the current RAF command level, had met with Hogefeld, Grams joined them. Although over 100 police officers, including almost 40 GSG-9 officers and the undercover agent, were present, it was not possible to arrest Grams in an orderly manner. While Hogefeld was arrested in the station underpass, Grams fled on platform 4/5. There he opened an exchange of fire, killed the 26-year-old GSG-9 officer Michael Newrzella and seriously injured another officer. Grams himself died from a head shot. The circumstances surrounding his death are controversial. Witness statements suggested an execution-like shooting of Grams who had fallen on track bed 4, while the Schwerin public prosecutor's office - repeatedly judicially checked - came to the conclusion that Grams had shot himself in a hopeless situation in all probability. Because of false statements and inadequate forensic evidence, there was a crisis of public confidence in the security authorities. As a result, Federal Interior Minister Rudolf Seiters (CDU) resigned from his office. Federal Prosecutor General Alexander von Stahl also lost his office. Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) put him into temporary retirement on July 6, 1993.

After the dissolution in 1998

On April 20, 1998, Reuters in Cologne received an eight-page letter, classified as authentic, in which the RAF announced its self-dissolution. It says:

“Almost 28 years ago, on May 14, 1970, the RAF came into being as part of a liberation campaign. Today we finish this project. The urban guerrilla in the form of the RAF is now history. "

The declaration ends with the memory of the dead from among the terrorists , a list of 26 people from the June 2nd Movement, the Revolutionary Cells, the RAF and those around them. The 34 deaths of the RAF are not mentioned in this, but the choice of Hanns Martin Schleyer as a victim is justified again at the time the text is received. The group has not appeared since the declaration.

The search for suspected former members also continued. Andrea Klump and Horst Ludwig Meyer were picked up by the Austrian police in September 1999. Meyer was killed in an exchange of fire. Although Klump was convicted of terrorist acts, the allegation of membership in the RAF could not be proven and is denied by her to this day.

After a robbery on a money transporter in Duisburg in July 1999, in which traces of the wanted Ernst-Volker Staub and Daniela Klette were found, the fear arose that the RAF could re-establish itself as a "fourth generation" and fall back on the former structures . The Federal Court of Justice then expanded the arrest warrant for dust and burdock to include the suspicion of the formation of a new terrorist organization. Klette, Staub and Burkhard Garweg, who are also wanted, are said to have been involved in two further failed robberies on money transporters in June 2015 in Stuhr - Groß Mackenstedt and in December 2015 in Wolfsburg , as well as in a successful robbery in June 2016 in Cremlingen . According to the Verden public prosecutor's office and RAF experts Butz Peters and Klaus Pflieger , there is nothing in the recent acts to suggest a terrorist background, but only served to raise money for life in the underground.


Document disguised as road traffic regulations by RAF co-founder Horst Mahler from 1971. It contains the text "Closing the gaps in revolutionary theory - building up the Red Army!"
Again and again there were solidarity actions for the imprisoned members of the RAF
Shot with texts and posters by left-wing groups from Germany, the Netherlands and the USA from the 1970s
The CDU accused the ruling coalition of the SPD and FDP of trivializing terrorism. Poster from 1977 with a photo of the attack on Buback
Student leader Rudi Dutschke condemned the terror of the RAF in many writings, but in 1974 he attended the funeral of RAF member Holger Meins and shouted at his grave "Holger, the fight goes on!"

The RAF developed theoretical systems of meaning in order to empower itself for its deeds and to legitimize its actions. The contemporary historian Petra Terhoeven points out that these systems of meaning were never consistent and that the “RAF brand” was characterized by eclecticism , which, in addition to ideology, also concerned the style of self-expression.

There are around 40 major statements from the first generation of the RAF, which came about in the form of interviews, statements at court hearings, so-called cell circulars, i.e. writings that were passed on among the imprisoned RAF members, and letters of self-accusation after terrorist attacks. In the ideological parts, especially those of Horst Mahler and Ulrike Meinhof, Maoist tendencies can be identified. The members of the RAF dealt strongly with the neo-Marxism of the Frankfurt School , although the representatives of this direction decidedly distanced themselves from terrorism.

The RAF authors opposed the state apparatus of what was then the Federal Republic of Germany, known as the “system”, and ascribed fascist tendencies to Western European societies, like the student APO before it . In particular, they accused the allegedly unprocessed and still working National Socialist past of Germany. In research, the RAF is also seen as a reaction to what was perceived as illiberal state action in West Germany in the 1960s and 1970s.

