Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Recruiting for the Rote Armee Fraktion

In December 2012 the IISH received the papers of Mirjam Glaser (Kaiserlautern, 1958) from Frankfurt am Main. In the politicized Frankfurt of the 1980s, Glaser was active in an "anti-imperialist battle group" and she sympathized with the Rote Armee Fraktion / Red Army Group (RAF). Glaser was arrested in 1981 on the accusation of recruiting sympathizers for the RAF in the streets of Frankfurt. In 1983 Glaser was sentenced to a short imprisonment.

The papers contain files on the trial against Glaser. The most intriguing section in these papers is the personal correspondence by Glaser in the period 1982-1988 with RAF-members in prison. For instance, there are some letters written by Verena Becker and Günter Sonnenberg, who were imprisoned because of  their alleged involvement in a shooting party with the police in Singen. Both were probably also mixed up in the assassination of Siegfried Buback, the Attorney General of Germany, in Karlsruhe in April 1977. Indeed, Becker has again been imprisoned in 2013 after a new judicial sentence  because of her involvement in the murder of Buback. The letters of Becker and Sonnenberg treat requests to visits in prison,  strikes in prison, the complicated way to get books, and the communication within RAF circles.

Glaser also corresponded with Siegfried Haag, Inge Krobs, Brigitte Mohnhaupt, Gert Schneider, Volker Staub, and Johannes Thimme. The frequent and personal correspondence with Gert Schneider is very interesting from the Dutch perspective.

Schneider was arrested together with Christof Wackernagel after the two were involved in a shootout with the police in Osdorp, a suburb of Amsterdam. Schneider, whose lawyer in Holland was Willem van Bennekom, was eventually extradited to the Federal Republic of Germany and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Gert Schneider, who was allowed to leave prison prematurely in 1989, had already distanced himself from the RAF in the 1980s.

Glaser and Schneider exchanged dozens of letters in 1982-1983. Schneider describes his daily life in prison. He developed as an artist who illustrated his letters and designed his own postcards to Glaser. Glaser also kept her letters to Schneider.  It is a vivid correspondence with much attention to the struggle in Germany, Turkey, and the Middle East as well as for daily life in Frankfurt and in prison.
This small archive is a useful supplement to other IISH archives and collections such as the Rote Armee Fraktion in the Netherlands collection, the archive of the radical activist Jürgen Dietzsch from Frankfurt and the archives of the Dutch lawyers Pieter Herman Bakker Schut and Willem van Bennekom.

12 March 2013