Brigitte Mohnhaupt
Overview
 
Brigitte Margret Ida Mohnhaupt (born 24 June 1949 in Rheinberg
Rheinberg
Rheinberg is a town in the district of Wesel, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is situated on the left bank of the Rhine, approx. north of Moers and south of Wesel....

) is a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 militant
Militant
The word militant, which is both an adjective and a noun, usually is used to mean vigorously active, combative and aggressive, especially in support of a cause, as in 'militant reformers'. It comes from the 15th century Latin "militare" meaning "to serve as a soldier"...

 associated with the second generation of the Red Army Faction
Red Army Faction
The radicalized were, like many in the New Left, influenced by:* Sociological developments, pressure within the educational system in and outside Europe and the U.S...

 (RAF) members. She was also part of the Socialist Patients' Collective
Socialist Patients' Collective
The Socialist Patients' Collective was a patients' collective founded in Heidelberg in February 1970, by Wolfgang Huber. The kernel of the SPK's ideological program is summated in the slogan Turn Illness into a weapon, which remains actively practiced...

 (SPK). From 1971 until 1982 she was active within the RAF.
Mohnhaupt was born in Rheinberg
Rheinberg
Rheinberg is a town in the district of Wesel, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is situated on the left bank of the Rhine, approx. north of Moers and south of Wesel....

, North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state of Germany, with four of the country's ten largest cities. The state was formed in 1946 as a merger of the northern Rhineland and Westphalia, both formerly part of Prussia. Its capital is Düsseldorf. The state is currently run by a coalition of the...

, the daughter of an employee in a publishing house.
After her parents' divorce in 1960 she stayed with her mother. She took her abitur
Abitur
Abitur is a designation used in Germany, Finland and Estonia for final exams that pupils take at the end of their secondary education, usually after 12 or 13 years of schooling, see also for Germany Abitur after twelve years.The Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife, often referred to as...

 in 1967 in Bruchsal
Bruchsal
Bruchsal is a city at the western edge of the Kraichgau, approximately 20 km northeast of Karlsruhe in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany...

, and later that year enrolled with the philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 department at the University of Munich.
Encyclopedia
Brigitte Margret Ida Mohnhaupt (born 24 June 1949 in Rheinberg
Rheinberg
Rheinberg is a town in the district of Wesel, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is situated on the left bank of the Rhine, approx. north of Moers and south of Wesel....

) is a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 militant
Militant
The word militant, which is both an adjective and a noun, usually is used to mean vigorously active, combative and aggressive, especially in support of a cause, as in 'militant reformers'. It comes from the 15th century Latin "militare" meaning "to serve as a soldier"...

 associated with the second generation of the Red Army Faction
Red Army Faction
The radicalized were, like many in the New Left, influenced by:* Sociological developments, pressure within the educational system in and outside Europe and the U.S...

 (RAF) members. She was also part of the Socialist Patients' Collective
Socialist Patients' Collective
The Socialist Patients' Collective was a patients' collective founded in Heidelberg in February 1970, by Wolfgang Huber. The kernel of the SPK's ideological program is summated in the slogan Turn Illness into a weapon, which remains actively practiced...

 (SPK). From 1971 until 1982 she was active within the RAF.

Early life

Mohnhaupt was born in Rheinberg
Rheinberg
Rheinberg is a town in the district of Wesel, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is situated on the left bank of the Rhine, approx. north of Moers and south of Wesel....

, North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state of Germany, with four of the country's ten largest cities. The state was formed in 1946 as a merger of the northern Rhineland and Westphalia, both formerly part of Prussia. Its capital is Düsseldorf. The state is currently run by a coalition of the...

, the daughter of an employee in a publishing house.
After her parents' divorce in 1960 she stayed with her mother. She took her abitur
Abitur
Abitur is a designation used in Germany, Finland and Estonia for final exams that pupils take at the end of their secondary education, usually after 12 or 13 years of schooling, see also for Germany Abitur after twelve years.The Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife, often referred to as...

 in 1967 in Bruchsal
Bruchsal
Bruchsal is a city at the western edge of the Kraichgau, approximately 20 km northeast of Karlsruhe in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany...

