Terrorism in Germany - Outline

- 1960's: University protests:

-APO (Extra Parliamentary Opposition/Außerparlamentarische Opposition)- founded by Rudi Dutschke, head of SDS (Socialist German Students Organization)

-2 June 1967:

-2/3 April 1968 - Frankfurt - first terrorist attack on two department stores - Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin

-11 April 1968 - attack on Rudi Dutschke

-Easter 1968 - APO activities wind down

-by 1969 no more APO (dissolution of Grand Coalition) SDS remains

-14 May 1970 - Andreas Baader, earlier jailed, is freed by three terrorists, among them Ulrike Meinhof -- one person killed (an innocent bystander)

-Red Army Faction (RAF) - otherwise known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang

-Sep. 1970 - RAF robs banks to finance terrorist activities (DM 220,000 = approx. $70-80,000)

- 22 Sep. 1971 - a Chief of Police is the first RAF victim to be killed. A total of 33 deaths are attributable to the RAF, along with numerous people wounded.

-end of 1971 - 2nd of June Movement formed (leader - Fritz Teufel) - RAF moves from West Berlin to W. Germany

-May 1972 - RAF bombings:

-1 June 1972 - Andreas Baader, Holger Meins, and Jan-Karl Raspe arrested in Frankfurt

-2 June 1972 - bombing in West Berlin (probably 2nd of June Movement) to mark fifth anniversary of the death of Benno Ohnesorg

-7 June 1972 - Gudrun Ensslin arrested in Hamburg

-15 June 1972 - Ulrike Meinhof arrested in Hannover

-- terrorist attacks continue, directed from prison through Meinhof's attorney, Horst Mahler (Mahler was later jailed, too.) In an interesting turn of events, years after Mahler was freed from prison, he became one of the leading spokesmen for the Neo-Nazi-like ultra-right-wing.

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1972 - Olympic Games - Israeli athletes killed by PLO terrorists on Sep. 5 (NOTE: not directly related to RAF, except in FRG reaction to terrorist demands);

-Anti-terrorist force, GSG-9, formed

- Jan. 1973 - RAF prisoners start a hunger strike against what they called "the torture of isolation"

-9 Nov. 1974 - Holger Meins dies in jail of malnutrition

-Feb., 1975 - Peter Lorenz, Chairman of CDU in Berlin kidnapped by 2nd of June movement

-- "crisis staff" -- Lorenz freed in exchange for 2 criminals and 5 terrorists (including Mahler)



-24 April 1975 - West German embassy in Stockholm attacked by the so-called Holger Meins Commando -- demands not met, all 4 terrorists captured or killed, all hostages freed

-21 May 1975 - beginning of trial of Baader, Meinhof, Ensslin, Raspe

-trial held in Stammheim prison outside of Stuttgart -- a prison and trial facility built especially for the trial to be terrorist-proof, at the cost of about $4 million (2/3 on the building, the rest on special equipment. Trial was held with 5 judges, no lay paralegals, because of the threat of retaliation

-8 May 1976 - Ulrike Meinhof commits suicide in jail

-Nov. 1976 - 2 RAF terrorists captured with plans to attack Stuttgart prison



-7 April 1977 - attack on Siegfried Buback, Attorney General of the FRG

-30 July 1977 - attack on the banker Jürgen Ponto. One of the terrorists is his goddaughter, Suzanne Albrecht* (See entry under July 1990 below)

-5 Sep. 1977 - Hans-Martin Schleyer, top executive negotiator for German industry, taken hostage; his driver and three companions killed; Schleyer later killed when demands were not met; attack on Schleyer carried out by the Siegfried Hausner Commando (named after one of the terrorists killed in Stockholm)

-13 Oct 1977 - Lufthansa plane hijacked by Arab terrorists apparently in the employ of the RAF; pilot shot in Athens; plane taken to Mogadishu, Somalia;

-18 Oct. 1977 - German anti-terrorist squad storms plane; 1 terrorist captured, the other 3 killed; no hostages killed

