The Baader-Meinhoff gang
December 30, 2002 3:48 PM   Subscribe

This is Baader-Meinhoff. Extensive info about the West German terrorist phenomenon of the 1970s, compiled by a guy whose father was head of the US Army's Bomb Disposal unit in Berlin while Baader-Meinhoff (aka the Red Army Faction) was on the run. Other leftist "urban guerillas" included Movement 2 June and the Socialist Patients collective. The detailed timeline, art criticism, terrorist bios and info about 1970s terror groups in the Mid-East and South America make fascinating reading. There's also the Joe Strummer connection, of course.
posted by mediareport (20 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Wow thanks. The Richter images are currently at SFMOMA, as well as a lot of his other stuff. I just saw it on Saturday, this is a timely link for sure.
posted by jessamyn at 4:04 PM on December 30, 2002

100 Years of Terror documentary from History International Channel provides a frame of reference. Baader-Meinhoff much discussed.
posted by Voyageman at 4:12 PM on December 30, 2002

Great links, thanks mediareport. This one by Richter chills the blood.

posted by dhoyt at 4:18 PM on December 30, 2002

Aw, come on, dhoyt. Isn't the decision to write songs instead of throw bombs itself political?

I love this part, from the 2nd-to-last link:

When the Baader-Meinhof Gang pulled into Amman in 1970 they did not want the tourist version of the training and demanded real training. Unfortunately they also did not want to follow the rules. They wanted men to live with the women and the women wanted to sunbathe naked in front of the Palestinians. Andreas Baader once screamed at the Palestinians, "fucking and fighting are the same thing!" Finally the Palestinians grew tired of their guests and forced them to leave after about two months.
posted by mediareport at 4:27 PM on December 30, 2002

Fascinating link, mediareport, thank you. Those who are interested in Baader-Meinhof might want to check out Margarethe von Trotta's film Marianne and Julianne (1981), based on the relationship between Gudrun Ensslin and her sister. It's an excellent piece of work.

A site for von Trotta's films is at, and the section for Marianne and Julianne is at

In the Clash's film Rude Boy, Joe Strummer is seen washing out his Brigatte Rosse T shirt in the sink, and waving it at the hapless roadie who is the subject of the film: "Brigatte Rosse.... the *terrorists*...."
posted by jokeefe at 4:54 PM on December 30, 2002

The rest of my life presses at present, but this looks like a very comprehensive and cogent post and just the sort of eruditious linkage that enamored me with this place from the first. Well done. I shall return...
posted by y2karl at 7:10 PM on December 30, 2002

Fantastic site! When I was in college I read Heinrich Boll's "The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum," which is a very pointed response to the West German government's crackdown on the terrorist groups. For anyone familiar with that story, this site provides some excellent background information.
posted by ldandersen at 7:33 PM on December 30, 2002

Unfortunately, both the Baader-Meinhof site and Rotten Tomatoes reviewers commit an unpardonable crime against art, by writing movie reviews with extensive historical background that wrecks part of the suspense! So if you want to rent the video "The Legend of Rita," about a terrorist who goes to East Germany, hit this brief commercial review instead.

Luckily for Volker Schlondorff fans, the review of Stammheim at the Baader-Meinhof site doesn't take any of the fun out of this control unit prison flick. Control unit prison fans will be gratified that the Stammheim video is "unavailable in the US," and so annoying liberal human rights advocates will just have to make do with an evening of "Through the Wire," in which Susan Sarandon does the Lexington Control Unit. Baader-Meinhof fans and sympathizers [p. 8-9] - if there are any left - tough beans! The brains of your outfit went missing recently, and that story mysteriously disappeared from CNN.

