Baader-Meinhof Returns

History and Cultural Memory of German Left-Wing Terrorism


This volume is dedicated to the study of artistic and historical documents that recall German left-wing terrorism in the 1970s. It is intended to contribute to a better understanding of this violent epoch in Germany’s recent past and the many ways it is remembered.
The cultural memory of the RAF past is a useful device to disentangle the complex relationship between terror and the arts. This bond has become a particularly pressing matter in an era of a new, so-called global terrorism when the culture industry is obviously fascinated with terror.
Fourteen scholars of visual cultures and contemporary literature offer in-depth investigations into the artistic process of engaging with West Germany’s era of political violence in the 1970s. The assessments are framed by two essays from historians: one looks back at the previously ignored anti-Semitic context of 1970s terrorism, the other offers a thought-provoking epilogue on the extension of the so-called Stammheim syndrome to the debate on the treatment of prisoners in Guantánamo Bay. The contributions on cultural memory argue that any future memory of German left-wing terrorism will need to acknowledge the inseparable bond between terror and the artistic response it produces.
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Biographical Note

Gerrit-Jan Berendse is Professor of Modern European Literature and Head of the Department of German at Cardiff University. Research interests in contemporary German poetry, and in the relationship between aesthetics and terrorism. Publications include: with Mark Williams, eds., Terror and Text. Representing Political Violence in Literature and the Visual Arts (2002) and Schreiben im Terrordrom. Gewaltcodierung, kulturelle Erinnerung und das Bedingungsverhältnis zwischen Literatur und RAF-Terrorismus (2005).
Ingo Cornils is Senior Lecturer in German and Head of the Department of German, Russian and Slavonic Studies at the University of Leeds. He has published widely on the history and literary representation of the German Student Movement, on German Science Fiction, and on Hermann Hesse. Recent publications: with Osman Durrani (eds.), Hermann Hesse Today / Hermann Hesse Heute (2005), with Frank Finlay (eds.), (Un-)erfüllte Wirklichkeit. Neue Studien zu Uwe Timms Werk (2006), (ed.), Utopie, Fantasy und Science Fiction in Deutschland, special edition of literatur für leser 29 (2006) 4 and ‘Literary Reflections on ‘68’, in: Stuart Taberner (ed.), Contemporary German Fiction. Writing in the Berlin Republic (2007).

Review Quote

"[…] a very fine collection of thoughtful essays. It raises important issues as it examines the shadow of terrorism in the visual arts, literature, and film. […] insightful volume on cultural memory and the RAF." – in: The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture, 30 November 2009, pp. 261-4
"This book laudably brings to an Anglophone audience little-known and pertinent material on the international hot issues of how to understand terrorists […]." – in: Forum for Modern Language Studies 46 (2010), 1
"[…] the volume works well as an extensive, up-to-date overview of the RAF’s cultural posterity and criticism on it, and in suggesting how to read them. As such, this publication will be very welcome to students, researchers, and other readers." – in: Modern Language Review 105 (2010), 2

Table of contents

Gerrit-Jan BERENDSE and Ingo CORNILS: Introduction: The Long Shadow of Terrorism
Gerd KOENEN: Armed Innocence, or ‘Hitler’s Children’ Revisited
Depicting Dead Terrorists
Eric KLIGERMAN: Transgenerational Hauntings: Screening the Holocaust in Gerhard Richter’s October 18, 1977 Paintings
Carrie COLLENBERG: Dead Holger
Sarah COLVIN: Ulrike Marie Meinhof as Woman and Terrorist: Cultural Discourses of Violence and Virtue
Literary Representations
Sabine von DIRKE: The RAF as Trauma and Pop Icon in Literature since the 1980s
Charity SCRIBNER: Engendering the Subject of Terror: Friedrich Christian Delius and Friedrich Dürrenmatt in the Mid-1980s
Ingo CORNILS: Joined at the Hip? The Representation of the German Student Movement and Left-Wing Terrorism in Recent Literature
Sven KRAMER: Christian Geissler: Critical Companion of the Left
Gerrit-Jan BERENDSE: Shakespeare’s Children in Dialogue: Erich Fried and Heiner Müller
Birgit HAAS: Terrorism and Theatre in Germany
Cinematic Imageries
Julian PREECE: Reinscribing the German Autumn: Heinrich Breloer’s Todesspiel and the Two Clusters of German ‘Terrorist’ Films
Chris HOMEWOOD: Making Invisible Memory Visible: Communicative Memory and Taboo in Andres Veiel’s Black Box BRD
Annette VOWINCKEL: Skyjacking: Cultural Memory and the Movies
Gabriele MUELLER: Imagining the RAF from an East German Perspective: Carow’s Vater, Mutter, Mörderkind and Dresen’s Raus aus der Haut
Ewout van der KNAAP: The New Executioners’ Arrival: German Left-Wing Terrorism and the Memory of the Holocaust
Jeremy VARON: Stammheim Forever and the Ghosts of Guantánamo: Cultural Memory and the Politics of Incarceration
Select Bibliography
Notes on Contributors
Photographic Credits