Victims of leftist terrorists gather 30 years on

24th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

24 October 2007, Berlin (dpa) - The relatives of prominent Germans slain by leftist terrorists gathered in Berlin Wednesday to mark 30 years since the murder of industrial leader Hanns Martin Schleyer.

24 October 2007

Berlin (dpa) - The relatives of prominent Germans slain by leftist terrorists gathered in Berlin Wednesday to mark 30 years since the murder of industrial leader Hanns Martin Schleyer.

Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries said the gathering marked the first state event remembering all the victims of the terrorist group, the Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF), also known as the Baader-Meinhoff Group.

In reference to the widespread public support the terrorists had at times enjoyed, Zypries said the victims had often been seen by Germans "through the eyes of their killers."

Only recently had the focus fallen on the victims themselves "as spouse, father, son and as friend."

The justice minister criticized as "scandalous and unacceptable" former terrorists who had attempted to justify their acts.

The names of 37 victims were read out by school pupils at the commemoration in the German Historical Museum. Some 70 relatives were among the 300 invited guests.

On Saturday, prosecutors said they were investigating Rolf Clemens Wagner for defending the RAF's September 1977 abduction of Schleyer.

"From today's perspective," the kidnapping was justified, Wagner had told the newspaper Junge Welt. Others have justified the abduction and murder of Schleyer on the grounds of his membership of the Nazi party and SS during World War II.

Wagner, 63, spent 24 years in prison for his role in the Schleyer kidnapping during which three of the businessman's police bodyguards were shot dead. He was released in 2003 after a presidential pardon.

The abduction triggered a series of events known as the German Autumn which culminated in a Lufthansa plane hijack, the prison suicides of three RAF leaders - Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe - and Schleyer's murder after 43 days in captivity.

The RAF started off in the early 1970s as a group protesting against the Vietnam War by targeting US facilities in Germany.

A "second generation" attacked the German state in order to secure the release of prisoners like Baader and Meinhoff.

DPA

Subject: German news

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