chapter capsules Chapter 5 — Al Fatah

May 1970 – August 1970, 26 pages: This chapter will focus on the world’s newest Urban Guerrilla faction’s escape from Berlin and their trip to a Palestinian guerrilla training camp. For six weeks in the desert, the 15 or so West Germans learn to shoot guns, fall out of moving cars, throw grenades, and thoroughly annoy their Palestinians hosts.

One member of the clan falls out of favor. Ensslin begins to believe that Peter Homann has betrayed the gang somehow, and demands that the Palestinian leader of the camp, Abu Hassan, kill Homann. Hassan declines, and secretly sends Homann back to Germany alone. In Germany Homann seeks the journalist Stefan Aust, an old friend of Meinhof’s, to help rescue Meinhof’s kids from hiding (Homann had overheard Meinhof plan to send her kids to another Palestinian camp to grow up as terrorists). Aust rescues the twins and returns them to their father.

While the urban guerrilla faction is in Jordan, the West German media, particularly the Springer Press, has a field day. Springer Papers dub them “the Baader-Meinhof Gang,” while more moderate papers prefer the more pedestrian “Baader-Meinhof Group.”