chapter capsules Chapter 14 — The Dead Section

June 1972 – February 1974, 16 pages: The various Baader-Meinhof defendants are spread in prisons throughout the German Federal Republic. Meinhof is moved into the “Dead Section” of Cologne’s Ossendorf prison. The entire prison block is empty, save for Meinhof. Everything in her cell is painted white, and her fluorescent light is left on 24 hours a day. Meinhof endures nine months of this psychological torture. Most of the Baader-Meinhof defendants begin hunger strikes to protest their conditions. One of the major defendants, the impassioned former film student Holger Meins, starves to death. Six foot four inches tall, Meins weighed less than 95 pounds at death.

This chapter will revisit the societal attitudes towards the gang. As the seven dead victims fade into memory, many German leftists begin to find themselves outraged by the conditions that the terrorists are being held in. Amnesty International lodges an official complaint with the West German government over the conditions of Ulrike Meinhof’s imprisonment, but the government is unmoved. Early in 1973 they organize a crack antiterrorist commando squad, the GSG-9.
The chapter will end with a visit to Meinhof by her daughters Bettina and Regine. It will be her last contact with her beloved “mice.”