-- Ensslin, Baader, Raspe commit suicide in jail, Ensslin by hanging, Baader and Raspe by gunshot from guns smuggled to them

-mid-Nov 1977 - threat to blow up 3 Lufthansa planes

-Nov - Dec. 1977 - 20 members of the "hard core" of the RAF and 2nd of June group were captured

-25 June 1978 - attempt made on the life of General Alexander Haig at NATO headquarters in Brussels

-2 June 1980 - in a letter to the Frankfurter Rundschau the 2nd of June Movement declared that they had disbanded and merged with the RAF

-November 1989 - Alfred Herrhausen, an influential banker, killed by the RAF near Frankfurt - car bombing

-July, 1990 - *Susanne Albrecht, thought to have been in hiding in Libya, was discovered under a new identity in East Germany and was arrested. Other prominent members of the RAF were also discovered under assumed names in East Germany.

-February, 1991 - The U.S. Embassy in Bonn/Bad Godesberg was fired upon with machine guns from 300 meters across the Rhine. The RAF claimed responsibility for the action to protest the U.S. involvement in the Gulf War. Other anti-war protests in Germany in January and February were peaceful and showed no signs of RAF involvement.

-April, 1991- Martin Rohwedder, the head of the Treuhand trustee organization, set up to sell off the nationalized companies of the former German Democratic Republic, was killed near his home while there for the Easter holidays. The RAF took credit for the murder.

-September, 1991 - Markus Wolf, the former head of the East German secret police (theStasi ), returns to Germany from the U.S.S.R. to face charges against him. The Stasi regularly sponsored terrorist attacks against former West Germany and gave asylum to former terrorists, such as Susanne Albrecht, in the East.

-Summer, 1993 - RAF member Wolfgang Grams is killed by the police and anti-terrorist forces after he and a woman accomplice are discovered in Bad Kleinen, a small town in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (formerly part of the GDR). The way the matter was handled caused the resignation of several top government officials. Two years later (Oct. 1995) it was determined that he may have shot himself after all, as the police had said.

-October, 1994 - Souhaila Sayeh Ansari, the only one of the four terrorists not killed in the rescue of the Lufthansa plane in Mogadishu, Somalia on Oct. 18, 1977 was re-captured in Norway. She had been seriously injured in the first capture in 1977, and temporarily imprisoned in Somalia. She escaped from there after she recovered from her wounds and then disappeared until 1994.

-October, 1995 - Ansari is extradited from Norway to Germany to stand trial. -- One of the RAF terrorists, convicted of killing Siegfried Buback in April 1977, was released after 17 years. He is the seventh RAF terrorist to have been released over the past few years. Protests take place claiming that the terrorists are not being freed from prison fast enough.

-February, 1997 - Is the RAF really dead? Several articles in Der Spiegel claim that this is the case.

-October, 1997 - Deutsche Welle TV airs two-part movie on abduction of Hanns-Martin Schleyer in 1977 and the aftermath.

Remaining former members of the RAF declare that the RAF has been disbanded.

- 2007 - There is a major debate on the possible early release of the last two RAF members in prison. One is granted release, the other is not. The following year the courts reverse the decision and set the second (and last) RAF member free.

- November, 2008 - The film "The Baader-Meinhof Complex" opens in the U.S. Its German premiere was greeted with critical acclaim, and it is Germany's entry as best foreign-language film for the 2009 Academy Awards. When polled before the premiere about their continuing interest in that period of the FRG's history, almost three-quarters of Germans of all ages reaffirmed their interest.

-April 2010: Verena Becker, who was arrested in May 1977 and sentenced to life imprisonment after conviction for her involvement in six murders, and who was pardoned in 1989 by the Federal President at the time, was arrested again in 2009 for her involvement in the murder of Siegfried Buback, Attorney General of the FRG in 1977 and two others. Her DNA was found on a letter from the RAF claiming responsibility for the murders. She is now the only RAF member still in prison.


Last revised 4/16/10. pjc. All rights reserved. Phillip J. Campana.