Ulrike Meinhof’s teenage riot TV movie

“If you obey, they are happy because you are ruined. Then they are cool because they have crushed you.”
Right before she embarked on a campaign of left-wing terror, Ulrike Meinhof produced her screenplay for Bambule, a TV movie about the miserable lot of girls in a juvenile reform institution. It was supposed to air in 1970, but the broadcast was canceled after Meinhof helped the Red Army Faction bust Andreas Baader out of prison.

The title means “prison riot,” though apparently the bambule originated as a form of nonviolent prison protest, making a “Jailhouse Rock”-style racket by drumming on anything available. “You lousy screws!”

During one scene, the girls beat a frenzied tattoo on their doors. But in Meinhof’s own definition of the term, from a 1969 radio report (quoted in Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the R.A.F.), there is no mention of noise:

Bambule means rebellion, resistance, counter-violence – efforts toward liberation. Such things happen mostly in summer, when it is hot, and the food is even less appealing than usual, and anger festers in the corners with the heat. Such things are in the air then – it could be compared to the hot summers in the black ghettoes of the United States.


Meinhof based the screenplay on her conversations with girls at the Eichenhof Youth Custody Home, for which Bambule is not much of an advertisement. They had a prescription for teens like Monika, expelled from a convent for kissing another girl: discipline and work, with occasional breaks for obeying the rules. The only pleasures in Bambule are the small acts of disobedience available to teenagers. They smoke cigarettes, curse out a few fuckwords, write graffiti about LSD and hash, play the Bee Gees’ “Massachusetts.” All relationships with adults are characterized by violence, cruelty and exploitation; everyone over 20 is dead inside. It’s like watching an episode of Dragnet written by a militant leftist.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall
08:56 am
Ulrike Meinhof nabbed!

Thirty-eight years ago today, on June 14 1972, West German police raided the house of Fritz Rodewald, a teacher who’d been habitually sheltering German-based U.S. Armed Forces deserters in his Langenhagen home. This time, they were after the two young German strangers who’d appealed to him for accommodations. The cops had already apprehended armed and wanted Red Army Faction terrorist Gerhard Mueller at a public phone, and Rodewald had tipped them off that Mueller’s comrade Ulrike Meinhof was inside.

It had been a busy couple of years for Ulrike the activist/journalist. She’d left her job at the leftist magazine konkret and—sometime soon after the interview below—entered the realm of armed revolutionary struggle in what was then one of the richest democracies on earth.  This clip must have been recorded just before she helped break out RAF leader Andreas Baader from his detention in a research institute in May 1970. Twenty-four months of bank robberies and bombings later, she was in prison, where she would be found hanged under dubious circumstances. Later it was speculated that a 1962 operation to remove a brain tumor might have played a tragic part in her violent fate. Regardless, along with Patty “Tania” Hearst, Meinhof had become one of the most well-known female terrorists of the century.

Following the interview is part one of the BBC’s documentary on the RAF, Baader-Meinhof - In Love With Terror.



Posted by Ron Nachmann
08:03 pm