Interview with Four Women Political Prisoners in Lübeck, Germany

Comments from the four women prisoners to the newspaper, which transcribed and published it: We wanted with this interview to reach people who don’t know anything about us, who possibly have only seen or heard the twenty-year hysteria campaign against us. We consciously do not intend for this to be part of the left debate.

ALL FORTY MUST BE RELEASED!

Gabriele Rollnick [1]: We are certainly not the forces who have an interest in things continuing as they have been until now. That is the desire of the forces in the State’s apparatus. They want to continue in the old way. Then – o.k., so it is like that again. We prisoners have struggled for twenty years, and we will continue to struggle for the next twenty years. That is not the point here.

“We have decided to pull back from escalation on our side. That means that we will cease attacks on leading economic and the State representatives to facilitate the now necessary process.”

– quote from the Red Army Faction declaration of April 10, 1992 [2]

“The decision of our comrades is correct. It has nothing to do with ‘tactics.”

– quote from statement of Irmgard Möller for the prisoners from the Red Army Faction and the Resistance from April 15, 1992 [3]

 

The RAF and the Resistance

Oliver Tolmein: Who in fact is this group “prisoners from the RAF and resistance”?

Irmgard Möller [4]: It is the prisoners from the RAF who were fighting in the RAF before they were captured. The others are people who were struggling in the (public) resistance – militantly – or those who were sentenced for resistance activities.

O.T.: Do all the prisoners from the RAF still consider themselves part of the Red Army Faction, or are things totally different now?

I.M:
We consider ourselves as part of the resistance again. At the time one is arrested and no longer has a weapon, and is as legal [5] as anyone can be, one can no longer struggle as the RAF, because one has been captured. One is still a part, though no longer part of the organization.

O.T.:  In the past year, the Federal Prosecutors’ Office has confiscated extensive collections of files and papers from prison cells with the argument that actions of the RAF on the outside were being directed from the prisons.

I.M.: From the very beginning, since we have been prisoners, it has always been the case that the Federal Prosecution – or the whole State machine – claimed that the prisoners were directing things on the outside. That is supposed to justify the measures against us. That was the official line to justify them isolating us, why they treated us like that.

Christine Kuby [6]: Anyway that is supposed to convey the message that there is no real commonality between the resistance and the struggles on the outside other than the fact that the prisoners are pulling the strings.

O.T.: And the others were, so to speak, the handymen.

C.K: Exactly. And that was simply not the reality. And still isn’t.

O.T.: Is there actually any coordination or contact between you here in prison and the RAF on the outside?

I.M.: No direct contact. There is no direct exchange. We can find out what they have done and can respond to that through letters or react through what we say. But we cannot talk directly to them.

G.R.: The RAF and us – we are in the same political situation, but in different places.

O.T.: How far does this term resistance extend? For example, the anti-nuclear movement, is it part of it or…?

I.M.: They certainly belong to it.

G.R.: In any case, we feel connected with this resistance. As we said, it’s not just a matter of an organization. There were groups in society that supported us, or that saw the situation in a way similar to us, but whose members didn’t make the move of going underground. They tried to change things legally – through a public movement. And they certainly also felt a connection to us. They visited us later in prison.

We were never really separated from society and we could always, even with the isolation in prison, get a sense of the developments on the outside. At least we struggled to do so.

Hanna Krabbe [7]:
Society has changed and the struggles have changed. And as political prisoners, we were always a factor in the struggles against the State. We based that on our own situation, our situation as political prisoners.

Daily Life in Prison

O.T.: Do you sometimes talk about other things altogether, things which could perhaps, shall we say, create new or totally different impulses. I don’t know, maybe what books you have read…

I.M.: Absolutely. We talk about the books we have read during the evenings. Or movies we have seen or… one shouldn’t imagine that we just sit here and discuss political problems all day. We aren’t functionaries. We also look at picture books together, or art books. Or we cook together – that’s something that is also important.

