After 30 years of persecution, former left-wing terrorist Daniela Klette is captured in Berlin-Kreuzberg. The victims' families are now waiting for clarification.

The remains of an underground life will be removed on February 27 from Daniela Klette's apartment in Berlin-Kreuzberg Photo: Florian Boillot

Carolin Emcke says she wishes she had not found out from the media: Daniela Klette, the former RAF terrorist, was arrested after 30 years of persecution in the center of Berlin, in the alternative leftist Kreuzberg. The news was “at first a shock,” says the publicist. “The images and pain came back immediately.”

Carolin Emcke was 22 years old when her godfather died, assassinated by the RAF: Alfred Herrhausen. On November 30, 1989, a bomb detonated through a light barrier destroyed the Mercedes of the director of Deutsche Bank. Herrhausen bled to death in the back seat, his driver survived, seriously injured. The Red Army Faction declared in its letter of responsibility that the “most powerful economic leader in Europe” had been executed. The 59-year-old was one of the last RAF murder victims, one of 34 in total.

Carolin Emcke rushed to the crime scene at that time. It wasn't until 22 years later that she was able to write about it in her book “Silent Violence.” Now, says the TAZ author, she hopes there will be “clean and constitutional investigations and clarifications.” “All I long for is finally, finally, the end of silence.”

The silence of the RAF does not refer only to Alfred Herrhausen. Those responsible for the attack were never identified, as is the case with many other acts committed by left-wing terrorists. To this day, investigators only know the names of some members of the third and final generation of the RAF who carried out the murder of Herrhausen and nine other people.

The most wanted in Europe

It is said that Daniela Klette was one of them. This Karlsruhe native was active in the anti-NATO movement and Red Aid in the 1970s. He is said to have gone into hiding in 1989, shortly after the assassination attempt on Herrhausen. Federal prosecutors accuse her of participating in three attacks. In 1990, the Deutsche Bank in Eschborn was attacked with 250 shots. A year later, a bomb was placed in front of the US embassy in Bad Godesberg, but did not detonate. In 1993, the RAF blew up the Weiterstadt prison, which was under construction. DNA from Klette was found at all crime scenes, and in Weiterstadt also from RAF co-defendants Burkhard Garweg and Ernst-Volker Staub.

A search for Burdock has since been launched. First by the Federal Prosecutor's Office, then by the LKA of Lower Saxony, because Klette, Garweg and Staub committed six robberies between 1999 and 2016 in Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, with a loot of two million euros to finance their clandestinity. life. 150,000 euros were offered for information and the trio was included on the “Europe's most wanted” list. Without success, until Monday night.

Then investigators knocked on the door of a small apartment at the top of a gray, seven-story building in Berlin-Kreuzberg, and Klette answered. The now 65-year-old woman is said to have lived there for years under the name Claudia Ivone. The name is not on the bell. But in November the LKA received a tip from the public and then looked at the apartment. Klette did not resist arrest.

Klette's apartment was thoroughly searched for days and the house was evacuated for one night because investigators found remains of a rocket-propelled grenade, a Kalashnikov, a submachine gun, a pistol and ammunition.

Involved in the cultural association.

Klette was flown by helicopter to Bremen and driven in an armored vehicle to the Verden district court, as if she were still one of the main terrorists. It was later announced that she was in custody for her alleged involvement in the six robberies. Since then, Klette is said to be in the Vechta women's prison.

Lower Saxony's Interior Minister Daniela Behrens (SPD) called it a “milestone in criminal history.” The head of the LKA, Friedo de Vries, stressed that “they never give up.” But Klette did not live so hidden in Berlin. According to neighbors, she gave private classes. She maintained a Facebook profile, also under the name Claudia Ivone, in which she published photos of herself. For a long time she was involved in a Brazilian cultural association in Berlin, in dance and capoeira groups, there she taught children, here she openly posed for photographs, danced in front of the Carnival of Cultures and is said to have traveled with the group to Brazil. or France.

One of the first companions of the cultural association says that she met “Claudia” while dancing, a friendly and almost a little shy person. “Claudia” spoke fluent Portuguese, met a couple in Brazil who lived with her in Berlin for a few months and then separated from her. She seemed more spiritual and participated in rituals, trance-like dances in which she could hardly fake herself.

The fellow dancer does not remember any political conversations. “Claudia” told me that she works in geriatric care. She sometimes travels for a few days and from time to time she receives a little money from the elders. “Looking back, of course, it can be interpreted differently. But then there was no reason to be suspicious.” She later lost contact.

