Brigitte Margret Ida Mohnhaupt (born 24 June 1949 in Rheinberg) is a German terrorist associated with the second generation of Red Army Faction (RAF) (self described as a communist "urban guerilla" group) members. She was also part of the Socialist Patients Collective (SPK). From 1971 until 1982 she was a militant activist with the RAF.
Mohnhaupt was born in Rheinberg
, North Rhine-Westphalia
as the daughter of an employee in a publishing house.
After her parents' divorce in 1960 she stayed with her mother. She took her abitur
in 1967 in Bruchsal
, and later that year enrolled with the philosophy
department at the University of Munich
. She was married to Rolf Heissler 1968-1970. While in Munich, she joined the local commune
scene, where she met core figures of the 1960s student movement
such as Rainer Langhans
, Fritz Teufel
and Uschi Obermaier
. In 1969, she participated in an illegal demonstration in the USA cultural center in Munich (Amerikahaus
) to protest the Vietnam War
. She was reportedly influenced by Carlos Marighella
's Manual of the Urban Guerilla
Activities as a member of the RAF
Originally a member of the SPK, Mohnhaupt (together with fellow commune member Irmgard Möller) joined the Red Army Faction around 1971 after the SPK dissolved, and helped with organization, logistics, and weapon procurement. Below is a timeline of Mohnhaupt's major acts as a member of the RAF.
- 9 June 1972: Mohnhaupt was arrested in Berlin in connection with the RAF and sentenced to prison for involvement with a criminal organization, identity document forgery, and illegal weapon possession.
- Shortly after Ulrike Meinhof's death in prison in 1976, Mohnhaupt was, on her own request, transferred to Stammheim Prison where the majority of other RAF prisoners were held captive. In Stammheim Prison she met Ensslin, Baader, and Raspe, and was reportedly trained by them to become a leader of the RAF.
- She was released on 8 February 1977, and immediately went underground and continued her work with the RAF.
- Mohnhaupt was a major player in the German Autumn: she was involved in the 1977 assassinations of chief federal prosecutor Siegfried Buback in Karlsruhe and banker Jürgen Ponto, chairman of the Dresdner Bank board of directors, in Oberursel, Taunus. She was also involved in the kidnapping and murder of employer representative Hanns Martin Schleyer.
- 11 May 1978 Mohnhaupt , Sieglinde Hofmann, Rolf Clemens Wagner, and Peter-Jürgen Boock were arrested in Zagreb, Yugoslavia.
- November 1978 - Mohnhaupt and three other RAF members were allowed to leave Yugoslavia for a country of their choice because West Germany turned down an offer from Yugoslavia to extradite them in exchange for eight Croatian political fugitives in West Germany.
- 15 September 1981 Mohnhaupt took part in an assassination attempt on U.S. General Frederick Kroesen using an RPG-7 anti-tank rocket.
Arrest and imprisonment
On 11 November 1982
Mohnhaupt, along with Adelheid Schulz
, was caught entering an RAF arms cache in the woods near Frankfurt
which had been staked out by GSG 9
men. Mohnhaupt was detained and sentenced to five terms of life in prison
with a minimum 24-year mandatory sentence
by the appellate court of Stuttgart
. She was given this sentence because of the significant role she played during the German Autumn
and for her part in the attempted assassination of NATO General Kroesen
. The court considered her as a leading figure of the RAF, but could not determine whether she had personally been involved in any of the murders. After her conviction, Mohnhaupt declared that the RAF would continue to fight.
Her arrest was a massive blow to the RAF (as she had become almost as important to her RAF 'generation' as Gudrun Ensslin and Andreas Baader had been to theirs). Since the release of Mohnhaupt and Eva Haule, Christian Klar (arrested in 1982), and Birgit Hogefeld (arrested in 1993) remain the last two RAF members still in jail (the others either committed suicide or were released).
On 12 February 2007 amidst widespread media controversy, the appellate court of Stuttgart gave Mohnhaupt parole effective of 27 March 2007. She routinely qualified for early release after serving her mandatory sentence.
Parole was granted since she was no longer a danger to society according to a psychological expert and the Federal Attorney General. Unlike other RAF members, Mohnhaupt had never applied for clemency.
She was released from Aichach prison on 25 March 2007.
Political debate surrounding her release
Many German politicians were in favor of clemency towards Brigitte Mohnhaupt and Christian Klar. Former Justice minister Klaus Kinkel (FDP) had pleaded in favor of a "second chance"; former president of the Bundestag Wolfgang Thierse (SPD) declared that "expiation" has taken place, and Green member Antje Vollmer stated that they "have been longer in prison than any Nazi criminal." On the other hand, Konrad Freiberg, president of the police union, who had seen ten of his officers killed by the RAF, and Bavarian Interior Minister Günther Beckstein were more than reluctant to see her released. However, Gerhart Baum (FDP), Federal Interior Minister from 1978 to 1982, was in favor of Brigitte Mohnhaupt's release, as it showed that she was treated no worse nor better than any other prisoner, being released after having served all 24 years of her mandatory sentence. According to weekly Die Zeit, keeping her in prison would signify that the state was confirming the terrorists' view of themselves as political prisoners .
- Becker, Jillian. Hitler's Children: Story of the Baader-Meinhof Terrorist Gang, DIANE Publishing Company 1998, ISBN 0788154729 or Panther edition 1978, ISBN 0586046658
- Jon Dough and Red Army Faction, The Urban Guerilla Concept, Kersplebedeb; Pamphlet edition (April 4, 2005), ISBN 1894946162, ISBN 978-1894946162
- Tom Vague, Televisionaries: The Red Army Faction Story, 1963-1993, AK Press; Rev Update edition (August 1994), ISBN 1873176473, ISBN 978-1873176474
- Baumann, Bommi, How It All Began: The Personal Account of a West German Urban Guerrilla, Arsenal Pulp Press; Reissue edition (June 1977), ISBN 0889780455, ISBN 978-0889780453
- Astrid Proll, Baader Meinhof, Pictures on the Run (Hans und Grete, Bilder der RAF), Aufbau Verlag, ISBN 978-3931141844 (Oct 1998)
- Mohnhaupt kommt nach 24 Jahren frei, Spiegel Online, 12 February 2007