Last Stop Bad Kleinen

Last Stop Bad Kleinen

The failure of the German Security Agency

Germany in the summer of 1993. The Federal Republic is experiencing a state of emergency: The Interior Minister resigns, the Attorney General and two high ranking officals of the Federal Criminal Police Office are removed from office. Why? What happened?

Bad Kleinen, a 3500-strong village in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in the north-east of the country. On the 27th of June, a command of the special unit GSG-9 storms the tunnel underpass of the station of this hamlet in spectacular fashion. The job: The arrest of two suspected RAF terrorists, Wolfgang Grams and Birgit Hogefeld. An arrest that would signify a major success in the fight against the RAF. A fight that has gone on for years without visible results. However, the action runs out of control. At the end of the day, two people are dead: Grams and the GSG 9-officer Newrzella. But that's not the end of it. The investigations into the operation are chaotic, full of glitches; the information policy of the security agencies is inconsistent and incomplete. There is a strong rumour that a GSG9 official shot and killed a defenseless Grams. There is talk of state terrorism. Even worse, the investigating authorities are accused of covering up this execution. The constitutional state of the Federal Republic seems shaken to its foundations. Only days later, the investigating authorities put the facts on the table: The lynchpin of Bad Kleinen was a V-man whom the Rhineland Palatinate Office for the Protection of the Constitution had infiltrated into the RAF. His presence influenced the operation, his existence affected the disastrous information policy. The details surrounding the death of Wolfgang Grams are still not fully understood and; consequently, a suspicious, murky picture of the officials that are responsible for the protection of the constitution emerges.

The story of the dramatic police operation gone wrong at the provincial train station of Bad Klein exemplifies the momentous wrangling between state security and law enforcement - and the review makes it clear that to this day, nothing has significantly changed.