C.K: But that is only for the last three years.

H.K.:  But that is extremely important.

I.M.: That we can eat together.

O.T.:  What do you like to cook best?

G.R.: Split pea soup. (laughing)

O.T.: Is that what you like to cook best? Or is it the only thing you can cook?

C.K: No, we can cook, but we don’t have very many options as to what to cook. We can buy fresh vegetables once a month, but they have to be cooked right away or they go bad.

H.K.: But cooking and eating and talking with each other and communicating – that is something really important. You taste something – that is also an experience of the senses. When you sit in a cell for years and get food from the prison and you are alone, you can’t even taste anything anymore. In the first place, everything tastes the same anyway, but you also don’t taste any difference at all anymore. It has been quite an enriching experience here to cook again for ourselves.

O.T.: Do you cook every day?

All: Yes; when possible, yes always.

LM: Or we take the food we get from prison and change them if we don’t have food of our own.

O.T.: What do you like to read? What sort of books do you look at?

I.M:
That’s actually quite a broad spectrum. When I was first captured I read everything imaginable. Without a plan, without an idea of where it would lead. And then I read a lot of novels for a while – especially those where liberation struggles were portrayed culturally. Novels by Palestinians. Those are rare and contemporary – ones which have been written recently because they used not to write novels. Or there are a lot of things from Latin America. And sometimes real dry stuff – theoretical, economic, analyses, whatever… But there are always phases where one just can’t comprehend abstract things – one simply can’t read them.

H.K.: In 1977, for example, when the prison conditions were especially hard, when we hardly heard anything from the outside, I only read novels. Simply to experience warmth and human development. All types of novels, actually. From other countries, other cultural circles, but above all novels where the development of the people in them was comprehensible or imaginable for me. I simply wasn’t able to read anything else at that time.

“For various reasons, we no longer developed an attraction for people here, making it no longer possible to act together. We have seen as a central mistake the fact that we moved too little towards those who have started to stand up here and not at all towards those who have not yet started to stand up.”

– quote from the RAF declaration from April 4, 1992

 

“Nothing Political Will Develop Through Violence Anymore”

I.M: I thought that is was absolutely important for us to say what we thought so that there would be no room for speculation since there is always that basic attempt to play us off against each other.

O.T.: Who against whom?

I.M.: The prisoners, or some of the prisoners against other prisoners, or the RAF against the prisoners or everyone against everyone.

G.R..: Hardliners against softliners.

I.M.: Yes. Those are all constructions and fabrications which have absolutely nothing to do with reality. And that’s why I was in such a hurry.

G.R.: Of course, we weren’t able to discuss that with each other in any way in such a short time. But we were sure that the other prisoners and us, that we all have similar thoughts.

I.M.: …that there is a consensus and that there are no contradictions around this issue.

G.R..: So that’s why Gabi [Irmgard Möller, - trans.] could state that clearly for us all [8].

O.T.: 
In order to be able to get a clear picture of how that works. Was it like this? That you, Mrs. Möller, formulated something and intuitively had the impression that the others would agree, and therefore you made the statement for everyone?

I.M.: I was simply certain.

H.K.: Intuitively isn’t exactly the right word – it is more rather the orientation of our discussion.

C.K:    Yes – it came out of our discussions.

H.K.: It has been clear since between the mid 80’s to the end of the 80’s that a worldwide change was taking place, that the front against imperialism was stagnating. The socialist States then collapsed in the confrontation with the imperialist military policy, but also primarily from internal contradictions. So now we have a totally different global situation. Nothing that now develops in opposition to imperialism develops through a front uniting inside and outside, but rather on the basis of the actual contradictions within the imperialist system itself.

O.T.:
 Could you perhaps describe more precisely what role the collapse, or the dissolution, or the socialist State system played for armed struggle in the FRG?

