Bommi Baumann, German author and political activist, Died at 68

  Activist, Writer

Michael “Bommi” Baumann was born in 1947, and died on July 19, 2016.

He was one of the founders of the German organization Movement 2 June, author of a memoir, and a former militant.

He was a construction worker.

Michael nickname came from his favorite drink, Bommi mit Pflaume (plum-flavoured spirit), although it is often wrongly attributed to his occasional preference for explosives during student unrests.

During the 1960s, Micheal got in touch with the West Berlin student movement and with Kommune 1.

However, his views became more radical after various experiences with police, media and bureaucracy.

Following the death of Benno Ohnesorg on June 2, 1967, he started to espouse violence as a means of political struggle.

Not like many students in the SDS (German Socialist Student Union), he also stressed the importance of “direct action” and “fighting in the metropolises” to support guerrilla warfare in the third world.

Following the arson attacks against a British airline, which had flown young German Army deserters from West Berlin into West Germany, where they would have faced trial, Baumann had to spend some months in prison from February 1970 to summer 1971.

Along with his friend Georg von Rauch, he joined the Zentralrat der umherschweifenden Haschrebellen (“Central Council of Rambling Hashish Rebels”), one of organisations that founded the Movement 2 June.

The officials tried to arrest von Rauch for driving a stolen car, and shot him at the scene.

Following this incident, Baumann decided to end his part in urban guerrilla warfare, but he was sought by police as an accomplice.

During 1972, Baumann escaped and traveled to various countries, including Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and India.

During 1975 his autobiography Wie alles anfing (“How it all began”) was published (translated as Terror or Love? in 1979).

With that, he describes his personal evolution into a proponent of urban guerrilla warfare, and comments critically on armed struggle.

That particular edition, from the Munich publishers Trikont, was seized by police after its appearance because of its supposed incitement to violence.

Officials had a nationwide search was ordered immediately.

During 1976, there was more than 300 left-wing writers and publishers from several European countries, some of them quite prominent, united to protest this censorship.

The new edition was published and unchanged, which could be sold without problems.

During 1981, he was arrested in London and after court he was sentenced to a five-year imprisonment for bank robbery and bombing.

When he was in prison, Baumann wrote another autobiographical book, which appeared after he was released.

After the documents of the former East Germany were made accessible by the Gauck Authority after the German reunification, it became known that in 1973, Baumann had written a 125-page report to the East German State Security Service (Stasi) about 94 people within the armed struggle movement, including information on assaults, attacks, weapons, and sexual preferences.

Pass that, 165 pages of interrogation records exist on Baumann.

During that long six weeks, he shared his insider knowledge in 114 hours of interrogation.

He died in Berlin-Friedrichshain.

Bommi Baumann passed away at 68 years old.