The RAF writings hardly played a role in the public discussion. This also applies in part to critical statements such as the text of the Göttingen Mescalero about the Buback assassination or a television interview by Daniel Cohn-Bendits on ARD about the murder of Schleyer. Such contributions were mostly not clearly differentiated from the writings of the RAF and were sometimes taken for positions of sympathizers of the terrorists.

Relevant left-wing intellectuals of the time condemned the theory and practice of the RAF. In his diaries, for example, Rudi Dutschke spoke of "RAF stupidity" and said:

"The negative effects of the RAF shit can be seen in many places, the CDU / CSU in particular, the government in general and RAF shit in particular seem to be married: to inhibit the political class struggle!"

- Rudi Dutschke

After the raid by the RAF on the German embassy in Stockholm, Herbert Marcuse , whose writings had strongly influenced the student movement, gave an interview to the ARD. When asked whether the RAF could not invoke him and whether the terrorists were perpetrators of political conviction, he replied:

“I still consider myself a Marxist. Marxism rejects terror ... individual terror and terror of small groups without a mass base as a revolutionary weapon ... subjectively it can be assumed that they consider and have considered their action to be political action. Objectively, this is not the case. If political action deliberately leads to the victim of innocents, then that is exactly the point where political action, subjectively political action, turns into crime. "

- Herbert Marcuse

Research only partially takes the self-statements of the RAF seriously. According to the publicist Karin Wieland, the acts of the terrorists by no means served the purposes they propagated, but primarily to reassure themselves. Political scientist Wolfgang Kraushaar concedes that there was a global justification for “anti-imperialism”, but within the RAF there was no reflection “what the respective deeds and actions should have meant in the concrete political landscape of the Federal Republic”. This was simply indifferent to the members of the group.

First writings

The first generation - especially the former journalist Ulrike Meinhof - justified their own radicalism in several writings, including four combat writings that emerged after a long group discussion. On June 5, 1970, the first public programmatic declaration of the RAF appeared in the magazine Agit 883, the text Building the Red Army!

On the same day, Ulrike Meinhof, Horst Mahler, Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin met conspiratorially with the French journalist Michèle Ray in Berlin . On a tape, the wording of which Der Spiegel later printed in "unedited excerpts", Meinhof explained:

“Of course we say the cops are pigs, we say the guy in uniform is a pig, that's not a human, and so we have to deal with him. That means we don't have to talk to him and it is wrong to talk to these people at all, and of course there is shooting. "

- Ulrike Meinhof

Meinhof justified the liberation of Baader and the start of the armed struggle and deals with the critical reactions within the left. She stated: "The intellectual left has by and large rejected the action." This criticism can be ignored because "one has to come to a political cooperation (...) with the part of the proletariat that does not receive any gratuities (...) that he allows himself to be exploited. "Meinhof criticized:

“... the left [have] understood that the revolution will not be made by them, but by the proletariat, that one has to go to the factories and to the districts and that the organization has to take place. But we are of the opinion that the organization of the proletariat is a bogus if one does not start at the same time to do what we are doing now, namely to build up the Red Army. "

This is the name under which the group operated from then on. The word “faction” was added a short time later. The RAF later did not recognize the tape interview in Das Concept Stadtguerilla as a statement by the entire group.

“The Urban Guerilla Concept” - April 1971

One year after building the Red Army! the first detailed position paper of the RAF, The Concept of Urban Guerilla, was published . The fourteen-page book was sent to left-wing groups and individuals. It is divided into six sections and contains a comprehensive rationale for “starting the armed struggle”.

The first section, Concrete Answers to Concrete Questions , justifies the armed liberation of Baader. It is declared that the time for armed struggle is now ripe. Literally it says:

“We claim that the organization of armed resistance groups at this point in time in the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin is right, possible, justified. That it is right, possible and justified to do urban guerrillas here and now. That the armed struggle as 'the highest form of Marxism-Leninism ' (Mao) can and must now be started, that without it there will be no anti-imperialist struggle in the metropolises. "

It is also about the search pressure that the group has been exposed to since the start of this fight. The shootings during arrest attempts are discussed:

“On May 14th, as well as in Frankfurt, where two of us ran away when they were about to be arrested for not just allowing ourselves to be arrested - the cops shot first. The cops fired well-aimed shots every time. In some cases, we didn't shoot at all, and when we did, we didn't shoot it with aim: in Berlin, in Nuremberg, in Frankfurt. That is demonstrable because it is true. We do not 'use the weapon recklessly'. The cop (...) is not in a state of emergency. We shoot when we are shot. We let the cop who let us go too. "

In the second section Metropolis Federal Republic it is said that the social-liberal coalition absorbs the dissatisfaction of the extra-parliamentary opposition. Through development and military aid, the Federal Republic of Germany is involved in US wars and thus benefits from the exploitation of the Third World .

