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Hitler's Children: The Story of the Baader-Meinhof Terrorist Gang (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 18. Februar 2014

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  • Taschenbuch: 424 Seiten
  • Verlag: AuthorHouse (18. Februar 2014)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1491844388
  • ISBN-13: 978-1491844380
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 2,7 x 22,9 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.911.216 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Jillian Becker's first three books were novels. She has also written short stories and articles, published on both sides of the Atlantic. She left Britain in 2007 to be near most of her children and grandchildren in California, where she now lives.

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Von Dalakouras am 10. April 2014
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Question: Why this title? Answer: to sell more. This is not a bad book, perhaps the one of the best concerning Baader-Meinhof band. However, it is still quite tiring - more than half of the book focused on irrelevant Information while the important events briefly described. A bit disappointed.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 15 Rezensionen
21 von 30 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Hitler's Chidren - truth or propaganda? 21. November 1998
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
For 20 years this book has been seen as the definitve account of the terrorist scare in 1970s Germany. But time has not been kind. Jillian Becker's otherwise brilliant biography always suffered from her own politics; now with hindsight it's hard to see where the truth ends and fiction begins. The first section of Becker's book, which covers the genesis of the Red Army Faction in the late 1960s is quite superb. There is extensive, if slightly innacurate, biographical material on the leaders, and a genuine attempt to explain why the peaceful radical student movement became a radical terrorist one. But it's when she turns her attention to the RAF itself that the cracks begin to appear. For instance, Becker repeats with almost insulting frequency the official government line that the RAF prisoners were not subject to intense and deliberate solitary confinement. They were. Anyone who's read Stefan Aust's work 'Der Baader Meinhof Komplex' (the translation is now sadly out of print) will know this to be the case. Becker glosses over the whole imprisonment and trial of the gang, preferring instead to paint them as rowdy youths who were getting just what they deserved. Some of her comments defy belief. Unfortunately, since English-language books on the RAF are few and far between Jillan Becker has become the most comprehensive source on the gang by default. And I'm not denying that her book makes an excellent secondary source. Just be sure to take some of her more extreme comments with a pinch of salt.
Tony Mullen, London, United Kingdom, 21.11.98
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Absolute must-read despite of miserable writing 25. September 2015
Von Lilo Huhle-Poelzl - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
This book is a must-read, an absolute must-read! So why only 3 stars?

To make it clear: There is nothing in this book that deserves 3 stars. The contents (results of obviously ample research) deserve 5 stars. The writing, however, deserves only 1 star, and even this star is actually 1 star too many.

The book reads like a badly written dissertation (and it might have served as one). I am not even talking about the numerous typos, spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, and false or unclear modifiers; I am talking about the miserable writing style. It varies from chapter to chapter. Some chapters are narrated like 8th-grade essays that deserve no better than a C. Others are written in less-than-mediocre satire style. And the sarcasm of yet some other chapters reads uncomfortably like wannabe-satire. Why on earth couldn’t this author, at least, stick to one style, be it ever so bad?

This being said, the book tells a fascinating story about initially somewhat justified student protests turned into decades of terrorism that caused immense damage and cost many lives.

I had heard about these terrorists sporadically, during the 1960s, while I was living in Canada. And then, when I returned to Germany, in September 1970, I found these terrorists almost daily in the news, and they stayed in the news throughout the 1970s and even 1980s. The media had named them Baader-Meinhof Gang, after two of their infamous celebrity members, Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof. More accurately, they should have been called Baader-Ensslin Gang, as Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin were a pair, and Gudrun Ensslin, driven by hysteria and lust to kill, had been the loudest crier for violence, demanding the acquisition of weapons, long before Ulrike Meinhof, a journalist, had become a criminal. Or maybe, even more accurately, these terrorists should have been called the Horst Mahler Gang, because their lawyer, Horst Mahler, was the actual brain of the group.

I read some reviews of this book on Goodreads and also on Amazon, and I was appalled. Most reviewers criticized the reviewer not for her bad writing style but accused her of being biased. They obviously sympathized with these terrorists. I could hardly believe it.

Let me assure you: These gang members were AT NO TIME peaceful demonstrators or protesters. Even in the early stages of the group, when they only demonstrated and protested against outdated university rules and customs, they were totally out of line, breaking the law, causing damage, and provoking authorities in every possible way. At no time did they wish to have their “problems” solved. They declined any mediation. (And there were repeated offers of mediation by clerics, high politicians, and even by sympathizing leftist university professors and philosophers, among them Herbert Marcuse and Jean-Paul Sartre.) And they continued spreading terror long after their initial demands were met with university reforms.

