Letter From Günter Sonnenberg, RAF Prisoner

I want, with this letter, to explain the things I’ll have to come to grips with, should I be released from jail in early May – after 15 years of internment.

I will have to be examined by a neurologist, under normal living conditions (that is, outside of prison and isolation), to see just how bad the danger of my epileptic fits is.

It will have to be determined if the piece of the bullet (one of the ones that entered my head),  which is now close to the opening of one of my arteries, has moved any since my last examination. Any shift in its position could be life-threatening.

But for me, the most important thing will be to see just bow much I have lost, forgotten, and unlearned as a result of my bullet wounds and 15 years of imprisonment.

After I received my bullet wounds in 1977, I was left with the consciousness of a child, so re-learning my memory and intelligence had to start from the beginning.

The things I have re-learned over the past 15 years are just fragments of what I used to know and understand.

In the prosecution’s summary remarks in April 1978, it was stated that, should I regain my freedom, I would only ever be able to perform simple labor tasks, like being a postal worker for example.

I have different aspirations than that of a postal worker; what I can effectively do will have to be determined under free conditions (that is, in freedom).  I mentioned the “consciousness of a child” above; I’d like to expand on that:

I didn’t know anything except my name. I could neither read nor write, nor formulate things in any form. Words and concepts were utterly foreign to me. Even things having to do with daily life – like plate and spoon, bed and sink, book and radio – I no longer knew these words and concepts.

At 22, I was starting over.

And I had to re-learn things living in isolation.

Being imprisoned as a political prisoner for 15 years also means being closed off from society’s ongoing political processes; I had little contact with the outside, and almost no room here for political intervention. In other words, I’m going to need some time to reorient myself to the political conditions, to form opinions, and to organize.

State prosecutor Kurth asked my lawyer on January 16/92 if, after going free after 15 years in prison, I would make a statement saying that I would:

  • no longer advocate violence as a means of reaching a political goal, and that I would
  • in future, lead a “trouble-free” life.

Such a statement, would require me to recognize the State’s monopoly on violence as a normal state of affairs.

I will never give such a statement.

This is my responsibility to the many millions of people who die as a result of the wealth in the metropoles. And I will never lose sight of the fact that everyone whom the capitalist world market keeps in misery deserves a right to live.

Bruschal, January 18th 1992
(from Angehörigen info #87)



N.B. All footnotes in this document were added by the editor. None are originally from the RAF.

[1] Günter Sonnenberg was arrested along with Verena Becker in May 1977. He was suspected of participation in the Buback assassination (see http://www.germanguerilla/red-army-faction/documents/77_04_07.html) At the time of his arrest he was shot in the head, and as a result suffered brain damage. [return to text]