Like a split personality

“Claudia” also left the Capoeira club a few years ago. “I would never have believed that this woman would have committed attacks and robberies. Nothing further,” says the former acquaintance. “This really makes me question my knowledge of human nature.” It seems as if Klette has developed a “completely split personality.”

In the end, an ARD podcast team also found the footprints left by Klette. Using image recognition software, they found images of Klette's capoeira club late last year. But they learned that Klette had no longer worked there for years and they couldn't find the person they were looking for. There are major legal obstacles to police using this type of image recognition software. The company's own image database is much smaller.

In recent years, the LKA has relied on classic target searches: thousands of car rental companies and tobacconists were visited because Staub is considered a chain smoker, possible crime scenes where the robberies took place were observed , newspaper clippings were seen in a crime car and a mobile phones were assessed and letters addressed to Garweg's family were confiscated. Finally, relatives and possible former acquaintances of the trio were called again as witnesses, in which investigators allegedly said they were willing to reach an agreement with those in hiding.

This comes too late for Daniela Klette. She now faces several years in prison. In one of the six attacks, in Stuhr, she shot at security guards and Klette is said to have threatened to use a rocket-propelled grenade; In this case, the accusation is attempted murder. The Federal Prosecutor's Office also continues to investigate Klette: her membership in a terrorist organization is prohibited by law, but the attack accusations are not.

Accusation: attempted murder

Before the explosion, the Weiterstadt commando tied up the prison guards and drove them out of the compound in a VW van. The explosion caused damage worth DM 123 million. Although there were no injuries in the attacks on the US embassy in Bad Godesberg and the Deutsche Bank in Eschborn, in both cases there were people in the buildings, which is why attempted murder is also being charged here.

The Rote Hilfe, on the other hand, criticizes a “persecutory fury” and a “need for revenge by the State.” It is to be feared that in a new RAF trial “all constitutional norms will be suspended to achieve the highest possible prison sentence.”

Verden prosecutor Clemens Eimter Bäumer recently stressed that Daniela Klette could also benefit from the leniency program if she goes beyond her own contribution to the crime. Alone: ​​According to investigators, the 65-year-old has so far remained silent, like almost all former members of the RAF.

It is a silence that journalist Carolin Emcke fights against. She also says we don't know what Klette was really involved in. “I'm skeptical about whether we'll learn much more. I would wish so? Yes of course. I believe that there can be no life in lies and silence.” In her 2008 book, Emcke called for a reprieve from punishment if the RAF men come forward. She continues to represent that, Emcke says. “I know that some family members see it differently. But for me personally, after all these decades, enlightenment is more important than revenge or punishment.” But then Klette would have to “explain the truth to himself.”

Obscene reports

Emcke also demands clarifications from the investigating authorities and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. All files, all knowledge must be made public. This is also crucial for social reflection on RAF terrorism. Because the way Klette's arrest is reported is “obscene”, he criticizes him. “There is everything from a gesture of political triumph to RAF voyeurism. The deaths, the violence, the pain of relatives, everything remains in the blind spot of this fascination of the RAF.”

There are also political voices that have hope. Klette's arrest should be used “to clarify the entire background” of the terror of the third generation of the RAF, says Green Party member Konstantin von Notz. Gerhart Baum, the FDP man who went after the RAF as Federal Minister of the Interior in the late 1970s, now also has hope, at least a little. With Klette's arrest, there is now a “vague possibility” of solving the murders of the third generation of the RAF, which were previously completely obscure. “That would be a sensation. I wish I could.”

In any case, for the victims' relatives it is “a very bad situation that the murderers of their relatives continue to walk freely.” If Klette really wants to talk, a leniency program is possible. “But that will ultimately be decided by the court and depends on whether she can say anything.”

In fact, to this day it is still unclear what role Klette played in the RAF. He joined the group in late 1989. Beyond the three attacks, investigators have no reliable information about his connection to the group. Investigators, however, attributed his wanted companion, Ernst-Volker Staub, to the RAF command level. But he, like Burkhard Garweg, remains missing to this day. An arrest in Berlin on Tuesday turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. The LKA recently warned that both men could also be in the capital. Therefore, the search there will “intensify.”

Daniela Klette has so far not helped in the search: she does not say anything about it either.

30776 74941 49251 62275 31674 28186 29145 92304 79815 34762 06989 35270 13255 09477 79011 01932 68983 16713 21647 47519