It was an agonizingly long process, the longest before the NSU trial. Procedural questions, complaints, objections, requests for bias, and consultations cost endless amounts of time. The prisoners went on hunger strikes several times, fell ill or were excluded from the trial. The procedure was to be conducted in an audit-proof manner, but this was not possible. When the accused Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Raspe committed suicide in the fall of 1977, they were sentenced to life imprisonment, as expected, but the lawyers had already appealed this sentence. It never became law.
Films such as Reinhard Hauff’s highly agitational “Stammheim” (1986), in which the young Ulrich Tukur plays Baader, who is also not very old, have handed down the process in this building as a sometimes brutal screaming drama. Very late, tapes appeared on which a driven Gudrun Ensslin can be heard, a stuttering Ulrike Meinhof and Andreas Baader, who speaks with a surprisingly calm voice and quite calmly.
The police state showed what it could do and drove up to Stammheim in an armored car
The presiding judge Theodor Prinzing, almost fifty years old when the trial began on May 21, 1975, had of course been in the Second World War. Decades after the trial, from which he ingloriously left after 85 complaints about bias, because he had passed on files to the next authority without justification, which even less justified them to the then editor-in-chief of the World decades after the death of the accused, Prinzing sent his opponent Baader a compliment typical of his generation: “If he had been born before the war, he would have been a very useful soldier.”
In 2007 that sounded like something out of the ordinary, but it corresponded exactly to the confrontational thinking of the 1970s. The RAF had declared the armed struggle against the state, the state took it as a declaration of war and rearmed. The police state showed what it could do, drove up to Stammheim in an armored car, the semi-automatic weapon dangled under its arm, headlights made the night bright as day, and the helicopter circled overhead. Stammheim was the symbol of repression, a prison fortress with an adjoining courtroom, state power that had become concrete.