In the third section, student revolt , the RAF explains the history of the student movement. This disintegrated because it had not succeeded in developing a practice appropriate to its goals.

In the fourth section, the primacy of practice , one speaks of a strategy that unites the working class. The prerequisite for the standardization process is the “revolutionary initiative” and the “practical revolutionary intervention of the avant-garde”. Furthermore, proletarian internationalism is named and the dictatorship of the proletariat announced. The conclusion of this section is the assessment that it is now time for armed struggle.

The fifth section of the urban guerrilla refers to South American guerrilla fighters, especially the Tupamaros in Uruguay. As in South America, weak revolutionary forces are only capable of guerrilla tactics. Literally it means that the concept of urban guerrilla aims to "destroy the state apparatus of rule at individual points, in places to override it, to destroy the myth of the omnipresence of the system and its invulnerability."

In the sixth section, Legality and Illegality , Ulrike Meinhof deals with the thesis that was popular at the time: “ Break what breaks you ”. She warns against blind actionism and hasty abandonment of legality. She also describes the RAF as a link between legal and illegal forces and between resistance groups from all other countries. The RAF is the immediate revolutionary intervention, as a contribution to the communist world revolution. Literally it says:

“The duty of a revolutionary is to always fight, to fight anyway, to fight to the death - there is no revolutionary fight and there has not yet been one whose morality was not these: Russia, China, Cuba, Algeria, Palestine, Vietnam . (...) We will not talk about armed propaganda, we will make it. "

In summary, in the first RAF publication, the clear separation from the enemy, the state, is in the foreground. The armed struggle from underground is justified and ideologically underpinned. The RAF sees itself as a pioneer of an international communist movement. It says:

“... because we are communists and it depends on whether the communists organize and fight, whether terror and repression only cause fear and resignation or provoke resistance and class hatred and solidarity, whether everything is going so smoothly in the sense of imperialism works or not. "

Two months after the urban guerrilla concept , the paper " Closing the gaps in revolutionary theory - building the Red Army" appeared in Berlin in June 1971 . Horst Mahler wrote the 65-page paper while he was in custody and describes the "armed struggle as the highest form of class struggle" because the "possessing classes" have secured "the decisive influence on the state levers of power". The prerequisite for the “revolution of the masses” is “weaning from obedience to the civil legal order”. After Mahler's expulsion from the RAF in June 1974, the group no longer recognized this text as one of their own.

"Urban guerrilla and class struggle" - April 1972

Eighteen months later, in April 1972, the sixty-page paper Red Army Faction - Urban Guerilla and Class Struggle in the Federal Territory was sent. The author was Ulrike Meinhof.

In the foreword, Meinhof glorifies the death of the group members and supporters Petra Schelm, Georg von Rauch and Thomas Weisbecker who were shot as part of the RAF manhunt . Literally it says:

“Petra, Georg and Thomas died fighting against dying in the service of the exploiters. They were murdered so that capital can continue killing undisturbed and so that people continue to think that there is nothing they can do about it. But the fight has only just begun! "

Meinhof tries to prove the link between exploitation and politics in three chapters. In all chapters it is claimed that more and more people are dissatisfied with the capitalist system, which is expressed in ever greater resistance actions. Meinhof keeps coming back to the importance of practice, that is, of armed struggle. Literally it says:

"At the present stage of history no one can deny that an armed group, however small it may be, has a better chance of turning itself into a great people's army than a group that limits itself to preaching revolutionary tenets."

In the fourth section, On Current Individual Issues , the subject of treason is addressed. Traitors are to be excluded from the revolution, even if they are "poor pigs". What exactly is meant by this remains open. In the following, the RAF bank robberies are justified and referred to as "expropriation actions". In the final sentences Meinhof apologized to the sympathizers that the RAF had been dealing with logistical development and not launching any “popular actions”. It is only a matter of time, she announces. The script ends with a few slogans such as "Serve the people!", "Build the revolutionary guerrilla!" And "Victory for the people's war!"

