Excerpts from text | the Red Army Faction A Chronology

Excerpts from text

Wilhelm Meins, the father
The fanatics who didn’t want their relatives in a cemetery with a terrorist child ... they came here every day. This is a note I received: when I returned over the next few days, I wouldn’t find him here any more. They would hang him here from the tree. So I had a concrete slab put in, from here to there, about one metre deep, so that they couldn’t remove the coffin any more.

Education report, 12th class, St. George Grammar School, Holger Meins
I was born on October 26th 1941 in Hamburg. My father Wilhelm Meins is works manager in a medium-sized technical company, so that you could describe our family circumstances as secure, regular and harmonic. ... I would say that my favourite activities are painting, writing, thinking, dreaming, reading, dancing, and doing nothing.

Education report, 12th class, St. George Grammar School, Holger Meins
There is no one whom I deeply trust and believe, who convinces me with his or her determination for truth and competence. It’s not enough for me just to simply observe and interpret what has happened. I have to continue asking until the last question, until the point where it is a matter of being or not being. Even with the danger, that I it will crush me. If I knew who God were, then I would also know who I am.

Suzanne Beyeler
One day the doorbell rang, I opened it and there was Holger, standing with a carpet underneath one arm and a mirror in the other hand. And he said, “Here I am!” Then he moved in with me. That was such a great surprise and such a great pleasure. ... He’d left his commune K1. Something just didn’t suit him there any more. So then, we got together. It was also a bit difficult, it wasn’t that easy. It’s hard to explain.

Wolfgang Petersen
He was in my film school. We were together. It was from '66 until '70. Holger Meins ... who became later on a terrorist, "Terrorist Holger", he was there. It was a wild time. It was a fantastic time. It was '68 with the student revolution... I learned much more about life and about politics than about films... It was what a film school should be: it was very, very wild and innovative and creative and a mixture between this political student revolution time and us, reflecting a lot and the films. It was great.

Gretchen Dutschke
We were confronted with violence. We didn’t start the violence at all. We demonstrated – that was not violent. It was a democratic right, to express your opinion, to take to the streets with placards and to say, we oppose the war in Vietnam... We were then confronted with violence on the part of the state, beaten by the police, and people were jailed. Until ‘67, when the police started killing us. It was violence up to the highest level. Under those circumstances, you had to ask yourself: are you going to abandon the democratic idea and say, the state wants to kill us if we express our opinion? They will kill us if we attempt to realize democracy ... ? That’s why the violence question went so far, that we thought, violence against things. That’s what we supported at first, because we thought that we had no other possibility. After the death of Benno Ohnesorg everyone thought, it is probably hopeless to talk about violence.

Rainer Langhans
Where do people get the idea that they really can achieve everything with war and rebellion in this day and age? I really have to say that precisely in Holger's case, I saw it as war against himself and not seriously for a successful war against the others. I believe that Holger had made war against himself. And this temporary projection, of being able to project it onto others, if you wage war against them, that you can win the war against yourself, I already found that no longer credible when he was in the commune. Less so in his case than with the others.

Letters from Holger Meins, 1973-74
Proletarian revolutionary: means having nothing to lose, everything to win. The “Popular War” method, Vietcong, nigger, person. Fascism is the enemy and nothing else. Between the enemy and us lies the “free fire zone”, and nothing else. They killed us, now we will kill them.

****, girlfriend
Illegality means no creativity. You function and react because of the hard conditions. They sent 60,000 or so screws after us. After that, we didn’t feel like laughing anymore.

Alfred Klaus
There were indications, that the lawyers misused their defence counsel rights, for this reason, on July 16th 1973 we searched ... the cells of the main defendants. My task was searching Ulrike Meinhof’s cell. That all started very dramatically because she refused to hand over a paper. As I tried to take the paper, she let herself fall and kicked me in the stomach with both feet. But this paper was very important: (the) fascinating thing was, that they had used the novel Moby Dick from Melville when allocating new code names. Holger Meins was given the name Starbuck, the important code name of the pilot of the Pequod, which was the name of the ship that wanted to hunt the white whale. Now Starbuck was a level headed, calm man, who tried in vain, to deter Ahab from his madness of wanting to harpoon the white whale. I was fascinated by these metaphors because I went to sea myself. Moreover, I thought about it, that they compared the Red Army Faction with the Pequod, this boat that then sank in the battle with the white whale, either consciously or subconsciously. The white whale, the state, the leviathan, which had to be pursued and fought using every means, regardless. In addition, Ahab practically took the Red Army Faction down with him!

Television report commentary
At a press conference in Stuttgart, the lawyers of the Baader-Meinhof Group accused the justice authorities of murdering Holger Meins. The Berlin lawyer Schily spoke of an execution in instalments. ... Meins weighed 42 kg, in the last few days he was nourished with just 400 calories per day.

Letters from Holger Meins, 1973-74
No word to the pigs, irrespective which disguise they come in, above all doctors. No yard visits alone, no bathing alone, no visits under police supervision, and of course, not a single shaking of hands. We will not lift a single finger. Passive resistance must be the rule; we should never be provoked into doing something or let ourselves be carried away. That would be plain stupid. Stay cool, calm, and cheerful. However, we must defend ourselves irreconcilably and unrelentingly, to the utmost with human methods.

Margrit Schiller
Its like this, the way I interpret Holger’s letters and his hunger strike, he knew that he would die, and did it consciously. The way I understood him, the way I experienced him beforehand, he knew what he was letting himself in for and knowingly accepted it. It wasn’t that he wanted to die, but he said, that’s the price I pay, or the consequence, that it can have and I’m also prepared to endure it.