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Baader-Meinhof (Red Army Faction)

“Baader-Meinhof” became the popular name for the West German left-wing guerrilla group the Rote Armee Fraktion (Red Army Faction), who were active from 1968 against what it perceived as US imperialism.

The three main founding members were Andreas Baader (1943 – 1977), Gudrun Ensslin (1940 – 1977), and Ulrike Meinhof (1934 – 1976).

The group carried out a succession of terrorist attacks in West Germany during the 1970s and claimed responsibility in 1990 for the murder of Detlev Rohwedder, the government agent responsible for selling off state-owned companies of the former East German regime.

Baader was born in Munich and studied under the Palestinian revolutionary group al-Fatah in Jordan, before returning to Germany to join the 1960s student protest movement.


He was imprisoned in 1968 for setting fire to shops in Frankfurt but escaped in 1970. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in April 1977 and took his own life in October of the same year, following the failure of the Faction’s hostage swap attempt at Mogadishu airport in Somalia.

Ensslin also died in prison.