Ulrike Meinhof's Family

Ulrike Meinhof

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Ulrike Meinhof – a family of her own

On December 27th in 1961, Ulrike Meinhof married Klaus Rainer Röhl, a communist by conviction and the founder of konkret. She gave birth to twin girls, Regine and Bettina, on September 21, 1962.
In 1968, she divorced Klaus Rainer Röhl and claimed the girls. In 1970, she moved to Berlin. During this time, she became involved with more radical individuals. After she helped Andreas Baader escape from prison, she had to go underground. Her children disappeared the same day after school. The father searched for them via Interpol, but in vain. While Ulrike Meinhof was educated at a Palestinian terrorist camp in Jordan, the group developed the plan to ultimately bring the children to a Palestinian orphanage camp.
To prevent the father from contacting his children, Ulrike Meinhof organized their escape. The twins stayed with a friend in Berlin for a few days until two women drove them south and crossed the boarder into France illegally on foot. Another woman received the children in France and continued towards Italy where they crossed the boarder by driving over a still closed pass street. Sicily was the end of the journey. The women returned to Germany, leaving the children with a girl named Hanna for several weeks during which the children played on the beach, studied their school books, and played hide and seek games. After Hanna returned to Berlin, the girls stayed behind in huts close to Mount Etna where four German Hippies looked after them.
Stefan Aust, the author of the most comprehensive book about the RAF, flew down to Sicily to fly the children home safe before they could be claimed by another member of the group. Although the children had no papers with them, Stefan Aust managed to bring them back to Hamburg to reunite them with their father. The following night, he was warned by a friend that he would be killed by the Baader-Meinhof Gang.

At times, Ulrike Meinhof showed remorse and signs of weakness because she missed her children, but group pressure, a mixture of threats and accusations proved to be successful, and Ulrike Meinhof surrendered to the fact that she could not be a terrorist and a mother. She abandoned her children for what she believed to be a political fight against the imperialistic state seeking justice in the world. The greater plan demands personal sacrifices.
This decision is telling about Ulrike Meinhof’s personality. As much as she was the brain of the group and voice to the outside world, she was weak and submissive on a personal level to Baader and Ensslin. She was nervous and tended to engage in harsh self-criticism.

Nowadays, Regine lives in Berlin secluded from the public eye.
Bettina is a freelancing journalist who lives in Hamburg. She has published several articles on the Baader-Meinhof group and has written a long essay about Ulrike Meinhof and the debate about her brain. The dignity of the dead Ulrike Meinhof. The madhouse republic? Is the German Terrorism imaginable without the media? Or: The story of Ulrike Meinhof’s medical brain diagnosis that was suppressed for 26 years

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