(7 October 1934 – 9 May 1976) was a German left-wing militant. She co-founded the Red Army Faction (Rote Armee Fraktion) in 1970 after having previously worked as a journalist for the monthly left-wing magazine Konkret. She was arrested in 1972, and eventually charged with numerous murders and the formation of a criminal association. Before the trial concluded, Meinhof was found hanged in her cell in 1976.The attempted assassination of student activist Rudi Dutschke on 11 April 1968, provoked Meinhof to write an article in konkret demonstrating her increasingly militant attitude and containing perhaps her best-known quote:
Protest is when I say this does not please me.
Resistance is when I ensure what does not please me occurs no more.
Later that year, her writings on arson attacks in Frankfurt protesting the Vietnam War resulted in her developing an acquaintance with the perpetrators, most significantly Andreas Baader andGudrun Ensslin. She left her job at konkret in the early part of 1969 (later returning to vandalise the offices in May) and began her life as a terrorist.
Perhaps her last work as an individual was the writing and production of the film Bambule * in 1970, urging female revolt and class warfare; by the time it was scheduled to be aired, she had become a wanted terrorist and its broadcast was delayed until 1997. More specifically, by that point she had participated in the breakout of Baader on 14 May 1970. During this assisted escape (from a research institute Baader was visiting rather than a prison), a 64-year old librarian was shot (several times with a pistol, resulting in critical liver damage) and two law enforcement officers were wounded. Baader and the three women involved were accused of attempted murder and a 10,000DM reward was offered for Meinhof’s capture. (from wikipedia)
*The television film “bambule” is intricately connected to the history of the Baader-Meinhof group; its deep connection is what turned this minor TV film film into one of the great “lost” films for almost 25 years.
The film, produced by Stuttgart’s regional public broadcaster Südwestfunks, was set to appear across Germany on May 14, 1970 on the ARD public broadcasting network. But the film was pulled from the schedule because the writer of the film, Ulrike Meinhof, had become Germany’s most wanted fugitive four days earlier for her role in helping break convicted arsonist Andreas Baader from police custody in Berlin. What had been an effective and evocative portrait of life in a girls reform school, became political nitroglycerin; untouchable and locked in the Südwestfunks archives for decades.
Bambule tells the story of girls from society’s margins, confined to a state boarding home. The conditions of their care leads to an uprising amongst the girls; though eventually the uprising fails and the girls find themselves even worse off then before.
It was a shame that bambule became so closely associated with Meinhof and her actions; because by all accounts the film accurately detailed the oppressive and reactionary conditions in girls homes at the time. It was intended to provoke, and surely had it appeared on TV in 1970 it would have helped spur a debate (ultimately German laws were reformed in the 1970s, eliminating many of the abuses documented in the film).
The film represents a bit of a challenge for a casual German speaker; many of the actors were former and current residents of Berlin girls homes; all spoke in the peculiar and idiosyncratic idiom common to the residents of these homes. Even for a typical German the language is often hard to follow; though it adds considerable “realism” to the presentation.
In 1994, state public Broadcaster ARD finally decided it was time to pull bambule out of mothballs and show it to the world (Meinhof’s screenplay for the film had been published by Verlag Wagenbach in 1971). The 1994 broadcast is, so far, the only public showing of the film; and it has never been released on VHS, DVD, or Blu-ray. (source: http://www.baader-meinhof.com/bambule/)
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