HIDDEN IN THE GDR: THE MINISTRY OF STATE SECURITY AND THE RED ARMY FACTION
One of the biggest state secrets of the GDR comes to light in the course of the Peaceful Revolution of 1989/1990: ten former members of the Red Army Faction (Rote Armee Fraktion, or RAF) who had gone underground in the GDR are arrested within a few days in the summer of 1990. Officially, the GDR opposes all forms of terrorism and signs corresponding international agreements. In truth, however, the Ministry for State Security (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, or MfS) provides refuge to former RAF members. The Stasi also supports active RAF members by providing them with safe passage via Schönefeld Airport to other countries or training camps in the Middle East. Additionally, RAF members receive training in the use of firearms and hand grenades.
No terrorist violence on our territory.
Inge Viett is the RAF’s contact person with the Stasi. She knows MfS Colonel Harry Dahl from Department XXII “Counter-Terrorism,” and considers having RAF members go underground in sub-Saharan Africa. Surprisingly, in 1980 Dahl offers to provide internationally sought-after terrorists with new identities and hide them in the GDR. Only a few MfS employees, in addition to Stasi boss Erich Mielke, are privy to the operation. Head of state Erich Honecker will deny any knowledge of the operation all his life.
The MfS monitor the former RAF members with 20 “unofficial collaborators” (Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter, or IM). The former RAF members integrate well into daily life in the GDR and are thankful to be shielded from long prison sentences in West Germany.