* 1951 IN HAMBURG
FROM RAF TERRORIST TO GDR CITIZEN
Susanne Albrecht grows up as the daughter of a wealthy lawyer in Hamburg. Her involvement with the left-wing political scene begins in school and continues during her time as a university student. While studying education she comes into contact with members of the Red Army Faction (Rote Armee Fraktion, or RAF, a West German far-left militant group). She is a part of the RAF squad that shoots the head of the Dresden Bank, Jürgen Ponto, instead of kidnapping him as originally planned. Albrecht’s father is good friends with Ponto, and she uses her family ties to get access to him.
At first, I saw myself as a revolutionary in opposition to the GDR.
The murder of Jürgen Ponto leaves its mark on Susanne Albrecht. Leading figures in the RAF see her as a “mistake.” Meanwhile, with a warrant out for her arrest, Albrecht remains in the RAF, if only to avoid the authorities. After a failed attack on NATO general Alexander Haig in June of 1979, she decides to leave the group. The Ministry of State Security (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, or MfS, also known as the Stasi) creates a new GDR identity for her in 1980. West German investigators assume she is in Syria or Libya, but instead Susanne Albrecht has become “Ingrid Jäger,” a GDR citizen. After her marriage, she is known as “Ingrid Becker” and lives in Cottbus, Köthen, East Berlin and finally just outside Moscow. She thus is able to avoid federal prosecution until June of 1990.
HIDDEN BY THE STASI
The MfS puts a great deal of effort into creating a new life and identity for Susanne Albrecht, who is also under constant surveillance. As Ingrid Jäger and allegedly born in Madrid, she initially works as an English translator in Cottbus. In 1983 she marries a physicist who has no knowledge of her true identity and whom the MfS vets thoroughly before the marriage can take place. “Starting a family was the first independent decision I made in my life. No one meddled in that case,” she later said. Her son is born in 1984 and the same year she writes, “I must always take care not to forget who I am so I do not make any mistakes. For this reason I’d like to make our family life more harmonious.” In 1985 she begins teaching German courses for foreigners in Köthen.
When two fellow colleagues recognize Albrecht in a West German TV programme in 1986, the Stasi quickly arranges for her to move to East Berlin. Her husband only visits her on the weekends. The MfS organises a research fellowship for him near Moscow in February of 1988, and Albrecht accompanies him there with their son. In an internal memo, an MfS employee notes that the setup has been a success: “The husband knows nothing about “Ingrid’s” terro- rist background.” Susanne Albrecht is exposed and arrested in the summer of 1990. Only now does her family become aware of her true identity.