A new Academy Award-nominated drama about Germany in the 1970s: Murderous bomb attacks, the threat of terrorism and the fear of the enemy inside are rocking the very foundations of the still fragile German democracy.
The radicalised children of the Nazi generation led by Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleibtreu), Ulrike Meinhof (Martina Gedeck) and Gudrun Ensslin (Johanna Wokalek) are fighting a violent war against what they perceive as the new face of fascism: American imperialism supported by the German establishment, many of whom have a Nazi past.
Their aim is to create a more human society but by employing inhuman means they not only spread terror and bloodshed, they also lose their own humanity. The man who understands them is also their hunter: the head of the German police force Horst Herold (Bruno Ganz). And while he succeeds in his relentless pursuit of the young terrorists, he knows he’s only dealing with the tip of the iceberg.
Producer and scriptwriter Bernd Eichinger (PERFUME – STORY OF A MURDERER, DOWNFALL) brings Stefan Aust’s standard work on RAF terrorism, Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the R.A.F. to the big screen for Constantin Film. Director Uli Edel (LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN, ZOO) presents the dramatic events that shook the democratic foundations of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1967 to the “German Autumn” of 1977.
Stefan Aust’s book Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the R.A.F. was first published in 1985 and has defined today’s view of the Red Army Faction’s war against the state like no other book. It is neither a case for the prosecution nor the defence. It does not proclaim any verdict, either legally or morally. It is a protocol, a chronicle of the events that reached their peak in the “German Autumn” of 1977, in the hijacking and liberation of the passengers and crew of the Lufthansa plane “Landshut,” the suicides of the imprisoned RAF leaders and the murder of the Employers’ Association President Hanns Martin Schleyer.
Stefan Aust’s masterful history of the group presents the definitive account, capturing a highly complex story both accurately and colorfully. Much new information has surfaced since the mass suicide of the groups’ leaders in the 1980s. Some RAF members have come forward to testify in new investigations and formerly classified Stasi documents have been made public since the fall of the Berlin Wall, all contributing to a fuller picture of the RAF and the events surrounding their demise.
Aust presents the complete history of the RAF, from the creation in 1970 to the breakup in 1998, incorporating all of the new information. For instance, there is growing evidence that the German secret service eavesdropped on Baader, Meinhof, and the other RAF members imprisoned in Stammheim and that they knew that the terrorists planned a mass suicide, but did nothing to prevent it. Also, there is new information about the role of the RAF lawyers (among them Otto Schily who later was Minister of the Interior in Gerhard Schroder’s cabinet), and the roles of the different RAF members and the rivalry between them. The volume also contains numerous photos.
Terrorism today is never far from most people’s thoughts. Baader-Meinhof offers a gripping account of one of the most violent terrorist groups of the late twentieth century, in a compelling look at what they did, why they did it, and how they were brought to justice.
“Riveting.” —Washington Post
“There has never been an account as authoritative, or as gripping, as ‘Baader-Meinhof,’ which has the advantage of being related by a journalist who was once so close to the action that the gang targeted him for death… a riveting portrait of the gang and its two leaders, Andreas and Ulrike Meinhof. … Mr. Aust tells the Baader-Meinhof story with journalistic care but also with an acute sense of drama… ‘Baader-Meinhof” might seem an unlikely book to recommend — after all, it’s about far-away and long-ago antiwar radicalism. But it is also a clear-eyed look at the inner workings of a group driven by violent fanaticism, and on that score Mr. Aust’s indispensable work could not be more timely. “—Wall Street Journal
“Meticulously researched.”—Kurt Loder, MTV.com
“This is one of the best books I’ve read this year in any genre.” —John Wilson, Christianity Today
“Aust writes about his subject with admirable dispassion and clarity and in exacting detail, tracking the cat-and-mouse movements between the group and the German police and its political leaders not just over several years, but down to the hour… one could not ask for a better guide to this story, and baring some significant new revelations, “Baader-Meinhof” is certain to be the final word on the subject.”—The Seattle Times
“Exhaustively detailing the group’s exploits from 1970 until the prison suicides of the leaders in 1977, Aust offers fascinating insights into both the spectacular and the mundane aspects of life in a terrorist cadre. He also offers includes new information obtained from Stasi files released after Germany’s reunification… this fast-paced account allows readers to peer into the minds of actors engaged in committing horrific acts of violence with the goal of advancing a political agenda–a timely subject in the age of global terrorism.”—Library Journal
“Among Germany’s many chronicles of its homegrown terrorists, Stefan Aust’s 1985 600-page Baader-Meinhof Komplex stands out as the classic…. The 2008 reworked translation of Aust’s book, Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the R.A.F. , provides English readers with the German Autumn story, updated with Aust’s latest findings.” —Washington Monthly
“Excellent.”—Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair