Communiqué Regarding the Murder of Wolfgang Grams

The terror-action of the BAW, BKA, and VS [1], carried out by their killer-troops in the GSG-9 and MEK – the arrest of Birgit Hogefeld and the cold-blooded murder of Wolfgang Grams [2] – have deeply affected us.

Even after our one-sided de-escalation in April 1992 [3], we never assumed that the state security apparatus would cease with its actions against us – the fact that their line is that of destruction was made clear in the new escalation of their terror against our imprisoned comrades.

But still, it is a great shock to be confronted with such coldness and brutality. Even the thought that Wolfgang might still be alive today, had it not been for the fact that these special murderers didn’t feel internally justified in their murder and protected from above, it’s still not so easy to let such emotion pass you by. They violently took a female comrade and a male comrade away from their common life.

We especially think of the past two years, on the common effort to come to a break in our history, to see ourselves through different eyes, and to admit that we are on a search and that we don’t have all the answers. This on-going process has required prolonged courage from everyone for criticism and self-criticism, something which was often painful.

It was very important for us to examine our own history and to be conscious of its strong points and its faults – that meant making our own experiences into a genuine reality. Recently, this was made easier due to the fact that the discussions generally concerned our future: The will to discover new things and the need to have knowledge of the changed situation and to make our own possibilities from out of this, to learn from the experiences of other struggles, and to introduce and utilize our own criteria and proposals in the building of a social counter-power from below.

Now, Wolfgang is dead, murdered. We mourn for him. We will miss him dearly.

Be skeptical of quick decisions, have the patience to think things over more than once, these were demanded by the precision in the discussions and this was not always easy – for example, he always saw to it that all aspects of the situation or his own proposals were examined, not merely those aspects that others upheld. This, too, we will miss.

We will keep alive a memory of him in our hearts, our comrade, who based his life on the struggle for liberation from oppression.

On April 10, 1992, we toned down the escalation against the State from our side: We stopped our attacks on representatives of State and capital. That was in our interest, because we wanted to take a decisive step towards a re-orientation of our politics and of left-wing politics in general. The priority of political discussion, instead of an escalation of the conflict, was necessary. We made a break in our 22-year history, and we had the idea that the struggle for the freedom of the political prisoners could be pushed through at this phase. Against this stood, and still stands, a State whose clearest orientation seems to be a destructive posture against all fundamental opposition. A political decision by the State was necessary, but the elite of State and capital are still not prepared to do this. They prove this fact time and time again. Political decisions about crucial questions are shoved aside by the justice department, police, and army, and are replaced by their measures.

The State saw our de-escalation and self-criticism as a sign of weakness. They only worsened the situation of the political prisoners, and they have opened a new series of trials against our imprisoned comrades.

All of the developments of the past few years, and the State terror of June 27 in particular, should open peoples’ eyes to what human rights really mean in this country, which is in deep crisis due to the collapsing capitalist system and to this country’s attempt to become a world-power, thus it thrashes about even more. Wherever human rights stand in the way of State concepts, they are meaningless – and the same is true when they stand in the way of economic concepts.

Capitalism always marches forward over corpses.

This system must be overthrown – we will find our way in this process, as we have always stated in our communiqués since April 10, 1992.

But the starting-point is new: Wolfgang has been executed.

The ruling powers want to cripple everyone on our side.

We Call On Everyone That Has Been Affected By This Terror: Do Not Accept The Order Of The Day! Do Not Accept This!

The big circus around Wolfgang’s murder is supposed to lead to a more effective apparatus. Penner (SPD [4]) made that clear when he said: “Such things can always happen.” And then he goes on to complain about bad information politics. This brings back memories of the state of affairs back in ‘77, when the SPD government ruled with a total news black-out and when the lies were prepared beforehand [5].

The scandal for them is the fact that they were not able to get their lies straight. The killer-hunt and murder of Wolfgang they inhumanely call bad luck. After Seiters pulled his head out of the noose just in time, a Republikaner-sympathizer was named would-be minister of internal affairs, thereby showing which way things are headed in Germany [6].

The last 23 years have shown that neither the RAF nor the resistance can be defeated by military means. And that will always be the case, just as long as inhumanity and injustice rule this country and the world.

Birgit, we send you our warmest embrace!

Red Army Faction
July 6th 1993


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

[1] German police and security agencies. [return to text]

[2] RAF members Birgit Hogefeld and Wolfgang Grams had been lured to Bad Kleinen by a police informant – Klaus Steinmetz. While Steinmetz and the two RAF members sat talking at the train station, 54 officers deployed around the building to close in as the three departed. Grams managed to get away, but was quickly captured. According to two witnesses the cops held Grams on the ground and shot him to death at point-blank range. Said Joanna Baron, a sales clerk at a station food stand: “Two policemen walked up to Grams, who was lying motionless. One bent over and shot him several times from close up. Then the second officer shot at Grams, but more at his stomach and legs. He shot several times.” The subsequent medical examination supported eyewitness accounts : it showed that the shot that caused the fatal wound to Grams head was fired from close range.  [return to text]

[3] On April 10th 1992 the RAF released a document – 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 – in which they stated that they would no longer carry out attacks on representatives of the State or capital. This document can be read at [return to text]

[4] The Social Democratic Party, at that point in opposition.  [return to text]

[5] SIn 1977 the Social Democratic government of West Germany was involved in an intense confrontation with the RAF, when the guerillas executed the banker Jürgen Ponto and kidnapped the industrialist Hanns Martin Schleyer. A Palestinian commando intervened in the conflict, hijacking a Lufthansa airliner as an act of support to the RAF. The SDP tightly controlled the media, initiated political repression of the radical left and finally opted for a “hardline” solution to the situation: the Lufthansa airliner was stormed by West German shocktroops in Mogadishu, Somalia, and three RAF prisoners (Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe) were “suicided” in their cells. [return to text]

[6] Rudolf Seiters was the Christian Democrat Minister of Internal Affairs at the time of Grams’ murder. Forced to resign when details of how Grams was executed became public, he was replaced by Manfred Kanther, from the hard right-wing of the Christian Democratic Union, known to b close to the far right Republikaner Party. [return to text]