Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Poster I Remember

When I first arrived in Germany in January of 1978.....within two minutes of departing the plane....this poster was on the wall of the Air Force terminal at Rhein Main.  I stood there for a minute....lacking most German skills, but figuring it for a wanted picture.

Over the next month, I probably noted it at twenty different places around base, the flughafen, the Frankfurt Bahnhof, and several public places.

The members of the Baader-Meinhof Gang....the Red Army Faction (RAF) were identified by most members of the German public as "gangsters".  They were robbing banks, assaulting and killing business men and political figures.  If your picture got onto the wanted meant you were a dangerous criminal and the cops wanted you bad.

As time went by in that two-year period that I was assigned to Rhein Main....the subject would come up in the shop every couple of weeks as BILD would feature a front-page article on the Baader-Meinhof Gang, and the German guys in the shop would talk about this.

None of them could lay out any rational reason for this brand of warfare, or figure a logical reason to act as a criminal to achieve political results.  Most of these guys had been through the Nazi era of the 1930s or been solders in the 1941/45 era.  They saw the behavior being more of crazy people than college kids on some agenda.

The vast majority of Germans today have forgotten the RAF era.  If you approach some teenage kid in his late teens today.....they might remember it being brought up in school, but there's no connection to history, or what it all meant.  An entire generation is passing the subject and remembers little to nothing.  In twenty years.....I suspect it'll all be forgotten.  Thugs on some agenda....pretending to be something they weren't.

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