C.K.:
It certainly also had internal effects, the collapse of the socialist camp. Including positive effects. Certain rigid ways of thinking – many were counting on them as a force that could oppose imperialism and hold it in check. That was no longer realistic. Rigid ways of thinking on the part of those who were not struggling on the basis of their own conditions or their own needs. People who wanted a different society, but who somehow delegated that task. That is no longer the case.

I mean in the RAF declaration it states: “Each individual is thrown back on himself.”

G.R.: When we began the struggle here, it was clear that there was an opposing side. We were part of a struggle taking place worldwide in which the socialist States played a role, as did the liberation struggles and we inside of imperialism. And now that state socialism has broken down, that has, of course, totally changed. And that means for us the circumstances under which we are struggling – the struggle today is taking place under different circumstances.

H.K.: In the 60’s and the 70’s (in the 80’s it had already stopped) the State tried to improve the system through reforms. Today the State is disintegrating. One sees that, for example, in health insurance or in apartment construction; people are being excluded, problems are being taken over from the State and left to the “free market” and the people have to deal with that themselves. That is a totally different situation.

We always directed our attacks against the State because the State had this function of determining social development.

O.T.: Those are more political and strategic considerations than saying we think assassinations or killing people is wrong in principle.

H.K.: I don’t think one can respond to something like that on principle. But what, for example, has also changed is the function of the State, and also the function of violence. What we are now seeing in society is an incredible brutalization, brutalization in daily life, how social conflicts are dealt with – how they are dealt with in a non-political way. So people turn the violence with which they are confronted, violence resulting from the changed conditions in society, against each other. For example, especially against children or women or foreigners. The violence which was something exceptional in the 60’s and 70’s and which from our side had a particular function of exposing contradictions in society, to heighten them and make them visible, this violence can today no longer have this function. We have seen that in the case of the recent actions of the RAF and also in the case of militant actions: they happen, but nothing political develops from them. And that has something to do with the social conditions.

G.R.: We are in the process of even trying to understand the situation. It is clear for us that we won’t be able to completely comprehend the situation from prison. We don’t get the sensory input. We get information from the newspaper and through the television and then we see there are unbelievable problems. We see them; we didn’t previously encounter such problems, and we must respond differently than we have up until now.

And I see that now in our discussion here, without our being able to say anything definite – we are trying to learn, to look, to understand. To come back now to the statement from the RAF; it reflects the same situation. They are saying that for us it is time for a break, we are stopping the attacks now, we are scaling back the escalation. On that point we say, one can only carry out such attacks when one has a concrete idea of what one wants, how one wants to change the situation. If that vision is no longer there, then one cannot carry out such attacks.

O.T.:
 Why does the RAF realize that now and not, for example, before the attack on Mr. Rohwedder [9]? Was there still a clear vision then?

G.R..: In the declaration, as far as I can remember, they say they have been trying for two years.

I.M.: parallel…

G.R.: to engage in a political process.

H.K.:
 They said they continued carrying out actions, armed actions, and tried at the same time to get a process of discussion going. And they said that it can’t work simultaneously because the actions cause an escalation which contradicts this discussion process and blocks it. In any case, they couldn’t advance this process of discussion. That is a fact. And from that they drew their conclusion. And we think that that has brought us much closer to the basic problem of finding political solutions. We are being confronted with far more basic questions. That is not only a problem for the RAF, but a problem for everyone.

“They will not step back on any point by themselves. Pressure from society and struggles for our demands will always be necessary for that.”

– quote from the RAF declaration of April 10. 1992

 

“Counter-Power from Below?”

O.T.: Is the left an outdated concept for you, or is that no longer who you want to appeal to?

H.K.:
 The left as such doesn’t really exist anymore. It dissolved itself through the radical change that took place. There are many types of resistance in this society and people who have come together because they have come to a place in their lives where they are only able to meet their needs and protect their interests by uniting.

O.T.:
If one now quite polemically asks: But is there still a right wing? Or do you think they don’t exist anymore either?