The so-called second RAF combat script is shaped by life in the underground. Treason had become an issue. Karl-Heinz Ruhland and Peter Homann had left the group and gave extensive testimony. Meinhof's appeal for solidarity is a sign that it became increasingly difficult for the group to find accommodation in 1972. Their justification for the bank robberies is a kind of response to criticism of these actions from the left. The sympathizers who finally wanted to see “popular actions” were exhorted to be patient.

“The Black September Action in Munich” - November 1972

Six months later, in November 1972, the third RAF publication "Red Army Fraction - The Black September Action in Munich - On the Strategy of the Anti-Imperialist Struggle" appeared. The author was again Ulrike Meinhof. She commented on the hostage-taking of Munich on September 5, 1972 , in which eleven hostages died:

“The Black September action made the essence of imperialist rule and the anti-imperialist struggle more transparent and recognizable than any revolutionary action in West Germany or West Berlin. It was anti-imperialist, anti-fascist and internationalist at the same time. "

In the face of this action, the West German left could find its political identity again, claimed Meinhof.

The script is divided into four sections - Imperialism , Opportunism , Fascism, and Anti-Imperialist Action . Meinhof denounces "the multinational corporations" that support wars against the Third World. In the second part she deals with Marx research and calls the left professor Oskar Negt an opportunist. He had previously criticized the RAF actions as "non-political". Meinhof repeatedly praises the murders in Munich in this publication. The script ends with the sentence:

"The action of Black September can no longer be suppressed from the memory of the anti-imperialist struggle."

She does not blame the hostages for the death of the hostages, but rather the State of Israel , which "burned its athletes like the Nazis burned the Jews - fuel for the imperialist policy of extermination". In other places it is Israel with the Nazi state the same when she writes of "Israel's Nazi-fascism" or the " Moshe Dayan -Faschismus - this Himmler Israel."

The entire text reflects Meinhof's resignation and anger. She wrote it shortly after her arrest in September and October 1972 in her cell in Cologne. It was here for the first time that the idea of ​​freeing arrested members through acts of terrorism emerged. In Munich, the Palestinian terrorists demanded the release of accomplices imprisoned in Israel. Meinhof adopted this approach.

In 1977 the 600-page book Texts: the RAF was published , a compilation of writings, letters of self-accusation and declarations of lawsuits.

“Guerrilla, Resistance and the Anti-Imperialist Front” - May 1982

In May 1982, a twenty-page basic paper with the title Guerrilla, Resistance and Anti-imperialist Front , also called “May Paper”, appeared; it was later printed by the daily newspaper . This was the first principle in ten years and the last ever. It is unclear who wrote the text.

In it, the group claims to have “emerged stronger than before through the effects of the confrontation”. Errors in the actions of 1977 are admitted and a new formula is drafted called “Guerrilla and Resistance. One front. ”The authors paint a picture of an“ anti-imperialist front ”in Western Europe that has yet to be organized and that works closely together on“ coordinated militant projects ”. The RAF claims that there is a "unity of imperialist reaction" worldwide. It goes on to say: "The development in Western Europe has become a pivotal point in the global conflict." The script is full of military expressions such as front , offensive and mobilization .

The RAF tried to win new supporters with this document. The autonomists in particular are encouraged to cooperate. The chapter on resistance in the May paper addresses the squatter scene in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin directly and calls on them to take greater action. A group of 20 champions alone could not create a revolutionary situation and was dependent on support from the so-called resistance. The writing announces the collaboration with other Western European terrorist groups, such as the Action Directe in France , the Brigate Rosse in Italy or the Cellules Communistes Combattantes in Belgium.

The writing, also known as the Resistance Paper, found no approval in the left-wing scene and, on the contrary, caused rejection. The paper contains sentences like

"If the struggle of the guerrillas is your own cause, the realization of it can only be to place yourself - at whatever level, politically and practically in the context of the guerrilla strategy."

and was also condemned by leftists as cumbersome and meaningless. The taz wrote in its editorial, the paper cover up "eloquently their own prospects." The left newspaper refused to emphatically against "the tutelage of a few political intellectuals who seem particularly revolutionary because they have a machine gun in the closet. RAF - fuck off! "

For the period after 1982 until the dissolution in 1998, there are no more programmatic principles from the third generation, but only letters of confession and justification for concrete deeds and conflicts.