, and later that year enrolled with the philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 department at the University of Munich. She was married to Rolf Heissler 1968-1970. While in Munich, she joined the local commune
Commune (intentional community)
A commune is an intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, property, possessions, resources, and, in some communes, work and income. In addition to the communal economy, consensus decision-making, non-hierarchical structures and ecological living have become...

 scene, where she met core figures of the 1960s student movement
German student movement
The German student movement was a protest movement that took place during the late 1960s in West Germany. It was largely a reaction against the perceived authoritarianism and hypocrisy of the German government and other Western governments, and the poor living conditions of students...

 such as Rainer Langhans, Fritz Teufel
Fritz Teufel
Fritz Teufel was a prominent figure in the West German political left of the 1960s. One of the founders of Kommune 1, Teufel cultivated a theatrical, humorous public image--encapsulated in his idea of the "Spaßguerilla" . In the 1970s he rejected this image and became involved with the violent...

 and Uschi Obermaier
Uschi Obermaier
Uschi Obermaier is a former fashion model, actress and is associated with the 1968 left-wing movement in Germany. In the latter she is considered an iconic sex symbol of the so-called "1968 generation"....

. In 1969, she participated in an illegal demonstration in the USA cultural center in Munich (Amerikahaus) to protest the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. She was reportedly influenced by Carlos Marighella
Carlos Marighella
Carlos Marighella , was a Brazilian Marxist revolutionary and writer.Marighella's most famous contribution to guerrilla literature was the Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla, consisting of advice on how to disrupt and overthrow an authoritarian regime aiming a revolution. He also wrote For the...

's Manual of the Urban Guerilla.

Activities as a member of the RAF

Originally a member of the SPK
Socialist Patients' Collective
The Socialist Patients' Collective was a patients' collective founded in Heidelberg in February 1970, by Wolfgang Huber. The kernel of the SPK's ideological program is summated in the slogan Turn Illness into a weapon, which remains actively practiced...

, Mohnhaupt (together with fellow commune member Irmgard Möller
Irmgard Möller
Irmgard Möller is a German militant and a former member of the Red Army Faction...

) joined the Red Army Faction around 1971 after the SPK dissolved, and helped with organization, logistics
Logistics
Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations. Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and packaging, and...

, and weapon procurement. Below is a timeline
Chronology
Chronology is the science of arranging events in their order of occurrence in time, such as the use of a timeline or sequence of events. It is also "the determination of the actual temporal sequence of past events".Chronology is part of periodization...

 of Mohnhaupt's major acts as a member of the RAF.
  • 9 June 1972: Mohnhaupt was arrested in Berlin
    Berlin
    Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

     in connection with the RAF and sentenced to prison for involvement with a criminal organization, identity document forgery
    Identity document forgery
    Identity document forgery is the process by which identity documents issued by governing bodies are copied and/or modified by persons not authorized to create such documents or engage in such modifications, for the purpose of deceiving those who would view the documents about the identity or status...

    , and illegal weapon possession.
  • Shortly after Ulrike Meinhof's
    Ulrike Meinhof
    Ulrike Marie Meinhof was a German left-wing militant. She co-founded the Red Army Faction in 1970 after having previously worked as a journalist for the monthly left-wing magazine Konkret. She was arrested in 1972, and eventually charged with numerous murders and the formation of a criminal...

     death in prison in 1976, Mohnhaupt was, on her own request, transferred to Stammheim Prison
    Stammheim Prison
    Stammheim Prison is a prison in Stuttgart, Baden Württemberg, Germany. It is situated on the northern boundaries of Stuttgart in the city district of Stuttgart-Stammheim — right between fields and apartment blocks on the fringes of Stammheim...

     where the majority of other RAF prisoners were held captive. In Stammheim Prison she met Ensslin
    Gudrun Ensslin
    Gudrun Ensslin was a founder of the German militant group Red Army Faction . After becoming involved with co-founder Andreas Baader, Ensslin was influential in the politicization of Baader's voluntaristic anarchistic beliefs. Ensslin was perhaps the intellectual head of the RAF...

    , Baader
    Andreas Baader
    Andreas Bernd Baader was one of the first leaders of the German left-wing militant organization Red Army Faction, also commonly known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang.- Life :...

    , and Raspe
    Jan-Carl Raspe
    Jan-Carl Raspe was a member of the German militant group, the Red Army Faction.- Young life :Raspe was born in Seefeld in Tirol. He was described as gentle but had difficulty communicating with other people. His father had said that he couldn't stand violence...

