Baader-Meinhof: Pictures on the Run 66-67

“We lived a sort of armed existentialism.”

Astrid Proll’s book Baader Meinhof: Pictures on the Run 67-77 is for those interested in the Red Army Faction. The RAF is an integral part of West Germany’s history, and as a revolutionary/terrorist group (pick the term you prefer), they were a thorn in the side of German politics for decades. Astrid Proll was an early member of the First Generation RAF. Proll’s “underground time with the RAF … lasted less than a year,” and she was arrested in 1971. When she was released from prison, she escaped to England, and that is probably the reason she remained alive. This book of photographs is a compilation of some significant moments in the history of the RAF.

The photos from the early days are giddy, and high-spirited, but then a photo of the dead Benno Ohnesorg–shot by police during a demonstration–marks the swift change in events. One photo shows the abandoned shoe of Rudi Dutschke after he was shot by a “right-wing assailant.” Later photos include ‘wanted posters’, and prison photos of Ulrike Meinhoff, Gudrun Ensslin, Andreas Baader, and Jan-Carl Raspe.

The final photos are taken from the funerals of Ensslin, Baader, and Raspe after the state claimed they committed mass suicide in their prison cells.

The book includes an introduction by Proll, and these pages include both German and English text. Proll makes some interesting comments and admits that the RAF “overestimated themselves ridiculously … we were self-timers who acted cut off from reality in a void.” If you are interested in learning more about the RAF, I highly recommend the following: How It All Began: The Personal Account of a West German Terrorist by Bommi Baumann, Der Baader Meinhof Komplex by Stefan Aust, and the film, Germany in Autumn.

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