I must admit that I never really understood what these terrorists wanted. (Other people I talked to didn’t either.) Reading this book, I came to the conclusion that these terrorists didn’t know themselves what they wanted, at least, not in a political way.

They all seemed to have different agendas. The only things they had in common was that they were against all authority (that is, they were anarchists) and that they eventually enjoyed violence for violence’s sake. Laying bombs and killing (mostly innocent) people had become their favorite activity. They were also all Leftists, with many of them dreaming to get the working class to join them to form a Marxist society, yet they didn’t approve of Soviet communism, and quite a few of them (among them Andreas Baader) had probably never read Karl Marx’s “The Communist Manifesto”.

Their initial terrorist acts were clumsy and stupid, reminding of comedies with idiot criminal protagonists. Later, they became more skilled and considerably more destructive and murderous.

(What I still cannot understand is that these terrorists triggered violent student revolts in numerous other countries and on several continents, causing considerable damage and also loss of life. Why don’t students, who are supposed to become intellectuals, take a closer look at whom they are imitating and/or following?)

Several main culprits of the Baader-Meinhof Gang were eventually caught and imprisoned. Some escaped. Some were shot. One died of a hunger strike in prison. Others went underground. And a few, namely, Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Jan-Carl Raspe, and Ulrike Meinhof committed suicide in prison, attempting to make it look like murder.

For more facts and details, please see the Wikipedia entry. Here is the link:

While Wikipedia supplies a lot of info, it is in no way a substitute for the above book, which, despite of its shortcomings, is a must-read no one should miss.

The most bizarre story in the book is about a gang-sympathizing and obviously insane psychiatrist, who told his patients, in a mental hospital, that the only reason for their mental illness was society. He managed to get a group of severely mentally ill patients into a workshop where his wife taught them bomb-making and bomb-laying. He further managed that these brainwashed mental patients were released and turned into terrorists, associated with the Baader-Meinhof Gang. They launched a hostage-taking attack on the German embassy in Stockholm (with the purpose of freeing all incarcerated Baader-Meinhof Gang members in Germany). When their plan didn’t work out, they shot a few of their hostages and, then, blew up the upper floor of the building, injuring fatally two of their own. (They hadn’t mastered the bomb-laying they had been taught.)

Another irony of the Baader-Meinhof Gang is that they declared every non-Leftist a Nazi, but at the same time practiced anti-Semitism and would have shot all Jewish passengers of a hijacked plane, in Entebbe, where the plane had landed, had not Israeli special forces freed the hostages and shot the terrorists.

The Baader-Meinhof Gang called itself RAF (abbr. for Red Army Fraction). After Andreas Baader’s, Gudrun Ensslin’s, Jan-Carl Raspe’s, and Ulrike Meinhof’s deaths (following the failed hostage taking in Stockholm), the new generation of terrorist gang members was also referred to as RAF by the media. The terrorism continued, and Wanted posters showing photographs with names and other known details of some 50 to 100 RAF terrorists were hung at all public places.

It was in 1981 or 1982, when I took a train from Munich to Petershausen, one evening. There were only few passengers. I was seated alone in one compartment, when another passenger arrived in a hurry. The young man sat down and behaved like a hunted deer. He first looked anxiously out of the window, screening the platform. Then, when the train started moving, he kept anxiously checking the aisle. The anxious screening of the platform was repeated at every train stop, and the anxious checking of the aisle went on throughout most of the time while the train was moving. I don’t remember why I didn’t leave the compartment. I should have. Maybe I was just fascinated by this man’s behavior. It was an “S-Bahn” (= a commuter train). Peterhausen was the end of the line. As soon as the train stopped, my fellow passenger jumped out of the train, whereas I took my time. All passengers departed and left for the huge parking lot, while I went to my car, which was parked quite a distance from the parking lot, not too far from the station building. When I got to my car, there stood this young man. He still had the attitude of a fugitive. His eyes were fluttering, and he nervously kept checking his surroundings. He asked me to give him a ride to Hilgertshausen, which was about 20 km away. I declined and said that I was headed in a different direction (which I was). He repeated his request with more urgency. I declined again. After this, the look on his face and also his body language let me fear for my safety. I thought he’d grab me any moment and force me into the car. He was tall and well-built. I wouldn’t have stood a chance to fight him. I evaluated for a moment whether it would make sense to even try. Then, all of a sudden, he froze, turned around and ran off in full speed. This was when it came to my mind that he might be one of the wanted RAF terrorists. I returned to the empty station building to look at the Wanted poster. And there he was—the 4th on the top line.

