History of Terrorism: 3 Members of the Baader-Meinhoff Gang Have Re-Surfaced in Germany


They used to be among Germany’s most wanted: When Ernst-Volker Wilhelm Staub, Burkhard Garweg and Daniela Klette disappeared in the 1980s, West German authorities considered them to be extremely dangerous.

German authorities say all three belonged to the Red Army Faction (RAF), an extremist group that had killed politicians and businessmen throughout the preceding two decades. Also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang, its members killed 34 people in kidnappings, bombings or assassinations between the early 1970s and 1998. Among them was Alfred Herrhausen, at that time the chairman of Deutsche Bank.

German police lost track of Staub, Garweg and Klette in the 1980s. In 1998, the RAF stopped its activities, when its members realized that their attempts to change German society had failed. Some members were convicted, others were never caught.

But the search for remaining ex-terrorists resumed last year, when authorities discovered the fingerprints of Staub, Garweg and Klette during an investigation of failed attempts to rob a money transporter. Now, there is another lead: Police say the three may be responsible for a series of supermarket robberies — carrying at least one anti-tank rocket launcher with them as their weapon.

How did some of Germany’s scariest far-left extremists turn into robbers?

German police have speculated that the former RAF members could be in a dire financial situation more than two decades after their disappearance.

In Italy, the highest appeals court decided at the beginning of May that stealing smaller amounts of food might not constitute a crime, if  the alleged offender could prove the “immediate and essential need for nourishment,” according to the BBC.

But the three cannot hope for similar leniency among German judges.

Officials say they are responsible for the robberies and that the gang might already have stolen as much as $420,000.

Staub, Garweg and Klette are believed to live in the neighboring Netherlands from where they allegedly plan their attacks on German targets. Although the trio is reported to be heavily armed, German media outlets have mostly reacted with mockery. “Ambush attack out of the revolutionary retirement,” Germany’s Der Spiegel news magazine commented.

Already in 1999, Klette and Staub were believed to have stolen approximately half a million dollars from an armored car. But shared among the three, that money amounted to a monthly allotment of less than $800. Investigators now believe that they spent their funds too quickly or thought they deserved better — forcing them to plan more risky robberies elsewhere in Germany.

Experts agree that most terror groups stop operating after a certain amount of time — organizations such as the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that are active over many decades are the rare exceptions.  Law enforcement agencies in Germany still struggle with many of the murders that were blamed on the RAF.

The murder of the Deutsche Bank’s Herrhausen, for instance, is considered a closed but unsolved case. Until today, dozens of slayings remains unresolved, and several extremists believed to be involved in the deaths were never arrested, let alone convicted.

German authorities hope that the series of supermarket robberies could soon change that.

Read the Original Article at Washington Post


10 thoughts on “History of Terrorism: 3 Members of the Baader-Meinhoff Gang Have Re-Surfaced in Germany

      • At the time, this was major stuff. Back then, I used to read six or seven newspapers, every day. Then I started going to the World Trade Center for the foreign newspapers. English/German/Italian. Needed pencil, red pencil, blue pencil. Red Brigade; Baader-Meinhof; Carlos the Jackal; Puerto Rican Liberation Army; Patty Hearst/Symbionese Liberation Army; Joann Chesimard. Articles clipped and stapled to squadroom corkboards. You had to know your stuff, back then.

      • Man, I find that kind of history fascinating personally…me and you need to chat sometime, maybe I can interview you. I think it is important for my kids and the younger generations to know this kind of history..Most people when you say Terrorism only think of islamic type of terrorism, but few people really know the history of Politically motivated terrorism of the 70’s and 80’s like the PLO, RAF, IRA, Red Brigades, etc.

        There is a book I am slotted to read this summer titled “Days of Rage” that is about this very thing…except it covers more of the American Domestic Terrorist Groups of the 70’s…Weather Underground, SLA, Black Panthers, etc…..when I am done I will send it to you.

      • Send it to me? You have any clue how many people are trying to find me? I stay low. I even hunted with the mounted cop who was injured when Fraunce’s Tavern was bombed in lower Manhattan. The horse, never gave him a lick of trouble, ever. Then suddenly, a split second before the blast, the horse throws himself to the ground shattering the cop’s leg and hip. All without warning. Then the blast. Glass from the front windows, completely penetrated the horse’s underbelly, killing it with glass shrapnel. The cop made a monument to the horse because he loved that horse, and because it gave its life, protecting him.
        All of NYC was on the alert for any activity from all the groups and players, mentioned. We used to gather intelligence from the streets when possible.

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