Collections of RAF writings



  • Uwe Backes , Eckhard Jesse : Totalitarianism - Extremism - Terrorism. A literary guide and guide to extremism research in the Federal Republic of Germany (= Analyzes. Volume 38). 2nd edition, Leske + Budrich, Opladen 1985, ISBN 3-8100-0437-5 .
  • Peter Hein: Urban guerrilla and armed struggle in the FRG and West Berlin. A bibliography. Edition ID archive in the IISG , Amsterdam 1989, ISBN 3-89408-102-3 . (PDF)
  • Peter Hein: Urban guerrilla and armed struggle in the FRG. Supplementary volume to the bibliography. Edition ID archive, Berlin / Amsterdam 1993, ISBN 3-89408-103-3 .
  • Selected bibliography: Contributions to the discussion on the politics of the RAF and the political prisoners since April 1992. In: ID archive in the International Institute for Social History / Amsterdam (Ed.): “We have more questions than answers”. RAF. discussions 1992–1994. Edition ID-Archiv, Berlin / Amsterdam 1995, ISBN 3-89408-044-2 , pp. 367-383.
  • Burkhard von Schassen, Christof Kalden: Terrorism. A selection bibliography (= writings of the library for contemporary history . World War Library Stuttgart. New series of the bibliographies of the World War Library . Volume 27). Bernard & Graefe, Koblenz 1989, ISBN 3-7637-0232-6 .

Comprehensive presentations

On individual aspects

Web links

Commons : Red Army Faction  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Portal: RAF  - in the news


