Camilla Hall as an adult
|Born||24 March 1945|
St. Peter, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||May 17, 1974 (aged 29)|
|Cause of death||Gunshot wound to the head|
|Alma mater||Gustavus Adolphus College, University of Minnesota|
|Movement||Symbionese Liberation Army|
Camilla Christine Hall (March 24, 1945 - May 17, 1974) was an artist, college trained social worker, and an early member of the Symbionese Liberation Army. She is best known for being one of the kidnappers of heiress Patty Hearst.
On March 24, 1945, Camilla Christine Hall was born in Saint Peter, Minnesota. Her parents, George Fridolph Hall (1908-2000) and Lorena Daeschner Hall (1911-1995), worked at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota from 1938-1952. In addition, her father was a minister in the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lutheran Church in America, and later the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Her mother, Lorena (Daeschner) Hall, helped found Gustavus Adolphus College's Art Department and served as the department head. Camilla Hall was the only surviving child of four; two of her siblings died of a kidney disorder, Peter and Nan, and a third, Terry, of congenital heart disease.
In 1952, the Hall family moved to what is now Tanzania in East Africa. George and Lorena Hall taught in schools and did mission work, while Camilla and Nan played with the native children. In 1954, when Camilla was nine, the family moved back to Saint Peter, because of seven-year-old Nan's poor health. While Camilla Hall attended elementary school in Minnesota, the family moved to Montclair, New Jersey until Hall was to start high school.
After moving back to Minnesota, Hall went to Washburn High School in Minneapolis where she was involved in many activities. The 1963 Washburn Yearbook says, "Candy was a member of Blue Tri, Class Play, Poplars Staff, Quill Club, Forensics, Pep Club, and Hall of Fame" Blue Tri club was an organization that encouraged Christian ideals and put together service projects. In addition, Camilla Hall was voted class clown in High School. In 1963, she graduated from Washburn High School.
Camilla Hall attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. She transferred to the University of Minnesota after her freshman year at Gustavus. Hall attended special lectures, exhibits, and concerts at the University. On June 10, 1967, Hall graduated with a humanities degree from the University of Minnesota.
Following graduation, Hall moved to Duluth, Minnesota where she was a caseworker for St. Louis County, Minnesota. In early 1968 she was elected to carry the Eugene McCarthy banner, in support of the Eugene McCarthy Presidential Campaign, for the St. Louis County precinct. Even though Hall enjoyed helping people in her work, she found it difficult to separate her feelings while being a caseworker. For her job in Duluth, Minnesota, Hall used her musical and poetic talents in an advertising campaign.
In June 1968, Hall returned to Minneapolis, Minnesota and worked as a caseworker for the Hennepin County, Minnesota welfare office. Co-workers and friends of Hall described her as witty, sympathetic, helpful, and compassionate. Also, she had an outgoing personality and had a passion for literature. At the same time, Hall frequently talked with family and friends about philosophy and how she was disappointed with the state of welfare. In 1968, Hall was 23 years old and carefully monitored the political situation in America, including the 1968 Democratic National Convention. She was active in the peace movement and food boycotts, including the Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam. Despite her active participation in urging social change and working as a caseworker, Hall's mother says Camilla became dissatisfied with her work.
In November 1969, Hall moved to Topanga, a northern suburb of Los Angeles, California. In March, she moved into Los Angeles proper in west Los Angeles. According to Rachael Hanel, "She lived off her savings, interest income from a trust, money from her parents, and selling her simple, Rubenesque line drawings." Even though Hall didn't express dissatisfaction at being an artist, she decided to move again.
Hall moved to Berkeley in February 1971. In May 1971, Hall moved into an apartment complex on Channing Way where she met Patricia Soltysik. Previous to this relationship, Hall had not lived publicly in a lesbian relationship. Patricia Soltysik was the object of Hall's love poem named "Mizmoon".
In Berkeley, Hall continued being politically active. She was one of the activists in the People's Park reoccupation during the summer of 1972. She and Soltysik became involved with the Venceremos prison outreach project, through which they became associates of future Symbionese Liberation Army members Russell Little and Willie Wolfe. In October 1972, Hall travelled to Europe and stayed with friends while she traveled for three months. Once she returned, she continued being politically active and through her association with Soltysik, Little, and Wolfe, became involved in founding the Symbionese Liberation Army. The SLA would soon gain notoriety for the murder of Oakland school superintendent Marcus Foster, a bank robbery, and most famously, the kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst. Hall was identified from a security camera image as a participant in the April 15, 1974 robbery of the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco during which two civilians were shot.
Hall died in a shootout (May 17, 1974) with police in which five other SLA members were killed. As their hideout burned, Hall and fellow SLA member Nancy Ling Perry exited from the back door. Police claimed that Perry came out firing a revolver while Hall was firing an automatic pistol. Police shot them immediately, killing both. Perry was shot twice. One shot hit her right lung, the other shot severed her spine. Hall was shot once in the forehead. Her body was pulled back into the burning house by SLA member Angela Atwood, who also died.
Investigators working for Hall's parents claimed that Perry had come walking out of the house intending to surrender.
- "California Death Index, 1940-1997" [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000. Original data: State of California. California Death Index, 1940-1997. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved from Ancestry.com (subscription) July 19, 2009
- O'Brien, Susan. Research Files on Camilla Hall, 1967-1976. CAMC Collection 30. Gustavus Adolphus Archives, St. Peter, Minnesota.
- Biographical Notes from Hall Family. Papers Concerning Camilla Hall and George F. and Lorena Hall, 1938-1995. CAMC Collection 13. Gustavus Adolphus College Archives, St. Peter, Minnesota. 
- "Camilla Hall Ends Her Long Journey Home". People magazine, August 19, 1974, pp 14-15.
- O'Brien, Susan. Research Files on Camilla Hall, 1967-1976. CAMC Collection 30. Gustavus Adolphus Archives, St. Peter, Minnesota. http://gustavus.edu/academics/library/archives/CAMC0030.php[permanent dead link]
- Camilla Hall's Place in the Symbionese Liberation Army by Rachel Hanel, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota 2004
- "Camilla Hall's Place in the Symbionese Liberation Army" by Rachel Hanel, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota 2004
- Hall Family. Papers Concerning Camilla Hall and George F. and Lorena Hall, 1938-1995. CAMC Collection 13. Gustavus Adolphus College Archives, St. Peter, Minnesota.
- Page 55 in Camilla Hall's Place in the Symbionese Liberation Army by Rachel Hanel, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota 2004
- Toobin, Jeffrey (2016). American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0385536714.
- Bryan, John. This Soldier Still at War. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975. ISBN 0-15-190060-4.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Camilla Hall.|
- Papers Concerning Camilla Hall and George F. and Lorena Hall and Research Files on Camilla Hall are available for research use at the Gustavus Adolphus College and Lutheran Church Archives