H.K.: Of course.

I.M.: Yes, there is one.

H.K.:
 But there has been no left wing force. 1989, 1990, 1991 – where was it? The power of the State grew incredibly and the left was paralyzed, disoriented, unconsciousness.

O.T.:
 What would you describe yourselves as if you say the left doesn’t exist anymore today? Traditionally one always said that the RAF, or the prisoners from the RAF, belong to the left, are a part of it.

I.M.: We said in 1989 that we want to bring about a process in which the left can put itself back together again [10], because by that time it no longer existed as something visible or as something which one could consider as a united force. One can see that certain positions have completely disappeared from the media. How people seeking asylum here are dealt with, or how certain conflicts are not solved – that there has been a retreat, that former left intellectuals are no longer visible. They can no longer articulate themselves, and that gives an overall impression that they no longer exist. And certainly not as a force in society.

O.T.: You said before that the collapse of the socialist States also had something to do with internal conditions. Do you think that this is also the case with the West German left?

H.K.: Yes, definitely.

I.M.: That’s always so when something collapses as a result of external factors. If it were internally OK, it wouldn’t collapse. I think that’s absolutely basic.

O.T.: Do you have an idea what it could have been – which root was rotten there?

G.R.: Yes, maybe that the left didn’t really ever connect the political changes they wanted with their own lives. Perhaps there was a big gap between the social changes they wanted and the goals they had and how they really lived.

Thus, they hadn’t really created a revolution in themselves. And as a result, ideology and ideological contradictions become very important. Because there is something fundamentally wrong.

H.K.: Or they stayed within such a ghetto that they had no social relevance. So, for example, there would be discussions or newspapers or leaflets which no longer had any impact on society. They were purely self-absorbed.

G.R.: If one failed take a look at the people one wanted to work with and then consider what one could do with them, what could the common denominator be? The only important thing would be whether someone had the right opinion.

H.K.: I think that is too limited. I now say we should take a look, for example, at what the people in the houses are doing, where people have struggled to create their own centers for living and meeting and discussing in squatted houses.

O.T.: …Hafenstrasse [11]

H.K.: Or the Hafenstrasse, or someplace like that. That’s part of it, but I think that’s still too restricted. I would like it to be more broad, right through the breadth of society.

For example, what happened in Hamburg around the Stresemannstrasse.

O.T.: …when the street was blockaded.

H.K.: Yes. Trucks are barreling through there along a residential street. That is the most traveled street in all of Hamburg and there have already been a few children run over on it. At one point, the people who live there simply said now that’s enough. And so they closed the street, blocked traffic, and then an incredible thing happened. Then they examined the traffic policies and realized that when the street is closed that their children can play in the street. Or the women and men who live there realized that they could go onto their balconies again – which wasn’t at all possible before because the air was so dirty. So that’s quite a few problems through one small point: a street where a child was run over. The entire social organization – how traffic is organized here, how communication is organized, or rather not organized, where do people still have a place in the areas in which they live, and how they can create one – all these questions were brought into it from the very beginning.

1977: Murder of Schleyer – Death in Stammheim [12]

I.M.: I don’t know the details of what happened—that is how, or who, because I have never seen the files. I can tell about that more precisely in a minute.

I know we didn’t do it ourselves, that we didn’t have any weapons, and that I was brought unconscious into the intensive care unit, and that I then came to after a few days.

I am absolutely sure that it was murder. We were under a total contact ban at that time.

O.T.: What does that mean – contact ban?

I.M.: Contact ban means that the prisoners are totally isolated from each other and from the outside. No letters go out; there are no visits. Even visits with a doctor are not private. There is someone from the State police there watching. Prior to that, we had actually lived together, and then we weren’t even allowed to come in contact with the same objects. They applied it extremely rigidly.

O.T.: In order to claim that it was suicide?

I.M.: Yes. And in general – to be able to do that and later to present it as suicide.

