For the last couple of days, I've been following the Red Army Faction (RAF) story....the armored-car robbers....Ernst-Volker Staub, Marie-Luise Burdock and Burkhard Garweg. What the cops generally say is this leftover crew (the last generation of the RAF from the early 1990s) have been active in crime.....mostly in what they believe is an attempt to cover 'pension' requirements.
The story has interested me. You have to stand back and think over this period of time, the RAF crew, and what they fell into.
Officially, at least by their last communique....the RAF came to an end in 1998. Most who've studied the German terrorist operation will say that the RAF started to shut-down operations back in the spring of 1991 in Dusseldorf with the assassination of Detlev Karsten Rohwedder. Rohwedder wasn't exactly a household name and it is still sort of a puzzle why he figured into some assassination attempt.
Rohwedder was a SPD Party member and a manager by trade. At some point as the Wall came down and all these East German state assets were stuck in the hands of a united Germany.....Rohwedder got called in and assigned the job of selling off the properties. Some were business operations.....some were simply apartment complexes....some simply warehouses.
Why some RAF hostility over Rohwedder? The typical response would be that it was government policy that the RAF disagreed with....in terms of disposing of property or assets. The more you think about it.....it really doesn't work. It may be that some insiders felt that special deals were supposed to be concluded with them favorite assets, and they weren't willing to play in the bidding process. Eliminating Rohwedder would send a message.....while thug-like in nature....that was the typical RAF attitude (even from the 1970s).
Wolfgang Grams, RAF member, was the one accused of the murder. The German cops took this assassination as a personal matter, and spent roughly two years hunting down Grams. In some confrontation that went wrong, and Grams pulling a gun on GSG-9 cops (the federal guys).....killing one and then falling off the railway platform....then shooting himself in the head (the story is often challenged but various courts have viewed the evidence).
A month or two prior to Grams confrontation with the GSG-9 cops.....he and another member got into a planned bombing episode at the major new prison in Weiterstadt....designed for terrorists. The blast did massive damage to the facility and triggered a significant delay. It could be said that targeting of the this last generation of the RAF had a different path than the previous two generations.
As for the trio of bandits now?
Put yourself into their shoes. As the Wall came down in November of 1989....these three members were likely sitting in a safe-house in West Germany. Their safe-house host/hostess? Friendly toward the anti-fascism and Marxism movement.
I would take a guess that the safe-house host was living either on a farm-house operation in a rural area of Germany (maybe the Hunsruck), or perhaps in some bakery front operation on the second floor with a private area in the rear.
As the days went by and the collapse of any DDR logistical support (it's tough to prove such existed, but they didn't run their operation off nothing).....these three sat in a purgatory-like atmosphere. They couldn't really leave and they couldn't really turn themselves in.
Their host/hostess vowed to protect them, and this happy group of terror enthusiasts found themselves trapped.
As the months went by, the best that they could do....was simply arise each morning....drink some coffee....help the host/hostess in some way....getting paid nothing.
They couldn't associate with other people....hang out at bars and tell rich colorful stories....or travel far and wide beyond the German border.
Contact with friends or relatives from their past became impossible. They might have occasionally passed a single card over to a friend and asked them to pass it to their family.....but they lived solitary lives.
After a while, they probably looked at the host/hostess of their safe-house and figured money was now a problem. Robbing armored bank vehicles? Well....it's a safe job if you plan it out and do your homework. They had time and set upon a routine.
They probably convinced the safe-house folks to acquire a RV or camper trailer.....using it to park in some area and plan out an operation. Two or three weeks later....they'd complete the job....return to the safe-house and fund the safe-house operation as best as they could.
You can frame this image....the two gentlemen and this lady....basically glued to each other since 1989, with their safe-house host/hostess. They have to overlook personal habits and stupid comments....arguments are kinda forbidden....and there's this element of reality that training doesn't really cover.
The three are stuck. They can't go forward, nor can they retreat. They've been left in place by their keepers, and there is no plan B to extract them or help them resettle.
I don't really feel sorry for them.....they didn't exactly ask a lot of questions over the anti-fascism values or Marxism there in their younger years. Maybe over the past decade or two....they've had some time to reflect, but what good does that do now? The past practice of the cops? People believe some agenda exists and the cops will shoot or execute any RAF member they come across....so surrendering isn't an option. My guess is that each of the three carries a gun, and reserves a bullet in the end to kill themselves.
The cops aren't stupid. Eventually, they will go back to the December attempted armored bank vehicle....draw a circle of twenty kilometers and look at every campground within that circle and who left the week after the attempt. Maybe there's a list of 400 RVs and campers....but somewhere on that list will likely be someone who lives on an isolated farm or in a larger-sized house with plenty of space for three extra people. Eventually some confrontation will occur, and the three will end their purgatory visit.