I drove home with the intent to call police. Yet my significant other (later 2nd husband) talked me out of it. He argued that police officers weren’t always the brightest, and that this man knew my face and my car (a little lemon-yellow Fiat, which was easy to spot). Besides, had he registered the number of my license plate, it would not be difficult to obtain our address. I reluctantly relented but had a bad conscience about it whenever I thought of it, until I read the above book. Mind you, I knew that these terrorists were dangerous, but only when I read this book, I fully comprehended HOW dangerous and revengeful they were. So in retrospect, my husband’s insistence not to call police had, under the circumstances, probably been best after all.

I had forgotten the name of this terrorist over the years. Yet searching my memory and looking at images of the RAF members on Google, I recently identified him again as Christian Klar.

The Guardian writes: "Klar was convicted in 1985 for his involvement in nine murders in 1977, including the killings of bank head Jürgen Ponto, industrialist Hanns-Martin Schleyer and federal prosecutor Siegfried Buback. He was sentenced to six life terms to run concurrently and served longer in prison than any other RAF terrorist."

Klar was set free in 2008, much to the quite understandable dismay of the descendants of his victims.

More about Christian Klar can be found on Google, for instance, by going to the following link:

As we all know, terrorism is a problem to this day. And while the terror groups change, their agendas tend to be rather flimsy. It seems to me that what really spurs them is power-craving, enjoyment of destruction, enjoyment of violence, and sheer lust to kill.

Reading this book, the reader not only gets a chance to “look into different terrorists’ brains” but also learns what the German justice system will tolerate (so many of these terrorists avoided convictions), learns how some university professors propagate theories that inspire students to become terrorists, and last but not least, learns how a crazy psychiatrist couldn’t be stopped turning mentally ill patients into terrorists and setting them free to commit violent crimes. If this isn’t a must-read, then what is?