O.T.: Other former members of the RAF said that there were discussions about suicide as a collective act. Can you imagine that?

I.M.: I can’t imagine that at all. We had started a hunger strike during the contact ban in order to give a signal that we wanted to live, we wanted to struggle. We never had such discussions.

We wanted to live.

O.T.:
    Would you say that the situation in the fall of ‘77, the situation between you and the State had particularly escalated?

I.M.:    Yes, that was the absolute high point. Everything that came after that related back to that.

We didn’t want things to escalate any further, to become overwhelming, for people to be presented with a fait accompli that they couldn’t deal with, because that would be so heavy that no one would be prepared for it. And then politics got set aside, and everything became quite militarized – from both sides. We wanted to avoid that.

That’s why we suggested that if they freed us we would not come back into the FRG, that we would remain elsewhere, either in Western Europe or somewhere else, that we would, of course, continue to struggle politically, but not with arms, at least not those who were set free. But they didn’t agree to that.

O.T.: You said you wanted to prevent the situation from becoming militarized on both sides.

G.R..: That also meant to keep it under control, not to let it move off into a direction…

I.M.: …of a forced reaction/counter-reaction where no one has it under control anymore.

O.T.: What is your judgment about the murder of Hans Martin Schleyer?

I.M.: That was certainly not just a reaction. I don’t think so. Revenge actions would have looked very different.

H.K.: I imagine acts of revenge that way: blind. If someone would have just walked into the next police station with a machine pistol, for example, I would consider that revenge. If you don’t even think about who you are fighting against, but merely attack whatever looks anything like the State.

O.T.: Have you ever considered the scenario of what would have actually happened if the RAF had let Schleyer go? At least in the escalated and intense situation that would have come across as relatively humane.

H.K.: After the prisoners were dead?

I.M.: I think that wouldn’t have been possible. One could play that through like that but – I don’t know.

O.T.: Do you consider that unimaginable in the situation as it was then?

I.M.: Yes, because given the fact that the prisoners were dead, it was clear that the government could do without Schleyer; that was clear.

O.T.:
But that doesn’t have to mean that the guerilla organization then has to do it.

I.M.: Yes, of course, I don’t know. It is hard for me to talk about that.


“Those not fit for imprisonment and the prisoners who have been in for the longest time must be released immediately and all the others must be given association until their release.”

– quote from the RAF declaration of April 10, 1992

 

Prison Conditions

I.M.: Before we were captured, we had already thought about the fact that they would deal with us differently than they had three years before when people from the student movement were captured. That wasn’t very extraordinary then. We knew about the experiences of Fritz Teufel [13] or other individual people, individual students or people who had been arrested then. There wasn’t anything in particular in that direction then.

We figured that we would be beaten – that we would be physically tortured. And then we found out that that didn’t happen, but that they had thought up something for us – later we found scientific research about it – which was much more subtle and much more difficult to talk about, and even for us, it was months, actually years, before we understood what it was, that isolation is torture and that it has the same function as physical torture. Not to get immediate information, but rather, over a longer period of time, to rob individual prisoners of their identity, their whole personality. To turn them inside out [14].

O.T.: Isn’t it much simpler to imagine that they said, “We now have particularly dangerous prisoners here” – the RAF tried to liberate prisoners, the June 2 Movement [15] also tried to liberate prisoners – that they thought they therefore had to have special security measures?

I.M.: No. No way. It was never actually about security. They said two years later that it was a matter of diverting us from our goals. We realized that much too late. Ulrike was in the dead wing [16], and before that Astrid Proll [17] was in the dead wing, and we didn’t even know it. We didn’t realize what that does. We saw that she couldn’t write anymore, that her circulation had collapsed, that she was totally disoriented – Astrid Proll. But we realized too late that it is torture and must be attacked as such. We would have intervened differently if we had grasped that earlier. We experienced it’s impact on our own bodies.

