Closing in on remaining Red Army Faction

Closing in on remaining Red Army Faction

JURGEN PONTO: Red Army Faction killed Dresdner Bank chairman in 1977 Photo credit: CC/Lutz Kleinhans

The German authorities are closing in on two former members of the Red Army Faction (RAF), officially disbanded in 1998.

The group, also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang after its founders, developed from the 1968 student protests  which also engendered Italy’s Red Brigades, the Weathermen in the US and the Nihon Sekigun in Japan.

The RAF, supported by East Germany’s Stasi secret police, targeted West German politicians and prominent figures in banking, the military and business.  They killed 34 people including the Dresdner Bank chairman, Jurgen Ponto, who was shot dead in 1977, and Attorney General Siegfried Buback.

Also responsible for bombings, kidnappings and shootings, they injured two hundred people.

Germany’s police were actually seeking three RAF members until February 26, when they took 65-year-old Daniela Klette into custody.  Her arrest followed a Cold Case television programme with an appeal for information on her, Burkhard Garweg (55) and Ernst-Volker Staub (69).

A tipoff led police to Berlin’s Kreuzberg district where Klette had lived for approximately 20 years as Claudia Ivone.  Neighbours knew her as a “very quiet” person who tutored local children in maths and German and was often seen walking her dog.

Nevertheless, police found a grenade, which was later defused, in Klette’s home. She will now stand trial for her alleged involvement in six armed robberies and at least one attempted murder between 1999 and 2016, although the RAF was by then disbanded, Germany’s Public Prosecution department revealed.

Klette, together with Garweg and Staub belonged to RAF’s “third generation” which came after the original Baader-Meinhof followers who were active between 1970 and 1977, and their successors who operated from 1974 until 1982.

Meanwhile, Garweg and Staub, both of whom are said to be dangerous, are still on the run.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at