Gabriele von Lutzau
Gabriele von Lutzau, née Dillmann (born August 15, 1954, Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located on the River Aller northeast of Braunschweig , and is mainly notable as the headquarters of Volkswagen AG...

, Federal Republic of Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

) is a German heroine and sculptor. She is remembered as the "Angel of Mogadishu" for her heroic role in a notorious hijacking, and is also noted for her abstract beechwood sculptures.

Mogadishu hijacking

Gabriele Dillmann worked as a flight attendant for Lufthansa
Deutsche Lufthansa AG is the flag carrier of Germany and the largest airline in Europe in terms of overall passengers carried. The name of the company is derived from Luft , and Hansa .The airline is the world's fourth-largest airline in terms of overall passengers carried, operating...

. In 1977 she was serving on 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...

 when it was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists. During the ensuing protracted captivity, she was a pillar of support and hope for the other hostages, and was lionized by the German press. She was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for her role in the affair. She later married her fiance, Lufthansa pilot Rüdiger von Lutzau, who piloted the plane carrying the commandos of the rescue force.

Two films of the hijacking were made: The Dead Pool (1997), in which von Lutzau is played by Susanne Schäfer, and Mogadishu (2008), in which Nadja Uhl
Nadja Uhl
Nadja Uhl is a German actress.She studied at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy College of Music and Theatre in Leipzig between 1990 and 1994, beginning her career as a theatre actress at the Hans Otto Theater in Potsdam in 1994...

 plays her.

Peter H. Jamin has made a short film Der Engel von Mogadischu (The Angel Of Mogadishu) about von Lutzau, covering both her role in the hijacking and her later life as an artist.

Artistic career

From 1984 to 1995, von Lutzau studied art under Walther Piesch at the art school of the University of Strasbourg
University of Strasbourg
The University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, Alsace, France, is the largest university in France, with about 43,000 students and over 4,000 researchers....


Her works are mainly wooden "guardian figures", created mostly from beechwood but also from black locust
Black locust
Robinia pseudoacacia, commonly known as the Black Locust, is a tree in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae. It is native to the southeastern United States, but has been widely planted and naturalized elsewhere in temperate North America, Europe, Southern Africa and Asia and is...

. Among her sculpting tools are the chainsaw and the flamethrower. She describes her work as "sentinels, wings, and life signs" crafted from "discarded wood - unwanted, sometimes grown under hard conditions - gnarled and twisted and finally felled." Although her original work is always in wood, she often has the sculptures cast into bronze or steel. For her "guardians" and "life signs", she also uses thuja
Thuja is a genus of coniferous trees in the Cupressaceae . There are five species in the genus, two native to North America and three native to eastern Asia...

 trees, often called the "tree of life" as they are often planted on graves.

Von Lutzau has exhibited at the ALP Galleries in New York City (a gallery dedicated to German artists), in Shanghai (Shanghai Spring Art Salon 2003), and at many galleries and shows in Germany.

Since September 11, 2001, von Lutzau has colored her guardian figures black (they had previously been blue).

Von Lutzau is a member of the German Federal Association of Visual Artists (BBK). She received the Aisch Art Prize of the Art Association of Höchstadt
-Geography:Höchstadt is situated on the river Aisch, 18 km northwest of Erlangen and 22 km south of Bamberg. Originally it was the capital of the Höchstadt district, but then it became part of the new Erlangen-Höchstadt district.-Division of the town:...

 in 1997 and has been a jury member for the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning in Berlin in 2002 and for the BBK in Frankfurt in 2003. She lives and works in Michelstadt
Michelstadt in the Odenwald is a town in the Odenwaldkreis in southern Hesse, Germany between Darmstadt and Heidelberg.- Location :Michelstadt is the biggest town in the Odenwaldkreis and borders on the district seat of Erbach....

 in the Odenwald
The Odenwald is a low mountain range in Hesse, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in Germany.- Location :The Odenwald lies between the Upper Rhine Rift Valley with the Bergstraße and the Hessisches Ried in the west, the Main and the Bauland in the east, the Hanau-Seligenstadt Basin – a subbasin of...


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