Individual evidence

  1. a b Dossier: The History of the RAF. In: Federal Agency for Civic Education . Bonn 2015; Butz Peters: Tödlicher Errtum , Berlin 2004, p. 30; Petra Terhoeven: The Red Army Fraction , Munich 2017, p. 7. There, 34 murders are assumed. According to the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court , it is unclear whether the shooting of Kletzhändler in 1979 can be attributed to the RAF or the police. Without them there are 33 casualties of the RAF.
  2. Where does the name "Red Army Faction" come from? In: Hannoversche Allgemeine . Hanover August 17th 2007. (online)
  3. Klaus Pflieger : The Red Army Fraction - RAF . 3. Edition. Nomos Verlag, Baden-Baden 2011, ISBN 978-3-8329-5582-3 , p. 298 .
  4. Michael Sontheimer: The last chapter . In: Der Spiegel . No. 38 , 2006, p. 44-46 ( Online - Nov. 18, 2006 ).
  5. a b A balance sheet of the terror. In: Spiegel-Online . Hamburg April 25, 2007. (online)
  6. Stephan Trinius: grace before justice? Bonn, August 31, 2008. (online)
  7. ^ Johannes Korge: After 18 years - ex-RAF member Hogefeld released from custody. In: Spiegel-Online. Hamburg June 21, 2011. (online)
  8. Wolfgang Kraushaar: Models of thought of the 68er movement. In: From Politics and Contemporary History . B 22-23 2001, pp. 14-27 (online) .
  9. Friedrich Mager , Ulrich Spinnarke: What do the students want? Fischer-Verlag, November 1967, p. 112 (online) .
  10. On the situation from 1969 to early 1970, see also: rotaprint 25 (ed.): Agit 883. Movement Revolte Untergrund in West Berlin 1969–1972. Association A, Hamburg / Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-935936-53-2 (especially the articles by Hanno Balz and Michael Hahn). As well as: Ralf Reinders, Ronald Fritzsch: The June 2nd Movement. Conversations about hash rebels, the kidnapping of Lorenz, prison. Edition ID archive, Berlin / Amsterdam 1995, ISBN 3-89408-052-3 .
  11. ^ A b Jeremy Varon: Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies. University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London 2004, ISBN 0-520-24119-3 , pp. 1-5 (online) .
  12. a b c d e f Anne Kauth, Bernd Reufels: The history of the RAF. TV documentary for the Second German Television (ZDF), Mainz January 8, 2014.
  13. Cf. Ernesto Che Guevara : Partisan War - One Method. Human and socialism in Cuba. With a foreword by Erich Eisner (SDS Munich). Self-published, SDS Munich, SDS Cologne September 1966; Régis Debray : Revolution within the Revolution? Armed struggle and political struggle in Latin America. Trikont Verlag, Munich 1967; Ernesto Che Guevara: Letter to the Executive Secretariat of OSPAAL: Let's create two, three, many Vietnam. The essence of partisan struggle. Introduced and translated by Gaston Salvatore and Rudi Dutschke. Oberbaumverlag, 2nd revised edition, undated [1968] ( Kleine revolutionäre Bibliothek series, 1). [First edition under the title Let's create two, three, many Vietnam. Oberbaumpresse, Berlin 1967]; Carlos Marighella : Mini Guide to the Urban Guerrilla. In: Socialist Politics . Ed .: Otto Suhr Institute Berlin. Vol. 2, No. 6/7 June 1970, pp. 143-166; later in: Marcio M. Alves, Konrad Detrez, Carlos Marighela (eds.): Smash the wealth islands of the Third World. With the manual of the guerrillas of Sao Paulo. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1971 (series: rororo aktuell 1453/1454), ISBN 3-499-11453-4 . See also: Focus Theory .
  14. Gerd Koenen: Rainer, if you only knew! The attack on the Jewish community on November 9, 1969 has now been solved - almost. What was the role of the state? In: Berliner Zeitung . Berlin July 6, 2005 (online)
  15. Willi Winkler: A ZEIT conversation with ex-terrorist Horst Mahler about apo, the path to terror and reconciliation with the Basic Law. In: The time. No. 19, Hamburg May 2, 1997. (online)
  16. a b rotaprint 25 (ed.): Agit 883. Revolte underground movement in West Berlin 1969–1972. Association A, Hamburg / Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-935936-53-2 All editions of the 883 as facsimile with title pages and table of contents as PDF Facsimile documentation of the declaration and a short preceding declaration as PDF: agit 883 No. 61, May 22nd 1970, p. 2 online (PDF; 2.5 MB) and: agit 883, No. 62, June 5, 1970, p. 6. online (PDF; 2.4 MB); Martin Hoffmann (Ed.) Red Army Fraction. Texts and materials on the history of the RAF. ID-Verlag, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-89408-065-5 , p. 24ff. (as PDF; 1.5 MB)
  17. a b To somewhere . In: Der Spiegel . No. 25 , 1970, pp. 76 ( Online - June 5, 1970 ).
  18. Mark Alexander Zöller: Terrorism Criminal Law: A Handbook . Heidelberg 2009, ISBN 978-3-8114-3921-4 , p. 39.
  19. a b State Office for the Protection of the Constitution Baden-Württemberg : Red Army Fraction , Stuttgart July 19, 2011. ( online ( Memento from July 19, 2011 in the Internet Archive ))
  20. Michael Sontheimer : We want to go to the front . In: Der Spiegel . No. 40 , 2007, p. 76 ( Online - Oct. 1, 2007 ).
  21. a b c d Ulrike Meinhof: The concept of urban guerrilla. 1970. In: Christiane Schneider (Ed.): Selected documents from contemporary history: Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) - Red Army Fraction (RAF). Publishing company Political Reports, Cologne 1987, ISBN 3-926922-00-1 . (on-line)