P.S. I am utterly opposed to the book’s title. There is nothing to indicate in this book that all—or even the majority—of these terrorists had Nazis for parents. Thus, my conclusion is that the author depicts all of my generation as “Hitler’s children”. Here, I personally take offense. None of my ancestors (or other close relatives) were Nazis. Neither were the parents and/or grandparents of about half of my generation. At the last free elections, in 1932, Hitler’s party got no more than 39-point-something percent of the votes. Hitler only came to power due to a coalition with the Center Party (which he soon pushed out of the government) and also due to President Hindenburg’s significant senility and dementia. Once Hitler was in power, his ongoing propaganda and brainwash probably recruited more followers. My wild guess is that by the end of the war, about half of the German population were Nazis. To depict all Germans as Nazis is not only wrong but also highly insulting.
7 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A study of how student radicalism turns into terror 3. September 2011
Von Gary Selikow - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
This book was written in 1977 about the German Communist terrorist organization called the Red Army Faction, or more popularly the Baader Meinhof gang, which waged a reign of terror across Germany in the 1970s and also the Lufthansa 181 Somalia hijacking in 1977, together with Palestinian terrorists who found out that three women on the airplane were Jewish and singled them , made them kneel down and kicked and beat them. Their terrorist activities in Germany including a series of shooting of police officers and civilians and some high profile kidnappings and executions.
The BMG trained in various Arab countries and while they claimed they were fighting Fascism, in reality they aimed to overthrow the tolerant liberal democracy respectful of human rights in West Germany and replace it it with another totalitarian regime such as East Germany or the Soviet Union which they fully identified with. Ulrike Meinhof, one of the gang's most ruthless ringleaders wrote a piece in the far left newspaper published by the group when they belonged to the radical student movement the SDS and in it she praised the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia-so much for their professed pacifism and hatred of 'fascism'
Meinhof and the others also exhibited a violent anti-Zionism which is of course a form Jew-hatred targeting the Jewish State and it's Jewish population-and the author of this book recognizes the lie that aims to distinguish Jew-hatred from Israel-hatred as the vile sophistry that it is. They were in this Jew-hatred akin to their Nazi forefathers and again their opposition to 'fascism; s a slogan used by leftwing totalitarians which is ironic as they favour methods and systems which so resemble the 'fascism' and Nazism they so virulently claim to hate.
looking at this from the vantage point of 2011 one can look at the vile Communist front organization in the United Kingdom known as 'United Against Fascism', which is simply a front for support of Islamic radicalism and hatred of England's white working class.
Referring to the atrocities committed by the BMG the author refers to the trial of the BMG and how "The judges maintained that it was not acceptable to refer to genocide in Vietnam and then to start a war of one's own. The accused they said knew and were fully conscious that they were breaking the law. They listed the people who had been made into scapegoats for "American Imperialism" by the accused. As well as the soldiers who had been killed, printers, proof-readers, housewives, a tourist group, a child riding a scooter on a sidewalk had all been killed by their bombs".
The author paints biographical portraits of the ringleaders of the group such as Ulriche Meinhof, Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Horst Mahler (who today is a fanatical Neo-Nazi) and Jan-Carl Raspe. all of these young people came from comfortable upper middle class backgrounds in common with most white radicals from western backgrounds. The author describes the psychological causes based on narcissism and the need to kill in the name of a vague ideal: In discussing the next generation of young terrorists linked to the Baader Meinhof gang Jillian Becker describes how they "came from the same affluent background;were moved by the same ambition to be extraordinary;the same urge to defy for the sake of defying, were as much in need of submitting to the authoritarianism of the group; and out of the same boredom, self-dissatisfaction, hatred and confusion, they committed their acts of cruelty and destruction and felt the same need to justify themselves by referring to vague ideals"
Today their is a new generation of European and American radicals from similar affluent backgrounds, and with a similar hatred of western society who have put their passions into supporting Islamic terror and particularly Arab terrorists groups that aim to destroy Israel. The International Solidarity Movement is made of of young radicals from Arab countries who have aided and abetted Palestinian terrorists groups such as Hamas, the PFLP, the Popular Resistance Committees and others carry out attacks on Israeli citizens. The ISM is quite open about its belief that killing Israeli children is justified. This is an important book to read in understanding the psyche and modus operandi of ruthless young white radicals from affluent backgrounds, including those today!
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
I do not recommend it. 1. September 2014
Von David Leda - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Instead of just telling the story and letting the reader arrive to his own conclusions the author is constantly trying to prove, in the most heavy-handed manner, that the Baader-Meinhof gang were a bunch of spoiled retards, sometimes even bending the truth, like when she says that Gudrun Ensslin starred in a porn film. The film in question, called Das Abonnement, is an experimental short with some nudity but not porn at all (some excepts can be seen on YouTube). The writing style is poor and sometimes confusing, with too many time jumps, and the e-book version has quite a few typos, which makes the reading a tiresome experience. Too bad it is the only e-book on the subject available.
6 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
powerful and instructive 21. August 2001
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
This book should be returned to print. Ms. Becker's book is very well documented and is aided greatly by the fact that she doesn't buy into any romantic notions of the RAF's bravery, commitment, or moral sensitivity. She does point out that the early student protests in Germany had just cause and she does take the Berlin police to task for shooting Benno Ohnesorg and for exonerating the policeman responsible ("It was a whitewash.").
A previous reviewer writes: "Even someone wholly against violence, as I am, will empathize with the bravery and idealism of those who risk extermination in support of a cause." Would he (or she)make the same observation about Timothy McVeigh? Or the members of the Manson Family? The only difference between McVeigh and the Unabomber is political philosophy. What is brave about planting a bomb in a car or a building where innocent people can get killed? Did any of these groups or people ever once directly engage soldiers or even the police?
At one point in the notes at the back of this book, Ms. Becker makes an observation that defines these groups and fashionable leftism in a nutshell: "...postwar middle class children in the prosperous societies which alone can afford these 'hip' politics were educated to believe in compassion as a sentiment rather than justice as a principle."
Some of the writing is a little sloppy and one does occasionally wish Ms. Becker would keep her opinions a little more in the background--she was, perhaps, reacting to the hip cachet that groups like the RAF had (and still have) among the affluent left intelligentsia.
Try to pick up the 1978 edition, which has some up-to-date info about later RAF actions and the suicides of the leaders. Read this book and your ideas about what's going on in places like Seattle and Genoa will change a little.
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