In 1977, for example, I was under continual observation – light day and night, total control, always a guard in front of the door watching, and if I went into the corner, they tore open the door to see what I was doing in the cell.

In the beginning, I didn’t have a door, only a heavy wire screen and bars like an animal cage. And then they set up an actual podium outside so they could see me at eye level day and night. And they sat there, two of them, and talked to each other. I didn’t have a radio, nothing with which I could block that out. I then developed techniques for moving, but I was continually under observation.

I didn’t get any information, no visits; then the dividing partition was put in for everyone. I didn’t get any visits anyway, and the few there were impossible from behind the partition. Then I didn’t accept any visits anymore. For years, I thought it was intended that I go crazy – forget everything and flip out.

CK: In the 80’s, three of us were here in this wing for years. We were cut off from everything. We didn’t see anyone. We had one one-hour visit behind a glass partition per month, and otherwise there was nothing. There was simply nothing there. We weren’t allowed to write other prisoners, as Gabi said, for years.

O.T.: What are your prison conditions concretely at this time?

I.M.: They have gotten better.

C.K: The things that have changed in our conditions, our conditions here in Lübeck, have, in the other prisons, for the individual prisoners not changed at all. They are, after ten years, still living under incredibly harsh conditions. For example, Brigitte Mohnhaupt and Christian Klar [18], who have been in prison since 1982. For them, nothing, or almost nothing, has been relaxed.

I.M.: What has changed is the censorship. Not so much is being held back as before and not so much is being confiscated. Of course, it is still being sent through the censor, but we receive it. It is no longer held back from us. And another change is that now we can have an hour of yard exercise every day with the other women prisoners here – the social prisoners.

O.T.: Social prisoners?

C.K.: The women who are here in prison whom we didn’t see for years. We heard nothing, no faces, nothing. For three years now we have been able to do this.

O.T.: How is your relationship with them? Do you have positive contact with them?

I.M.: We had positive contact at one point. Then they were released. There is a large turnover, since they have shorter sentences.

H.K.: And also it is limited. We live in a totally different area. We live in this wing and therefore also have to deal with the prison system: it is always a special regime. We only experience the other prisoners who are in general population for this one hour. We cannot really communicate with each other. If we did more together, we would have to deal with things here together, but that won’t happens since they have very different conditions. It is difficult as a result.

O.T.: Would you like to be integrated into that sort of prison climate?

C.K.: No, I wouldn’t, I have quite a bit of contact with the women and I see how difficult it is after all these years of isolation. To have more than some sort of superficial relationship with the women – I wouldn’t be able to do that anymore.

O.T.: Would you say that isolation has effects that still continue?

C.K.: Yes, definitely. I think that it will take a long process to regain the abilities lost through these conditions and I think that will only be possible on the outside. I cannot imagine changes in the prison conditions which could make regeneration of a complete personality possible.

“Minister of Justice Kinkel has specified for the first time on behalf of the State that there are factions inside the apparatus that have understood that they cannot get the resistance and the contradictions in society under control through police and military means.”

– quote from the RAF statement of April 10, 1992

 

All 40 Must Be Released

H.K.: We haven’t really gotten that far – to the point that it’s really a matter of all of us, of the entire political collective. First of all, because of the prison conditions which we are subjected to, as well as our political objectives. We want, after all, to be able to act upon the gains we have made through the struggle up to now – what we have gained in consciousness and in understanding of the situation. (We also see that that is absolutely impossible in prison.) That is the second reason we say all of us have to be released. We want to address politics on the outside.

O.T.: What do you think are the stages toward that?

I.M.: We think that it can happen in a time frame of one or two years, for example. And of course, the State won’t just let all 40 of us out… exactly how it will happen, I don’t know that yet. The important thing is that a decision be made and that it be possible to look toward that; that they be willing to do that. Then we can determine the stages in which it will happen. For example, the ones who have been in the longest, they come after the ones not fit for imprisonment. First the ones not fit for imprisonment and then the ones who have been for more than 15 years, and then all the ones who have served 2/3 of their sentence and then so on. All of us that is.