    , and was reportedly trained by them to become a leader of the RAF.
  • She was released on 8 February 1977, and immediately went underground
    Underground resistance
    Underground resistance may refer to*Underground Resistance , a musical collective from Detroit, Michigan*Underground resistance during World War II, the inhabitants of various locales resisting the rule of the Nazis, the Empire of Japan, and Mussolini...

     and continued her work with the RAF.
  • Mohnhaupt was a major player in the German Autumn
    German Autumn
    The German Autumn was a set of events in late 1977, associated with the kidnapping and murder of industrialist Hanns-Martin Schleyer, President of the Confederation of German Employers' Associations and the Federation of German Industries , by the Red Army Faction , and the hijacking of the...

    : she was involved in the 1977 assassinations of chief federal prosecutor Siegfried Buback
    Siegfried Buback
    Siegfried Buback was the Attorney General of Germany from 1974-1977.Buback studied at the University of Leipzig. From 1940 to 1945 he was a member of the Nazi Party. From 1945 to 1947 he was a POW...

     in Karlsruhe
    Karlsruhe
    The City of Karlsruhe is a city in the southwest of Germany, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, located near the French-German border.Karlsruhe was founded in 1715 as Karlsruhe Palace, when Germany was a series of principalities and city states...

     and banker Jürgen Ponto
    Jürgen Ponto
    Jürgen Ponto, was a German banker and chairman of the Dresdner Bank board of directors. Previously, he had worked as a lawyer...

    , chairman of the Dresdner Bank
    Dresdner Bank
    Dresdner Bank AG was one of Germany's largest banking corporations and was based in Frankfurt. It was acquired by competitor Commerzbank in December 2009.- 19th century :...

     board of directors
    Board of directors
    A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

    , in Oberursel
    Oberursel
    Oberursel is a town in Germany. It is located to the north west of Frankfurt, and is the second largest town in the county of Hochtaunuskreis and the 14th largest town in Hessen.-Extent of municipal area:...

    , Taunus
    Taunus
    The Taunus is a low mountain range in Hesse, Germany that composes part of the Rhenish Slate Mountains. It is bounded by the river valleys of Rhine, Main and Lahn. On the opposite side of the Rhine, the mountains are continued by the Hunsrück...

    . She was also involved in the kidnapping and murder of employer representative Hanns Martin Schleyer
    Hanns Martin Schleyer
    Hanns-Martin Schleyer was an SS officer, a German business executive and employer and industry representative, serving as President of the two influential organizations Confederation of German Employers' Associations and Federation of German Industries...

    .
  • 11 May 1978 Mohnhaupt , Sieglinde Hofmann
    Sieglinde Hofmann
    Sieglinde Hofmann was a militant and member of both the Socialist Patients' Collective and the Red Army Faction.-Biography:...

    , Rolf Clemens Wagner
    Rolf Clemens Wagner
    Rolf Clemens Wagner is a former member of the Red Army Faction .-Terrorism:Wagner carried out most of his terrorists actions in the 70s, and became an active member of the second generation RAF...

    , and Peter-Jürgen Boock
    Peter-Jürgen Boock
    Peter-Jürgen Boock is a former member of the Red Army Faction.-Earlier life:After completing secondary school, Boock began training as a mechanic but soon quit. Claiming that his father was a staunch Nazi, Boock then left his parents’ home and travelled to the Netherlands...

     were arrested in Zagreb
    Zagreb
    Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

    , Yugoslavia
    Yugoslavia
    Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

    .
  • 17 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
    Assassination
    To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

     attempt on U.S.
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

     General
    General
    A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

     Frederick Kroesen
    Frederick Kroesen
    Frederick James Kroesen, Jr. is a United States Army four star general and was the Commanding General of the Seventh United States Army and the commander of NATO Central Army Group from 1979 to 1983, and Commanding General, United States Army Forces Command from 1976 to 1978...

     using an RPG-7
    RPG-7
    The RPG-7 is a widely-produced, portable, unguided, shoulder-launched, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Originally the RPG-7 and its predecessor, the RPG-2, were designed by the Soviet Union, and now manufactured by the Bazalt company...

     anti-tank rocket.

