All posts for Baader-Meinhof Wagen

Baader-Meinhof Wagen

BMW or Baader-Meinhof Wagen or Bayerische Motoren Werke or Bavrian Motor Works Bayerische Motoren Werke was the third largest manufacturer of cars on Germany, but by the mid-sixties the company was in financial trouble. Its cars were well built, yet plain. They were also distressingly easy to break into and hot-wire. Though the Baader-Meinhof Gang stole as many Mercedes as BMWs, they were forever linked to the little Bavarian cars in part because of the popular reworking of its name — from Bayerische Motoren Werke to Baader Meinhof Wagen. Such was the presumed connection between the gang and the cars that when police would receive a tip that members of the gang were in a particular area, the would often set up a road block and stop only passing BMWs. Often the gang members would be able to drive unmolested past the roadblocks in their freshly stolen Mercedes. Frustrated BMW owners took to placing bumper stickers on their cars indicating to police that the driver was not, in fact, a member of the Baader-Meinhof Gang. “Ich gehöre nicht zur Baader-Meinhof Gruppe” (“I do not belong to the Baader-Meinhof Group”) read the stickers, which were a practical statement as much as [read all]

January, 1972 Cologne

A Cologne policeman pulls over a BMW 2000 with Berlin plates. Knowing of the Baader-Meinhof Gang’s love of BMW’s, the policeman is cautious and points his gun at the car’s driver as he asks for the driver’s registration. Andreas Baader, the car’s driver, leans over, reaches into the glove compartment and pulls out a gun — and shoots at the policeman. Baader escapes, and the cop is uninjured.

BMW / Brand Terror

In the early 1970s, the automaker BMW’s brand was symbiotically linked to left-wing terrorism in the company’s native West Germany. BMW/Brand Terror explores how BMW came to be connected to terror. BMWs became so strongly associated with terrorism that a common joke emerged among Germans: “BMW” didn’t stand for “Bavarian Motor Works” but instead stood for “Baader-Meinhof Wagen” after the notorious Baader-Meinhof Gang that was waging war against the German state. Police would regularly set up roadblocks and simply pull over just BMWs, certain in their belief that the terrorist group only preferred the sporty cars from the Bavarian automaker. As Der Spiegel magazine noted, BMW owners had a very tough time in the early seventies, because quite simply they were ALL under suspicion. BMW/Brand Terror was created by creator Richard Huffman for his site’s visitors to enjoy.

July 15, 1971 Hamburg

RAF members Petra Schelm and Werner Hoppe are stopped at a police roadblock on a bridge in Hamburg. They are driving a stolen BMW 2002 ti (which was popularly called a “Baader-Meinhof Wagen”). They burst through the barricades and are chased by two police cars. The BMW slams to a halt as the police corner them. Schelm and Hoppe jump out and run, firing their guns as they sprint away. Hoppe gets cornered by police, who arrest him. Schelm runs into an alley, and a cop corners her. She fires at him and he returns the fire. Petra Schelm, age 20, is dead.

January 15, 1971 Kassel

Two Kassel banks are raided at the same time netting 115,000 DM. For one of the bank jobs, a BMW 2000 was stolen in Frankfurt. The BMW was one of the Baader-Meinhof Gang’s favorite cars to steal; because they were fast, easy to break into, and easy to hot-wire. In the coming year the group would become so associated with the sporty little Bavarian cars that people would joke that BMW stood for “Baader-Meinhof Wagen.”

Podcast 23: The Baader-Meinhof Wagen

The sporty, economical little BMW 2002 became forever linked with the the Baader-Meinhof Gang after it became their supposed car of choice to steal, earning it the nickname “the Baader-Meinhof Wagen.” The wagen on the cover of this podcast is mine!


6-19-1972 Faces Of Ulrike Meinhof (Stars and Stripes)

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6-27-1972 Cops Wounded In Shootout On Autobahn (Stars and Stripes)

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