book Chapter 11 — The Most Dangerous Game

July 1971 – January 1972, 19 pages: The relative mass support for the gang will shrink considerably over the next few months. Chapter 11 will show the Baader-Meinhof Gang turning deadly. In Hamburg a cop, Sergeant Norbert Schmid, is killed while attempting to arrest a gang member. In early December a member of Movement 2 June, George Von Rauch, is killed in a shoot-out with Berlin police. By late December a Kaiserlautern police officer, Herbert Schoner, walks in on a Baader-Meinhof Bank robbery and is shot dead.

This tit-for-tat nature of terrorist deaths followed by police deaths serves to harden both the support and the opposition for the gang’s activities. For conservatives, the deaths of cops only increases their belief that massive force needs to be mounted to stop the gang. For leftists, the death of the cops are not very troubling because they weren’t exactly innocent victims; they were part of the fascist state apparatus.

After the bank raid death of the policeman Schoner, Springer Press’ Bild Zeitung newspaper publishes a headline to the effect of “Baader-Meinhof Murders On.” Though the headline would later prove quite correct, at the time there is no evidence that the Baader-Meinhof Gang was involved in the raid. Noted German writer Heinrich Böll is incensed and says that Bild’s coverage “isn’t cryptofascist anymore, not fascistoid, but naked fascism, agitation, lies and dirt.” In an attempt to put their violent campaign into perspective, Böll would call the Baader-Meinhof Gang’s efforts “the war of 60 against 60 million.” Böll’s comments reflect a society at large that is hardening its feelings—pro and con—about the Baader-Meinhof Gang. Böll’s association with the proto-revolutionary Baader-Meinhof Gang proves to be no death knell to his own prestige; he is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature within 18 months.