O.T.: Minister of Justice Klaus Kinkel has raised the concept of reconciliation for discussion. Is that something you would subsume that under?

I.M.: I would not use the word reconciliation because for me that expresses the possibility of them accepting us as a political collective. Reconciliation – one cannot really use that word; that doesn’t make sense to me.

O.T.: Would you not like to reconcile yourselves with the State?

I.M.: I don’t see at all how; what for. I can’t imagine that.

H.K.: I think this concept isn’t actually so important. It has become incredibly polemical, whether that is an option or not…

I.M.: But it has become so polemical because something else comes across, namely the possibility of accepting us as political opponents… or the fact that we such.

O.T.:
But it would also possibly imply that you expect to play by the existing political rules in this country.

G.R.: We recognize that; we have to recognize that; they have also recognized that for a long time now. But that doesn’t mean agreeing with them, but rather that this is a process we are in now and we are trying to influence it.

I.M.:    This whole concept, political rules in this country, what is that? The rules of the rulers? But actually there are other political rules.

O.T.: So, as, for example, the Minister of Justice of Schleswig-Holstein Klinger [19] has said, it won’t be a final stroke, but rather a further development…

All:
Yes, both.

I.M.: Final stroke is also accurate, if that were possible.

G.R.: When we say a break, that is what that means. But not a final stroke in the sense of now throw it in the garbage, but rather to proceed to a new level.

H.K.: To proceed to a new level. When the State says that, the Minister of Justice, then I understand it to mean that there should be an end to this on-going situation of the state of emergency State, martial law, exceptional treatment of us. Of course, I agree with that.


Footnotes

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

[1] Gabriele Rollnick was one of four members of the June 2nd Movement – a West Berlin guerilla group influenced by anarchism – who were captured in June 1978 by heavily armed West German police in Varna, Bulgaria. Bulgarian police do not intervene as the four were flown out of Bulgaria to West Germany. In 1980 the June 2nd Movement merged with the RAF.   [return to text]

[2] This declaration, “To All Who Are Looking For Ways to Organize and to Push Through a Human Life in Dignity Here and Worldwide On Really Concrete Issues”, can be read online at http://www.germanguerilla.com/raf/documents/92_04_10.html   [return to text]

[3] This statement can be read online at http://www.germanguerilla.com/raf/documents/92_04_15.html   [return to text]

[4] Arrested in 1972 and charged with the bombing of the US Army Base in Heidelberg (see http://www.germanguerilla.com/red-army-faction/documents/72_05_25.html) Irmgard Möller was the only prisoner to survive the murders of October 18th 1977 in Stammheim prison. After 22 years in custody, Möller would eventually be released from Lübeck prison on December 1st 1994.   [return to text]

[5] Meaning above ground.  [return to text]

[6] Christine Kuby was a RAF member who was arrested in 1978 after a shootout with the police in Hamburg. She was sentenced to life in prison, and was eventually released on February 22nd 1995.  [return to text]

[7]  Hanna Krabbe was one of the RAF militants captured following the April 25th, 1975 seizure of the German Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. A police assault on the Embassy resulted in an explosion, which killed one guerrilla, Siegfried Hausner, and one hostage. (see http://www.germanguerilla.com/red-army-faction/documents/75-04-24.html) Sentenced to two life sentences, she was eventually released in May 1996.   [return to text]

[8] A reference to the “Statement By Irmgard Möller Regarding The RAF Cease-FireTo Those Who Struggle Alongside Us”, which can be viewed online at http://www.germanguerilla.com/raf/documents/92_04_15.html.  [return to text]

[9] On April 1st 1991 the RAF assassinated Detlev Korsten Rohwedder, president of the Berlin Treuhand in charge of selling off State assets in the former East Germany. [return to text]

