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Gudrun Ensslin, Bernward Vesper

»Emergency Laws by Your Hand« - Letters 1968/69

Gudrun Ensslin

Gudrun Ensslin

Gurdun Ensslin, born in 1940, grew up in Swabia as the daughter of a pastor. After her release on temporary licence in 1969, she went into hiding and participated in numerous Red Army Faction attacks up until her arrest in 1972. In October 1977, Ensslin, Andreas Baader and Jan-Carl Raspe committed suicide in Stuttgart's Stammheim Prison.

Bernward Vesper

Bernward Vesper

Bernward Vesper was born in 1938 as the son of the national socialist author Will Vesper. He was the publisher of the »Edition Voltaire« and took his own life in 1971. His unfinished autobiographical novel Die Reise, published posthumously in 1977, at the height of the »German Autumn,« is considered the »legacy of an entire generation« (Die Weltwoche).

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At the beginning of 1968, Gudrun Ensslin left Bernward Vesper and moved with her 7-month-old son Felix to Andreas Baader. Shortly thereafter, two department stores in Frankfurt burned; Baader, Ensslin and Thorwald Proll were arrested as suspected arsonists. Felix went with Vesper and the history of the Red Army Faction (RAF) began to take its course.

No other document comes as close to the formation of the RAF as these letters, published now in complete form for the first time, which Vesper and Ensslin exchanged until her conditional release and escape in mid 1969. After all the glorification and pathologizing, film versions and interpretations, the possibility now exists to form ones own opinion straight from the source, to explore the unbiased epochal and banal, myths and history, and to discover an important collection of tragic love letters that read like a novel but are, at the same time reality. Not without reason, the folder in which Vesper collected the letters was labelled.