Book look: RAF. Terror im Südwesten

A new exhibition about the crimes of the Red Army Faction (RAF) 1has opened in Stuttgart, the capital of the German province of Baden-Württemberg.

The southern region is an essential part of the story of the terror organisation which initially considered itself as a city guerrilla group. Some of its key members were detained and brought to justice in Stuttgart. Before things got totally out of control, students took to the streets in Heidelberg and other cities located in Baden-Württemberg. Supporters of the RAF and the organisation’s ideals held a hunger strike in front of the Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe.

“RAF. Terror im Südwesten” is now on display at the Haus der Geschichte Baden-Württemberg ( It focuses on several aspects such as the terrorists’ ways to radicalisation and the reaction of the public and authorities to their crimes. However, the exhibit also investigates what kept others from joining the terror group who killed at least 34 people.

Many television documentaries have been produced and an enormous number of books have been written about the RAF which was described as a “well-organised gang of left-wing extremists” by the New York Times in 1972. Especially the projects of Stefan Aust are worth mentioning. His book “Der Baader-Meinhof-Komplex”, originally released in 1985, can still be regarded as the most important works about the events before, after and in 1977 when the RAF’s terror peaked.

The current exhibition – the exhibit catalogue, a very comprehensive and informative publication, is on sale now – is another important effort in examining the shocking felonies by the German terror group which officially disbanded in 1998.

RAF. Terror im Südwesten
By Paula Lutum-Lenger, Sabrina Müller, Rainer Schimpf and others
Published by Haus der Geschichte Baden-Württemberg (

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