  22. Christine Buth: German history: RAF. In: May 8, 2018, accessed November 2, 2020 .
  23. In the RAF publication Das Concept Stadtguerilla it says: “We shoot when someone shoots at us. We let the cop who let us go too. "
  24. Butz Peters: Deadly error. The history of the RAF. Argon, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-87024-673-1 , p. 285.
  25. Wolfgang Kraushaar (Ed.): The RAF and the Left Terrorism Volume 2nd Edition Hamburg, Hamburg 2006, ISBN 3-936096-65-1 , p. 1076 ff.
  26. ^ The BKA attributed this act to Ulrike Meinhof because of statements made by Karl-Heinz Ruhland . Brigitte Mohnhaupt , on the other hand, testified that Meinhof did not know anything about it and only went to Hamburg afterwards to criticize the perpetrators. Ensslin confirmed in the Stammheim trial that the group of perpetrators in Hamburg acted autonomously and that the RAF leadership, including Meinhof's course and result of this attack, had subsequently rejected.
  27. Mario Krebs: Ulrike Meinhof. A life in contradiction. Rowohlt, 1995, ISBN 3-499-15642-3 , p. 234 f.
  28. Robert Wolff: Torture and murder of the “heroes of the people” in German penal institutions? The conspiratorial worldview of the Red Army Faction, 1970–1977 . In: Johannes Kuber, Michael Butter, Ute Caumanns, Bernd-Stefan Grewe, Johannes Großmann (eds.): From back rooms and secret machinations. Conspiracy theories in the past and present (= In Dialogue - Contributions from the Academy of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, 3/2020). Pp. 121-138, here: pp. 133-136.
  29. Michael Sontheimer: "Holger, the fight goes on!" In: Der Spiegel , Hamburg November 8, 2007. ( online )
  30. Terror scene: group picture with women . In: Der Spiegel . No. 33 , 1977, pp. 30 ( online ).
  31. In: Amnesty Internationals work on prison conditions in the Federal Republic of Germany for persons who are suspected of politically motivated crimes or are convicted of such crimes: Isolation and solitary confinement. Bonn, amnesty international publications, Bonn 1980, pp. 5ff. It says: “As early as 1974, when many other members of this organization [i.e. Red Army Faction] were in custody, allegations of torture and solitary confinement and the use of sensory deprivation techniques were widespread. Review of such allegations revealed that increasing numbers of these detainees had been held in isolation for long periods, both before and after their final convictions. In 1976/77 it was certain that in many cases they had already been imprisoned for four, five or even six years under different isolation conditions, ranging from total isolation and solitary confinement to isolation in small groups. Towards the end of 1977 [the] International Executive Committee of the organization [di Amnesty International] commissioned an investigation into the matter. In December 1978 the final report of this investigation was presented. The detention conditions of the inmates whose cases were examined in the course of this investigation amounted to severe forms of isolation. On the basis of the material consulted, the investigation concluded that many inmates had clear symptoms that corresponded to the general pattern described above, but were extremely pronounced and in some cases were reminiscent of the effects of sensory deprivation in experimental situations. "
  32. Günter Riederer: 1974: Visit of the old man. In: Friday . December 10, 2014. (online)
  33. ^ Walter de Gruyter: Code of Criminal Procedure and the Courts Constitution Act. 2007, p. 774 f. (Online)
  34. Butz Peters: Deadly error. The history of the RAF. Argon-Verlag, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-87024-673-1 , p. 352.
  35. Ulf G. Stuberger: The days of Stammheim: as an eyewitness to the RAF trial. Herbig Verlag, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-7766-2528-8 .
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  38. Martin Knobbe: The Prosecutor. In: Stern online . Hamburg 2010. (online)
  39. ^ Butz Peters: RAF terrorism in Germany. Knaur, ISBN 3-426-80019-5 , pp. 268-270.
  40. Butz Peters: Deadly error. Argon, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-87024-673-1 , p. 222 ff.
  41. Stefan Aust: The Baader Meinhof Complex. Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 1985, ISBN 3-426-03874-9 , p. 412 ff.
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  43. Interview with Irmgard Möller ( Memento of May 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), Die Rote Hilfe Zeitung 4/1997, website of the Rote Hilfe , August 30, 2006
  44. ↑ A fateful turn . In: Der Spiegel . No. 46 , 1972, p. 68-73 ( online - November 6, 1972 ).
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  51. ^ Heribert Prantl : Wisniewski? Stefan Wisniewski? In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . Munich April 22, 2007. (online) .
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  53. Der Spiegel December 9, 2003 “RAF terrorist released”.
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  55. Jens Bauszus, The RAF Stasi Connection. In: Focus . Hamburg May 8, 2007. (online)
