2 June Movement
|2 June Movement|
|Dates of operation||1972–1980|
|Active region(s)||West Berlin|
The 2 June Movement (German: Bewegung 2. Juni) was a West German anarchist militant group based in West Berlin. Active from January 1972 – 1980, the anarchist group was one of the few violent groups at the time in West Germany. Although the 2 June Movement did not share the same ideology as the Red Army Faction (Baader-Meinhof Gang), these organizations were allies. The 2 June Movement did not establish as much influence in West Germany as their Marxist counterparts, but is best known for kidnapping West Berlin mayoral candidate Peter Lorenz.
Rising from the ashes of political group Kommune 1 and militant group Tupamaros West-Berlin, 2 June Movement was formed in July of 1971. During the trial of Thomas Weisbecker, Michael Baumann, and Georg von Rauch for the assault on Horst Rieck. Michael Baumann and Thomas Weisbecker were released on bail. When the release was announced, Georg von Rauch, who was facing a probable ten-year sentence for other charges, pretended to be Thomas Weisbecker, and left the courtroom with Michael Baumann. The two immediately went underground. Once Weisbecker revealed his identity, he was released from custody. Following their escape, the 2 June Movement was formed.
In contrast to the Red Army Faction, 2 June Movement was anarchist rather than Marxist. This organization derived their name from the date that German university student Benno Ohnesorg was killed by police in 1967. Participating in a protest of Germany's meeting with Iran, Ohnesorg was shot when the demonstrators were attacked by police. His death propelled the left-wing movement in West Germany, influencing politicians, political activists, and violent groups. Although the organization never became particularly notorious, 2 June Movement was most recognized in the first phase of German post-World War II militarism.
After forming in 1971, political activist Fritz Teufel became one of the leaders of the 2 June Movement. Originally taking part in Kommune 1, his comical take on revolutionary activity had him dubbed "fun guerilla" by the general public. In 1967, Teufel became a quasi-icon in West Germany after being arrested. Charged with treason and the attempted assassination of United States Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Teufel was eventually acquitted. His humorous image was constructed following his arrest, as he and his associates were brought into questioning with a flour-pudding-yogurt concoction that was to be used as a "bomb." On 2 June 1967, Teufel was arrested again, this time falsely accused of throwing a rock at police and provoking the riot at which Benno Ohnesorg was killed. This time, he served six months in jail.
In 1975, Mr. Teufel was arrested and charged with being a leader of the 2 June Movement. Fritz Teufel spent five years in prison awaiting trial, only to present a watertight alibi in court: when the kidnapping of Peter Lorenz took place he was working under a false name in an Essen factory that made toilet seats. He said that he had kept silent to expose the arbitrary nature of West German justice. Nonetheless, he was convicted of robbery, firearms offenses and membership in a criminal organization. He was then sentenced to five years in prison. After his release, Teufel stopped his pursuit of radical politics, however he kept his taste for provocation after using a squirt gun to spray the West German finance minister while taking part in a political discussion on television in 1982.
Although the 2 June Movement never developed a clear ideology or purpose for its existence, Teufel's political activism was rooted in his hatred for his parents' generation. Just like many students and activists of his age, Teufel was angered by the Nazi regime of the previous generation, and fought to eliminate that image from Germany. Much of the resentment was directed towards those individuals who had played a role in the Nazi regime, especially those who had never taken any responsibility for their actions.
Bombings, kidnappings, and other violent acts
Although the 2 June Movement achieved their greatest feat kidnapping Peter Lorenz, the group is known for many other attacks. The 2 June Movement predominantly used firearms when carrying out their attacks, but also used explosive devices.
On 4 December 1971 during a massive search throughout the city of West Berlin following the discovery of a Red Army Faction safehouse, three members of the 2 June Movement got into a shootout with a plainclothes policeman. George von Rauch was killed while, Michael Baumann and another guerrilla managed to escape.
On 2 February 1972, the 2 June Movement declared responsibility for a bombing at the British Yacht Club in West Berlin. The attack, which killed the boat's engineer, was later found out to be an act of assistance for the Irish Republican Army. During the trial, which took place in February 1974, 2 June Movement and other militants started a riot at the court's exterior.
