Waltrude Schleyer

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Waltrude Schleyer
Born Waltrude Ketterer
(1916-01-21)21 January 1916
Munich, Germany
Died 21 March 2008(2008-03-21) (aged 92)
Stuttgart, Germany
Occupation activist
Spouse(s) Hanns Martin Schleyer (1939–1977, his death)
Parents Emil Ketterer

Waltrude Ketterer Schleyer (21 January 1916 – 21 March 2008) was the widow of Hanns Martin Schleyer, a high ranking German official and former Nazi who was killed by the Red Army Faction which shocked West Germany during the 1970s. [1][2]

She married Schleyer in 1939. She was the daughter of the physician, city councillor of Munich and SA-Obergruppenführer Emil Ketterer. They had four sons.

During the couple's times in Prague, Waltrude Schleyer lived in a formerly Jewish owned house whose owner died in a German concentration camp within in the same time period.

Schleyer's husband, Hanns Martin Schleyer, was the head of the employers association in West Germany and a former SS lieutenant.[1] He was kidnapped and then killed by the Red Army Faction (RAF) in 1977.[2] The RAF was also known as the Baader-Meinhof gang, which was named after two of the group's early leaders, Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof.[1] The RAF was a radical Communist terrorist group, with a Marxist-Leninist ideology, which sought to overthrow the West German government, which was capitalist and a close ally of the United States during the Cold War.[2]

The RAF kidnapping of Martin Schleyer was intended to force the West German government to release Andreas Baader and three other RAF members.[1] Baader and the other RAF members were being held at the Stammheim prison near the city of Stuttgart.[2] The West German government refused to give into RAF's demands or negotiate. The RAF sent the government a picture of Hanns Martin Schleyer alive, but in captivity, on October 8, 1977.[1] On October 18, 1977, on learning that three of their members had been found dead in prison, the RAF killed Martin Schleyer.[1] His body was found on October 19, 1977, in a car in Mulhouse, France, which is just across the border from Germany.[1] The RAF disbanded itself in 1998.[2]

Waltrude Schleyer advocated against clemency for RAF members who had killed her husband.[1] One of Martin Schleyer's kidnappers, Christian Klar, was refused a pardon by German President Horst Koehler,[1] but was released on 19 December 2008.[2] Other former RAF terrorist members have also been granted clemency and released. These moves were sharply opposed by Waltrude Schleyer.[1]

Waltrude Schleyer died on March 21, 2008, at the age of 92 in Stuttgart, Germany.[1] Her death was announced in the Stuttgarter Nachrichten daily newspaper, which did not give a cause of her death.[2]