Fans of motherhood and apple pie, is it reassuring or unsettling:
-- to know that mom will still love you, even if you're a terrorist?
-- to hear your public officials quoted saying things like, "If you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, you probably aren't doing your job" ?
posted by sheauga at 8:59 PM on December 30, 2002

And since we're on the subject, an op-ed from the Baltimore Sun:
Germany must change to thwart terror.
posted by sheauga at 9:14 PM on December 30, 2002

So, sheauga...
about The Two Towers?
posted by y2karl at 10:33 PM on December 30, 2002

At least we can read about the Baader-Meinhoff psychopaths without actually having to deal with them anymore, as they're thankfully strapping C4 on themselves with Mohammed Atta and company in Hades for eternity.

Auf Wiedersehen.
posted by hama7 at 12:41 AM on December 31, 2002

hama7: The german red army fraction never committed any acts of suicide-bombing, afaik.
posted by zerofoks at 1:17 AM on December 31, 2002

Isn't the decision to write songs instead of throw bombs itself political?

Someone will always write the songs that need to be written.
posted by robself at 3:58 AM on December 31, 2002

The german red army fraction never committed any acts of suicide-bombing

Killers and commies all go down the same toilet.
posted by hama7 at 4:41 AM on December 31, 2002

Killers and commies all go down the same toilet.

Terrorists too. Flush when you're done!
posted by hama7 at 4:43 AM on December 31, 2002

i've sort of been looking out for fassbinder's die dritte generation for awhile, but've never been able to find it :( from the imdb's user comments :)
This film reflected Fassbinder's increasing alienation from violent German leftist grouplets such as the Red Army Faction (a.k.a. Baader-Meinhoff Gang) with which he had earlier (e.g. in "Deutschland im Herbst") shown some sympathy. Still, the film also contains its own stark critique of capitalism: in a plot somewhat reminiscent of the McCarthyist-Communist conspiracy of "The Manchurian Candidate", the "third generation" terrorist organization of the title turns out to be backed by a wealthy industrialist who backs terror in order to create the danger that will help him sell his security systems.

The film's middle-class protagonists turn to terrorism as an escape from their boring lives. And they have no idea who is financing their terrorist spree. At first it's a lark. Then they discover (surprise!) that those who live by the sword... well, you know the rest.

All that makes the film sound very heavy and serious. Actually, it's a very dark comedy. And the sequence near the end, wonderful.
anyway, marxism may not be as relevant, but it's still influential!
posted by kliuless at 6:34 AM on December 31, 2002

Flush when you're done!

You know, hama7, you could at least try to contribute comments that are interesting and intelligent, and sit on your hands if all you have to offer is trolling bullshit about "killers and commies." I mean, this had been a smart and fun thread until you found it. Grow up; if you don't have anything interesting to say, don't post.
posted by mediareport at 7:53 AM on December 31, 2002

Baader-Meinhoff...aren't they down to what, like 3 rugers, a SKS with a bent firing pin and a Hamburg phonebook?

to contribute comments that are interesting and intelligent,
i see MRs' point but what does this faction of modern proto-terrorists have in the way of interest. They only symbolize the old West Germany ineffectiveness in counter-terrorism. Munich, 72' for example.
posted by clavdivs at 12:00 PM on December 31, 2002

aren't they down to what, like 3 rugers, a SKS with a bent firing pin and a Hamburg phonebook?

Nah, they announced their official retirement in '98.

what does this faction of modern proto-terrorists have in the way of interest.

It's fascinating stuff, clavdivs, sorry you disagree. The RFA story spins out in lots of other interesting directions, too - Marxist criticism of psychiatry and the Tupac connection, for starters. And according to the timeline intro, the RFA obviously symbolized *something* to some folks, at least for a while:

German polls showed an extraordinary number of Germans supported their cause in one way or another (only 10 to 20%, but a remarkable number nonetheless). But the support fizzled to almost nothing when the West German terrorists stopped merely robbing banks and began killing people.
posted by mediareport at 2:55 PM on December 31, 2002

'I" and you think it is interesting, it is....but a tupac connection? what seems interesting is the co-operation between these terrorists and others terrorist groups.
posted by clavdivs at 8:30 AM on January 1, 2003

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