Arrest and imprisonment

On 11 November 1982 Mohnhaupt, along with Adelheid Schulz
Adelheid Schulz
Adelheid "Heidi" Schulz was a member of the West German terrorist Red Army Faction.-Early life:Having trained as a nurse, Schulz moved to Karlsruhe in the early 1970s and took up residence in a flat with Günter Sonnenberg, Knut Folkerts and her boyfriend Christian Klar – who would all at a later...

, was caught entering an RAF arms cache in the woods near Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

 which had been staked out by GSG 9
GSG 9
The GSG 9 der Bundespolizei , is the elite counter-terrorism and special operations unit of the German Federal Police.-History and name:...

 men. Mohnhaupt was detained and sentenced to five terms of life in prison
Life imprisonment
Life imprisonment is a sentence of imprisonment for a serious crime under which the convicted person is to remain in jail for the rest of his or her life...

 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
German Autumn
The German Autumn was a set of events in late 1977, associated with the kidnapping and murder of industrialist Hanns-Martin Schleyer, President of the Confederation of German Employers' Associations and the Federation of German Industries , by the Red Army Faction , and the hijacking of the...

 and for her part in the attempted assassination of NATO General Kroesen
Frederick Kroesen
Frederick James Kroesen, Jr. is a United States Army four star general and was the Commanding General of the Seventh United States Army and the commander of NATO Central Army Group from 1979 to 1983, and Commanding General, United States Army Forces Command from 1976 to 1978...

. The court considered her 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
Gudrun Ensslin
Gudrun Ensslin was a founder of the German militant group Red Army Faction . After becoming involved with co-founder Andreas Baader, Ensslin was influential in the politicization of Baader's voluntaristic anarchistic beliefs. Ensslin was perhaps the intellectual head of the RAF...

 and Andreas Baader
Andreas Baader
Andreas Bernd Baader was one of the first leaders of the German left-wing militant organization Red Army Faction, also commonly known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang.- Life :...

 had been to theirs).

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
Attorney General of Germany
The Attorney General of Germany is the federal prosecutor of Germany, representing the federal government at the Bundesgerichtshof, the federal court of justice. The office of the Attorney General is located in Karlsruhe. Besides its role in appellate cases, the Attorney General has primary...

. 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 favour of clemency towards Brigitte Mohnhaupt and Christian Klar. Former Justice minister Klaus Kinkel
Klaus Kinkel
Klaus Kinkel is a German civil servant, lawyer, and politician of the liberal Free Democratic Party . He served as Federal Minister of Justice , Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany in the government of Helmut Kohl. He was also chairman of the liberal Free Democratic Party from 1993...

 (FDP
Free Democratic Party (Germany)
The Free Democratic Party , abbreviated to FDP, is a centre-right classical liberal political party in Germany. It is led by Philipp Rösler and currently serves as the junior coalition partner to the Union in the German federal government...

) had pleaded in favour of a "second chance"; former president of the Bundestag
Bundestag
The Bundestag is a federal legislative body in Germany. In practice Germany is governed by a bicameral legislature, of which the Bundestag serves as the lower house and the Bundesrat the upper house. The Bundestag is established by the German Basic Law of 1949, as the successor to the earlier...

 Wolfgang Thierse
Wolfgang Thierse
Wolfgang Thierse is a German politician .- Early years in the GDR :Thierse was born in Breslau . He is a Roman Catholic and grew up in East Germany. After his A-levels he first worked as a typesetter in Weimar...

 (SPD
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

) declared that "expiation" has taken place, and Green member Antje Vollmer
Antje Vollmer
Antje Vollmer is a German politician of the German Green Party. Since 1994 she has been one of the vice presidents of the German parliament, the Bundestag....

 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
Günther Beckstein
Günther Beckstein is a Bavarian CSU politician and was Minister-President of Bavaria from 9 October 2007 to 27 October 2008...

 were more than reluctant to see her released. However, Gerhart Baum
Gerhart Baum
Gerhart Rudolf Baum is a German politician of the Free Democratic Party and a lawyer....

 (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
Die Zeit
Die Zeit is a German nationwide weekly newspaper that is highly respected for its quality journalism.With a circulation of 488,036 and an estimated readership of slightly above 2 million, it is the most widely read German weekly newspaper...

, keeping her in prison would signify that the state was confirming the terrorists' view of themselves as political prisoner
Political prisoner
According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, a political prisoner is ‘someone who is in prison because they have opposed or criticized the government of their own country’....

s.
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