[10] Most likely a reference to “Hunger Strike Statement by Helmut Pohl on Behalf of Political Prisoners in West Germany” which can be read online at http://www.germanguerilla.com/raf/documents/89_02_01.html   [return to text]

[11] A group of squatted buildings in Hamburg which had been the focus of strong repression by the State. [return to text]

[12] Hanns-Martin Schleyer, a leading industrialist and former Nazi, was kidnapped by the RAF on September 5th 1977. His release was offered in exchange for that of RAF prisoners being held by the West German State. The state opted for a repressive hard line, and the situation escalated further when a Palestinian Commando hijacked a Lufthansa Airliner in support of the RAF’s demands (and also demanding the release of two Palestinian political prisoners held in Turkey). The Palestinian “Commando Martyr Halimeh” flew the airplane from Bahrain to Dubai to Aden (where the pilot was shot) and then finally – on October 17th – they landed in Mogidishu (Somalia). The next day, on October 18th, the conflict reached its climax, as a West German anti-terrorist unit stormed the hijacked plane, killing three of the four hijackers. Left-wing houses were raided across West Germany. Most ominously, the State announced that four RAF prisoners – Andreas Baader, Jan-Carl Raspe, Gudrun Ensslin and Irmgard Möller – had been “found dead” or seriously injured in their cells. Only Möller survived, and despite the fact that to this day she has described having been attacked in her cell, the State maintains that the three committed “suicide”. [return to text]

[13] Fritz Teufel was One of the early members of Kommune 1, a radical commune that existed in West Berlin in the late sixties. During a demonstration against the visit of The Shah of Iran on July 2, 1967, Teufel was arrested and accused of treason. It was not until December that he was released, after he had began a hunger strike.  [return to text]

[14] Prisoners from the RAF were held in “dead wings” – complete isolation, being held alone in an entire section of the prison. Not only their supporters, but many human rights observers and medical professionals maintain that this constitutes a form of torture. As Dutch psychiatrist Sjef Teuns stated in 1973 (“Isolation/Sensorische Deprivation: Die programmierte Folter,” in Ausgewählte Dokumente): “Sensory deprivation – because it can only be produced through human manipulation – is at once the most human and inhuman method for the protracted degradation of life. Applied for months or years, [it] is the proverbial ‘perfect murder’ for which no one – or everyone, except the victim – is responsible.” (quoted in Jeremy Varon’s Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies, p. 218)   [return to text]

[15] The June 2nd Movement was a West Berlin guerilla group influenced by anarchism, active in the 1970s. In the 1980s it merged with the RAF.
[return to text]

[16]  Ulrike Meinhof, one of the founding members of the RAF, who was “suicided” in prison on May 9th 1976. She wrote about her experience in the dead wing, and this can be viewed online at http://www.germanguerilla.com/raf/documents/72-73-meinhof.html    [return to text]

[17]  Astrid Proll was one of the founding members of the RAF, arrested on May 6th 1971 and subjected to isolation torture, from which she would never fully recover. In 1974 her trial was adjourned due to her bad health, and she fled to England, where she remained in hiding until 1977. She was extradited to West Germany, but charges against her stemming from her original arrest were dropped when it was learned that the state had withheld evidence that would have cleared her.   [return to text]

[18] Brigitte Mohnhaupt was a founding member of the RAF, arrested in the early 70s. She was released and went back underground. Arrested again in 1984, she is now serving a life sentence – as of 2005 she is still held separate from the general prison population.
Christian Klar was active in the prisoner’s’ solidarity movement and joined the RAF at the end of 1976. He got arrested in 1982 and was convicted to a life long sentence in 1985. In 1992 he was convicted a second time to life-long imprisonment. In 1997 the Supreme Court of Stuttgart put down a minimum imprisonment time of 26 years.   [return to text]

[19] the German State where the women are in prison.     [return to text]