1974 November 10, 1974 West Berlin
The response to Meins’ death is immediate. Demonstrations take place in Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg, Berlin, and Stuttgart.
In the evening, a delivery man shows up at the door of Günter von Drenkmann, the president of Germany’s Superior Court of Justice. Von Drenkmann, celebrating his 64th birthday, opens the door to the delivery man, and several other people jump from the bushes and overpower von Drenkmann. In the mêlée, Drenkmann gets shot three times, and dies a short while later in the hospital.
The attack was apparently a botched kidnapping by Movement 2 June, in response to the death of Meins.
Germany is polarizing. Many people interpret Meins’ death as a murder, pure and simple, and join the growing number of “sympathizers” who support the terrorists’ cause. Others are sickened by the murder of von Drenkmann and look for the government to stop the terrorists by any means necessary.
Police conduct massive nationwide raids in the weeks following von Drenkmann’s murder. Two Protestant church figures, Rev. Cornelius Burghardt and Undine Zühlke (a social worker and wife a prominent minister), are arrested, accused of smuggling a Baader-Meinhof letter out of prison. Over 100 members of the Evangelical Church quit the following day in disgust with the police action. Burghardt and Zühlke are released on 29 November.
Volker Speitel, a former Red Aid volunteer who, along with his wife Angelike, has been working in Klaus Croissant’s office organizing the “info system” between the various prisoners, goes underground following the death of Meins. The lawyer Siegfried Haag puts Speitel in contact with the remnants of the Red Army Faction. Speitel meets up in Frankfurt with Hanne-Elise Krabbe, Bernhard Rössner, Lutz Taufer and Ullrich Wessel. Most of these people are former members of the Heidelberg Socialist Patients Collective (SPK), a radical organization of psychiatric-patient students who believe their mental illnesses are the result of Capitalism. Speitel quickly surmises that the constant police raids have decimated the RAF, leaving it with a few hand grenades, some guns, bombs, and five weary terrorists. After a short stint with the RAF, Speitel quickly tires of life underground and rejoins Croissant’s office.