The encrypted channel Canal + is currently broadcasting a film based on the history of the Red Army Fraction: The Baader gang. the Red Army Fraction was a far-left movement, responsible for many acts of terrorism that rocked the FRG from the late 1960s to 1977. The group was led by Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Ulrike Meinhof, who led a real urban guerrilla to protest against the political and social organization of West Germany.
The Baader gang: chronicle of the years of lead
Originally, the group members were satisfied with small acts of blackmail at first, but after training in a Palestinian camp in Jordan, they returned to Germany with much more violent plans. In 1968, Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin set fire to a department store in Frankfurt to protest the Vietnam War. In 1972, the Red Army Fraction movement embarked on a series of bank attacks and bombings against US military and German police buildings. In June Baader and Meinhof were arrested, along with several members of the group, and imprisoned in Stuttgart-Stammheim.
A long trial opened, unleashing passions (Jean-Paul Sartre tried to intervene), while their friends who remained at large attempted large-scale actions to obtain, by blackmail, the release of their leaders. In April 1975, the Red Army Faction captured the FRG embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. Chancellor Helmut Schmidt refused to negotiate and the terrorists, after killing two embassy employees, blew up the building.
In May 1976 Ulrike Meinhof was found hanged in her cell, but the trial continued. Andreas Baader and his companions were sentenced to life imprisonment in April 1977. The rest of the group then stepped up actions in retaliation. In the fall, the terrorists kidnapped the head of German employers, Hans-Martin Schleyer, they murdered a federal attorney general and a banker. At the same time, members of the group participated in the hijacking of a plane of the German airline company Lufthansa to obtain the release of their comrades. The German authorities showed intransigence: on October 17, their anti-terrorism commando stormed the hijacked plane at Mogadishu airport in Somalia.
On October 18, 1977, Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin were found dead in their cell; the thesis of their suicide was the subject of much controversy.
In his film "The Baader Band", director Uli Edel stages terrorism in all its brutality and shows how a utopia turns into a bloody nightmare. The film, terribly effective, exposes the facts, without seeking to excuse or to condemn. Here, no linear plot, no revolutionaries shown as heroes, with whom we would be tempted to identify (Journal du dimanche).
La Bande à Baader, by Uli Edel, available on DVD and currently on Canal +.