|West German Embassy siege|
German embassy in Stockholm (photo from 2008)
|Date||24 April 1975 |
12.00 – 23.47 (CET)
|Target||West German embassy|
|Siege, hostage crisis|
|Weapons||TNT, submachine guns|
|Deaths||2 embassy personnel,|
|Injured||10 embassy personnel, |
|Perpetrators||Kommando Holger Meins/Red Army Faction|
The West German Embassy siege in Stockholm, Sweden, was a hostage standoff initiated by the Red Army Faction (RAF) on 24 April 1975. Collectively, the attackers referred to themselves as Kommando Holger Meins, after Holger Meins, an RAF member who had died of starvation during a (collective) hunger strike in Wittlich Prison on 9 November 1974.
The RAF group carried out the attack with the goal of forcing the release of RAF members and others from prison in West Germany. During the siege they stated: "The Holger Meins Commando is holding members of the embassy staff in order to free prisoners in West Germany. If the police move in, we shall blow the building up with 15 kilos of TNT."
The group consisted of six members: Karl-Heinz Dellwo, Siegfried Hausner, Hanna-Elise Krabbe, Bernhard Rössner, Lutz Taufer and Ulrich Wessel. They entered the embassy, took thirteen embassy officials, including ambassador Dietrich Stoecher, hostage (or twelve officials, according to some sources), and then proceeded to occupy the upper floors of the building.
They warned Swedish police to back off or some hostages would be killed, but the police did not comply and one of the hostages, Baron Andreas von Mirbach, a German military attaché was marched out on to the landing and shot dead. Coincidentally his late relative Wilhelm von Mirbach who served as German Ambassador to Russia was assassinated at the German embassy in Moscow by Left Socialist-Revolutionaries in 1918.
Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, having experienced another hostage crisis just weeks before, was not prepared to negotiate with them. In response, economic attaché Hillegaart was made to stand at a window, and was then shot three times. With the murder of Hillegaart, the attackers announced they would execute one hostage every hour until their demands were met.
Swedish police prepared to storm the building, but before they had the chance to do so, the embassy was rocked by a series of violent explosions; the TNT had somehow been detonated. It turned out that one of the terrorists, Ulrich Wessel, had dropped a grenade, which killed him and detonated the TNT cache. The remaining hostages, as well as the other RAF members, all suffered severe burns. The captured and surviving RAF militants extradition was ordered by the at the time Swedish Ministry of Employment, Anne Greta Leijon who as such, had the authority to do so. Siegfried Hausner was flown back to West Germany, where he soon died of his wounds in Stammheim prison.
The explosion of the embassy was caught on tape. Swedish news reporter Bo Holmström was standing outside the embassy ready to broadcast when the explosions took place. After taking cover Holmström started yelling "Lägg ut, lägg ut!" ("Put it on, put it on!"), i.e. "Put me on the air!". Once he knew he was live he began reporting on the events.
The RAF threatened revenge and Anne-Greta Lejon repeatedly received menages of a so-called "Kommando Sigfried Hausner". Soon after the embassy plot, the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) has been involved in the protection of Lejon and as in 1977 an RAF team led by Norbert Kröcher attempted to sequestrate Anne-Greta Leijon in May 1977 they managed to prevent it. The attempt failed and following over 20 people were captured in Göteborg, and Lund in Sweden and Gladsaxe in Denmark. Following the assassination of Olof Palme, it was also speculated it was the RAF  who allegedly also claimed to have done so. But in June 2020, it was announced by the Swedish government that they charge for the murder Stig Engström, who died in 2000.
- "BBC on this day 24 April". BBC News. 24 April 1975. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
- Dellwo, Karl-Heinz (2007). Das Projektil sind Wir (in German). Hamburg: Verlag Lutz Schulenburg. p. 5. ISBN 978-3-89401-556-5.
- Ascherson, Neal (28 September 2008). "A terror campaign of love and hate". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
- "5 terrorists seize embassy" (PDF).
- Blumenau, Bernhard (2014). The United Nations and Terrorism. Germany, Multilateralism, and Antiterrorism Efforts in the 1970s. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-137-39196-4.
- "German terrorists captured after embassy bomb attack" (PDF).
- "Mord im Land des Friedens". www.zeit.de. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
- "TERRORISTEN : Lauscher in der Kneipe - DER SPIEGEL 16/1977". www.spiegel.de. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
- Frei, Andreas (9 June 2020). "Der rätselhafte Tod von Olof Palme – Steht Schwedens grösster Mordfall vor der Aufklärung?". Berner Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 2020-10-14.
- correspondent, Jon Henley Europe (2020-06-10). "Swedish prosecutors close Olof Palme murder inquiry after 34 years". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
- Blumenau, Bernhard. The United Nations and Terrorism. Germany, Multilateralism, and Antiterrorism Efforts in the 1970s. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, pp. 22, 32, 37, 117. ISBN 978-1-137-39196-4