Elisabeth Scheder Bieschin's photographs are widely published in Germany and England.


Susanne A.

Susanne Albrecht was one of the most wanted Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorists in West Germany. In July 1977, she gained entry to the home of her father's best friend, Juergen Ponto, the head of Dresdner Bank, and stood by as he was shot dead by fellow terrorists Christian Klar and Brigitte Monhaupt. The murder marked the beginning of the "German Autumn", a period of national crisis in which 37 people were killed by the RAF.

Susanne was my best friend's older sister. Her wanted poster was on every bus stop, petrol station and library. The grainy black-and-white picture showed her looking puffy and lonely. My best friend and I, both 13, talked a lot about Susanne's motivation to become a terrorist. It was a difficult thing for us to understand. We felt that she must have been very angry and disappointed about the post-war Germany she had inherited.

Sometimes we would speculate about where she was – there were rumours that she took part in other RAF actions, yet they were never confirmed. It was only upon her capture in June 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall that we learned she had settled in East Germany in 1980. The Stasi had helped her to make a new life under the name Ingrid Jäger. She had worked as an English translator and later as a lab assistant.

She was initially given a 12-year sentence but, as principal witness, incriminated other members of the RAF and was paroled in 1996. Today she works as a teacher in Germany.

I contacted Susanne in prison in November 1990 and asked permission to take photographs in the East Berlin flat where she had lived with her scientist husband and son – neither of whom had known about her past.



Issue 09 £5.20

Back Issues £5.20 to £14.50

Visit shop