She is a post-war German figure of mythic proportions and will probably remain an icon for rebels the world over for years to come.Now Bettina, Ulrike's daughter, has a reason to be angry. Her mother took her two children with her when she left her husband to train in Lebanon. Ulrike planned to drop the kids off at a Palestinian camp for orphans to be raised. I ask you: What kind of person--no matter her sympathies for the Palestinian cause--would leave her children to be raised as refugees? Luckily, the children were rescued by their father before that could happen.
Her favourite subjects at school were religious education, sociology and history, a former teacher explained. She was orphaned at the age of 14, became a pacifist early on, and her favourite author was Hermann Hesse. She had a reasonably stable childhood under the patronage of an academic, and seemed to be destined to become a teacher.
All of which goes little way to explaining why she and her partner-in-crime, Andreas Baader, murdered and terrorised their way across Germany for years.
Many theories have been proffered, including the one that her outburst had to do with the brain tumour which was removed in 1962. Doctors have never been able to provide any firm evidence that this might have been the case. Or because of her relationship failures.
But her daughter Bettina Röhl has roundly condemned the latter suggestion as a wholly inadequate explanation.
“She is not the first woman to have been left by her husband. She didn’t have to go out and burn down the federal republic as a result.”
Meinhof’s daughter, Bettina Rohl, whose childhood was literally eradicated by her mother’s “revolution”, has made a virtual career out of both protecting her mother and condemning what she and her comrades did.
The journalist’s hate campaign against the Left even extended to trying to bring down the former foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, after she turned up photographs of him beating up a policeman in a Frankfurt street during a protest in the 1970s.