The terror of the Red Army Faction reached Heidelberg on May 24, 1972. At about 6:10 pm two bombs with
500 pounds of TNT exploded at the IDHS building. American soldiers Captain Clyde Bonner and Specialists
Charles Peck and Ronald Woodward died; five other people were injured. Bonner was killed on the spot; he was
standing close to the center of the explosion and his body parts were found in some cases even sitting on roofs and
in a tree. Woodward initially both survived but were seriously wounded and died shortly afterwards. Woodward
was in the courtyard with Bonner. Peck was in the building during the explosion and was buried by rubble and
died of severe head injuries.
Weeks in advance, the terrorists had observed that cars with American license plates were allowed open access
to the Kaserne. The RAF had stolen two cars, a Ford 17M and a VW Beetle, both with US markings and flags. The
bombs were dumped in the trunks. The bombs had been placed in the trunk of the Ford that was parked in front
of the IDHS Building.
The group "Kommando 15 Juli," (named for the anniversary of the death of the rogue RAF terrorist Petra
Schelm, who was was shot in 1971 by policemen in Hamburg) took credit in a letter delivered the next day the
attack, with the reason being the war in Viet Nam. The attack was part of the so called "May Offensive" of the Red
Army Faction. On May 11, three bombs exploded in the headquarters of the U.S. Army's V Corps in Frankfurt.
One soldier was killed and13 were wounded. On May 12, the RAF set off several bombs in the Augsburg police
headquarters and in the parking lot of the Munich State Investigation Bureau. Ten people were injured.
On May 15th, a bomb was attached to the VW Beetle of the Federal Court Judge Wolfgang Buddenberg. His
wife was seriously injured in the explosion. On May 19, they set fire at the
Axel Springer publishing house in Hamburg two (of five) bombs, 28 people were injured. In
contrast to the attacks in Augsburg, Munich and Hamburg, there was no warning by the RAF in Heidelberg, and
the expected that American soldiers would be killed.
The series of attacks on US headquarters in May 1972 had far-reaching consequences. The RAF lost popular
support and the Federal Criminal Police Office changed its focus more to combating terrorism. Shortly thereafter,
almost the entire "first generation" of the RAF was arrested: Andreas Baader, Holger Meins, and Jan-Carl Raspe
on June 1st, Gudrun Ensslin, on June 7th, Brigitte Mohnhaupt on June 9, Ulrike Meinhof on June 15, Siegfried
Hausner on June 19th, and Klaus Jünschke and Irmgard Moeller on July 9th. Meinhof, Baader, Ensslin and
Raspe were indicted in the Stammheim trial, which last from 1975 to 1977. No connections to the Heidelberg
"Socialist Collective" were discovered. Moeller, who voiced no remorse for her part, was sentenced to life plus
fifteen years. She was in fact released after sixteen years. Meinhof, Enssline, Baader, and Raspe all committed
suicide while in prison.
|Heidelberg and the RAF Bombing
Loose Translation from
Der Zeitung May, 2013