chapter capsules Chapter 9 — The Crazy Brigade

February 1971 – winter 1972, 16 pages: This chapter will step back from the Baader-Meinhof story for a bit and focus on a young psychiatrist named Wolfgang Huber, who is employed at Heidelberg University’s outpatient clinic for students. Fully a man of his times, Huber has developed a unique brand of Marxist psychiatry; for Huber, all of his patients’ mental disorders spring from the horrors of Capitalism. It naturally follows that their only cure is Marxist Revolution. When the weary university administration attempts to remove Huber from his post, his patients band together and occupy the administrator’s office. They call themselves the Socialist Patients Collective (SPK), and win Huber his job back.

Invigorated by their success and aware of the Baader-Meinhof Gang’s revolutionary example, SPK begins to explore the idea of becoming terrorists themselves. They carry out a string of remarkably unsuccessful bombing attacks near Heidelberg, and after a few months begin signing their communiqués “RAF” rather than “SPK.” Soon they will be full-fledged members of the Baader-Meinhof Gang.