On This Day

Andreas Baader

Red Army Faction Leader Andreas Baader

Profession: Red Army Faction Leader

Nationality:
Germany
German

Why Famous: Baader was a leader of the Red Army Faction, also known as the Baader-Meinhof Group; a West German left-wing militia.

He was first convicted in 1968 with his girlfriend, Gudrun Ensslin, of fire-bombing a department store in Frankfurt as a protest against "indifference to the genocide in Vietnam."

The two escaped after sentencing, touring among left-wing sympathisers elsewhere in Europe, before returning quietly to West Germany. After their return, Baader was again arrested in 1970.

He escaped again, this time after journalist Ulrike Meinhof devised a fake interview. When Baader arrived with armed guards, three gunmen intervened and those that would thereafter be known as the 'Baader-Meinhof Group' escaped through a window.

After training in Jordan with Fatah, Baader returned to West Germany where he was involved in robbing banks and bombing buildings until he was arrested again in 1972.

After an extensive trial, Baader was convicted in 1977. Efforts by the Red Army Faction to secure his release were fruitless. When a final attempt, involving the hijacking of a Lufthansa flight, failed, Baader and the others imprisoned with him are said to have agreed to a suicide pact.

While there have been questions since, with the gunshot angle being apparently impossible for Baader to have done himself, and the question of how a gun made it inside also open, the suicide pact story is accepted by most.

Born: May 6, 1943
Birthplace: Munich, Germany

Generation: Silent Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Goat/Sheep
Star Sign: Taurus

Died: October 18, 1977 (aged 34)
Cause of Death: Collective suicide

Historical Events

  • 1968-05-14 RAF-leader Andreas Baader sentenced to 3 years in West Berlin
  • 1970-05-14 Red Army Faction leader Andreas Baader freed after serving 2 years in West Berlin
  • 1972-06-01 West German police arrest Red Army Faction leader Andreas Baader
  • 1974-12-04 Jean-Paul Sartre visits Red Army Faction leader Andreas Baader in prison
  • 1977-04-28 Andreas Baader and members of terrorist group the Red Army Faction (Baader-Meinhof Gang) jailed for life after a trial lasting nearly 2 years in Stuttgart, Germany

Famous Germans