Christian Klar
Christian Klar was a leading member of the second generation 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) between the 1970s and 80s. He had been incarcerated since 1982 in a 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...

A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

, but he was released on 19 December 2008 after serving over 26 years of his life sentence.

Early life

The son of a teacher
A teacher or schoolteacher is a person who provides education for pupils and students . The role of teacher is often formal and ongoing, carried out at a school or other place of formal education. In many countries, a person who wishes to become a teacher must first obtain specified professional...

 and vice-principal
In larger school systems, a principal is often assisted by someone known as a vice-principal or assistant principal. Unlike the principal, the vice-principal does not have quite the decision-making authority that the principal carries...

, Klar attended school in Lörrach
Lörrach is a city in southwest Germany, in the valley of the Wiese, close to the French and the Swiss border. It is the capital of the district of Lörrach in Baden-Württemberg. The biggest industry is the chocolate factory Milka...

, and in 1972 graduated from a school in Ettlingen
Ettlingen is a town in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, about south of the city of Karlsruhe. Ettlingen is the second largest town in the district of Karlsruhe, after Bruchsal.-Geography:...

. He went on to study history and philosophy at the University of Heidelberg, and became, for a while, a member of a young democratic movement.

Around 1973 he moved to a 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...

 flat with his girlfriend 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...

, Günter Sonnenberg and Knut Folkerts (who would all subsequently become RAF members) and in 1974 he took part in the occupation of the Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 offices protesting against the detention of RAF prisoners.


Around 1976, Klar joined the RAF and soon became a leading member of the second generation. In November 1982 he was arrested at an arms depot in Friedrichsruh
Friedrichsruh is a district in the municipality of Aumühle, Herzogtum Lauenburg district, Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany.- History :After the victory over France and the establishment, in 1871, of the German Empire, Otto von Bismarck received the Sachsenwald as a present from Emperor William I...

. Similarly to Brigitte Mohnhaupt
Brigitte Mohnhaupt
Brigitte Margret Ida Mohnhaupt is a German militant associated with the second generation of the Red Army Faction members. She was also part of the Socialist Patients' Collective...

, he was given a collective sentence for all the major RAF crimes since 1977. These included:
  • The April 1977 murder of 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...

    , his driver and his bodyguard
  • The July 1977 murder of Jurgen 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...

  • The kidnap and murder of 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...

     and the murder of his driver and three bodyguards

He was also charged with:
  • Attempted murder of a Swiss border guard and a motorist in Riehen
    Riehen is a municipality in the canton of Basel-Stadt in Switzerland. Together with the city of Basel and Bettingen, Riehen is one of three municipalities in the canton....

    , January 1977
  • Attempted rocket attack on the offices of the federal prosecutor
    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...

    , in August 1977
  • A Zurich
    Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

     bank raid, murder of a bystander, and attempted murder of a policeman, in November 1979
  • An 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. General 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
    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, on 15 September 1981


Klar was imprisoned from 1982 to December 2008. In early 2007 he petitioned Bundespräsident
Bundespräsident is the German language title for:* The President of Austria * The President of Germany...

 Horst Köhler
Horst Köhler
Horst Köhler is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union. He was President of Germany from 2004 to 2010. As the candidate of the two Christian Democratic sister parties, the CDU and the CSU, and the liberal FDP, Köhler was elected to his first five-year term by the Federal Assembly on...

 to be pardoned but was denied. He may have damaged his chance at a pardon by making anti-capitalist comments in January 2007, but he was released on 19 December 2008 after serving over 26 years of his life sentence. Klar showed no remorse for his crimes.

Families of RAF victims, as well as politicians, were outraged. Jürgen Vietor, co-pilot of Lufthansa Flight 181
Lufthansa Flight 181
Lufthansa Flight 181 was a Lufthansa Boeing 737-230 Adv aircraft named Landshut that was hijacked on October 13, 1977 by four members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine...

, sent a letter of protest to Germany's President and returned his Federal Cross of Merit. He questioned why "perpetrators receive more care and attention in our state, than victims?"
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