  56. Jan-Hendrik Schulz: The relations between the Red Army Fraction (RAF) and the Ministry for State Security (MfS) in the GDR. In: Zeitgeschichte Online , May 2007; in detail Butz Peters : Deadly error. The history of the RAF. Argon, Berlin 2004, pp. 578-581 and pp. 588-591.
  57. Stefan Aust: The Baader Meinhof Complex . Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-455-50029-5 , p. 256.
  58. ^ Butz Peters: RAF - Terrorism in Germany. Droemer Knaur, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-426-80019-5 , p. 335.
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  61. 8.15 p.m. ARD. A letter and its consequences . In: Der Spiegel . No. 21 , 1988 ( online - May 23, 1985 ).
  62. ^ Andres Veiel : Black Box BRD. Alfred Herrhausen, Deutsche Bank, The RAF and Wolfgang Grams. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-596-15985-7 , pp. 10-13.
  63. Possible goal . In: Der Spiegel . No. 31 , 1990, pp. 60-62 ( online - 30 July 1990 ).
  64. Dirk Banse, Sven Felix Kellerhoff : The secret of the last fatal RAF attack. In: The world. April 1, 2011; Georg Mascolol : Treacherous woman's hair. In: Der Spiegel. January 11, 2002.
  65. Only a hindrance . In: Der Spiegel . No. 3 , 1992, p. 79-81 ( Online - Jan. 13, 1992 ). ; "A considerable opportunity" . In: Der Spiegel . No. 17 , 1992, p. 20-21 ( Online - Apr. 20, 1992 ).
  66. To waste away endlessly . In: Der Spiegel . No. 36 , 1993, pp. 27 f . ( online - September 6, 1992 ).
  67. We were very German . In: Der Spiegel . No. 42 , 1997, pp. 169 ( Online - Oct. 13, 1997 ).
  68. ^ Philipp Wittrock: Weiterstadt attack: Investigators are looking for RAF trio In: Spiegel Online . October 24, 2007.
  69. Red Army Faction: Declaration of dissolution. 1998 In: Christiane Schneider (Ed.): Selected documents of contemporary history: Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) - Red Army Fraction (RAF). Publishing company Political Reports, Cologne 1987, ISBN 3-926922-00-1 . (on-line)
  70. ^ Constitutional Protection Report North Rhine-Westphalia 2001: Red Army Fraction , 2001, p. 42 f. ( Online ( Memento from September 14, 2004 in the Internet Archive ))
  71. Stephan Hütig: Rebirth of the Red Army Faction? In: . Frankfurt May 20, 2001. (online)
  72. Michael Sontheimer : Ex-Terrorists: Robbery near Bremen - Traces point to the former RAF. In: Spiegel-Online. Hamburg January 19, 2016. (online)
  73. ^ Raid in Cremlingen: RAF trio captured more than 600,000 euros. In Spiegel online on July 17, 2016.
  74. Press release from the public prosecutor's office in Verden (Aller): Assault on money transporter in Stuhr - three former members of the RAF suspect. No evidence of a terrorist background. PI No. 02/16, Verden January 19, 2016. (online) ( Memento from January 19, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  75. Dieter Hintermeier: Attorney General Pflieger “Money for the Veterans Fund”. In: Frankfurter Neue Presse . Frankfurt January 20, 2016. (online)
  76. Petra Terhoeven: The Red Army Faction. A history of terrorist violence. CH Beck, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-406-71235-7 , in particular pp. 53 and 123.
  77. ^ Butz Peters: RAF - Terrorism in Germany. Droemer Knaur, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-426-80019-5 , p. 128 ff.
  78. Rudi Dutschke: Everyone has to live their entire life. The diaries 1963–1979. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2003, p. 226 ff.
  79. Interview In: diskus. Frankfurter Studentenzeitung, Issue 1, Frankfurt June 2, 1975, p. 14.
  80. Karin Wieland: a. In: the same, Wolfgang Kraushaar, Jan Philipp Reemtsma : Rudi Dutschke, Andreas Baader and the RAF. Hamburger Edition, Hamburg 2005, p. 85.
  81. ^ Wolfgang Kraushaar: Fischer in Frankfurt. Career of an outsider. Hamburger Edition, Hamburg 2001, p. 230, quoted from Karin Wieland: a. In: the same, Wolfgang Kraushaar, Jan Philipp Reemtsma: Rudi Dutschke, Andreas Baader and the RAF. Hamburger Edition, Hamburg 2005, p. 86.
  82. Of course you can shoot . In: Der Spiegel . No. 25 , 1970, pp. 74 f . ( online - June 15, 1970 ).
  83. Tobias Wunschik: Baader-Meinhofs children: The second generation of the RAF. Westdeutscher Verlag, Wiesbaden 1997, ISBN 3-531-13088-9 , footnote 856, pp. 160f.
  84. a b c d Ulrike Meinhof: The action of the black September in Munich. 1972. In: Christiane Schneider (Ed.): Selected documents of contemporary history: Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) - Red Army Fraction (RAF). Publishing company Political Reports, Cologne 1987, ISBN 3-926922-00-1 (online) .
  85. Red Army Faction: Guerrilla, Resistance and Anti-Imperialist Front. May 1982 In: Martin Hoffmann (Ed.) Red Army Fraction. Texts and materials on the history of the RAF. ID-Verlag, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-89408-065-5 , pp. 291-306.
  86. taz comment from May 26, 1982, quoted from Butz Peters : RAF - Terrorism in Germany. Droemer Knaur, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-426-80019-5 , p. 297.
  87. The history of the RAF. Retrieved November 7, 2020 .
  88. The history of the RAF, document multipart, 2013-2014 from crew united , accessed on November 7, 2020.
  89. Une Jeunesse Allemande - A German Youth. Review on ( Memento from May 26, 2015 in the Internet Archive )