On 2 March 1972 Thomas Weisbecker was killed in Augsberg, Germany during a shootout with two Munich policeman.
On the fifth anniversary of Benno Ohnesorg's death, a bomb exploded in West Berlin. To this day, no group has taken responsibility for the bombing, although it was inferred that attack was the action of 2 June Movement.
In West Berlin on 27 July 1973, the 2 June Movement stole 200,000 Deutsch Marks from a local bank.
In mid-1974, 2 June Movement member Ulrich Schmücker was shot to death by others in the organization. Although it is not clear what the rationale was for the shooting, Schmücker was believed to be an informant. The opposing argument was that the murder was an accident.
After Red Army Faction member Holger Meins died in prison, the 2 June Movement attempted a kidnapping of Superior Court Justice Günter von Drenkmann, who was killed in the process. The effort to kidnap Von Drenkmann was believed to be retaliation for the poor treatment of Meins during his time in prison. Meins and other Red Army Faction members were force-fed during a hunger strike, an action that angered the radical groups of West Berlin. While much of the general public was horrified by the death of the Superior Court Justice, some others[who?] believed that the Meins' cruel treatment by security officers was unethical, and justified Von Drenkmann's death.
Kidnapping of Peter Lorenz
Three days before mayoral election in West Berlin in 1975, candidate Peter Lorenz of the Christian Democratic Union party was kidnapped by 2 June Movement members. Lorenz was cornered while on the road, and was thrown into another vehicle after his driver was knocked unconscious from the vehicle collision involving the kidnappers. In an effort to free several imprisoned Red Army Faction and 2 June Movement affiliates, the extremists publicized a photo which showed Lorenz with a sign around his neck that read "Peter Lorenz, prisoner of the 2nd June Movement". The photo also contained a message that demanded the release of Gabriele Kröcher-Tiedemann, Horst Mahler, Ingrid Siepmann, Rolf Heissler, Rolf Pohle, and Verena Becker from prison. Along with the release of these members, 2 June Movement also demanded that a jet be provided to fly the radicals out to Aden located in South Yemen, and 9,000 German marks should be given to the 2 June Movement. The West German government met their demands, releasing all but Horst Mahler, who did not want to be set free. On 5 March 1975 Peter Lorenz was released at midnight, six hours after the West German Government had fulfilled the demands made by his abductors. He was dropped off in Wilmersdorf district, walked to a telephone booth, and called his wife, Marianne, to tell her that their six‐day ordeal was over.
Arrests and escapes
Throughout the course of the organization's history, several notable arrests resulted in the imprisonment of 2 June Movement members. Associate Till Meyer was taken into custody after a 29 March 1972 shooting in Bielefeld at which no one was wounded. By December, he was convicted of the attempted murder of a policeman, and imprisoned for three years.
On 19 April 1972 four hundred police raid the "Georg von Rauch House", a commune in Kreuzberg. Evidence related to recent bombings were discovered, but members of the 2 June Movement who had been living there were else where at the time of the raid. Twenty-seven people were taken in for questioning.
In 1973, 2 June Movement member Gabi Kröcher-Tiedemann was arrested after shooting a policeman and sentenced to eight years in prison. She was set free in 1975 as a part of the bargain in the Peter Lorenz kidnapping. Within a few months of each other in late 1973, Inge Viett and Till Meyer escaped from prison.
On 2 June 1980, the 2 June Movement declared that they had disbanded and merged with the Red Army Faction in a letter to the German daily newspaper, Frankfurter Rundschau. Anti-imperialism was a common cause that brought the 2 June Movement to join forces with the Red Army Faction. The 2 June movement ended their statement with "Unity in the Anti-Imperialist Armed Struggle" conveying their solidarity with the Red Army Faction.
- Michael Baumann
- Ralf Reinders
- Ronald Fritsch
- Georg von Rauch
- Angela Luther
- Till Meyer
- Fritz Teufel
- Gabriele Kröcher-Tiedemann
- Verena Becker
- Norbert Kröcher
- Inge Viett
- Gabrielle Rollnick
- Zachary Schwartz
- Berhard Braun
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