Terrorism: Captured ex-terrorist Klette: Kreuzberg and Capoeira

Captured ex-terrorist Klette: Kreuzberg and Capoeira

Oranienstrasse in Kreuzberg: “Damn it. Today a comrade was arrested in Berlin after 30 years underground.” photo

© Annette Riedl/dpa

The fact that Daniela Klette was caught in Kreuzberg raised questions. Why is a former RAF member hiding in a left-wing biotope? And why are there so many photos of her on the internet?

Of all things Kreuzberg, probably the best-known district of a major German city in connection with the left-wing scene and left-wing extremism. This is the house where the wanted former RAF terrorist Daniela Klette lived for many years and was caught by the police on Monday evening.

It is an inconspicuous, dark tenement house from the post-war period on Sebastianstraße, not one of the old buildings that are so popular in the scene. But still close to the legendary places of the left-wing alternative district: Oranienstrasse, Kottbusser Tor, Mariannenplatz – often described in books by Sven Regener or songs by Ton Steine ​​Scherben. On Tuesday and Wednesday the police examined the apartment; masked police officers in plain clothes, some with BKA jackets, repeatedly carried large boxes inside.

Kreuzberg’s role as a place of refuge

For decades, Kreuzberg stood for the bar scene, occupied houses, street battles on May 1st and the first directly elected Green Party member of the Bundestag. Sympathy and support for everything that is left-wing to radical left-wing is, so to speak, part of the DNA of the past decades. The fact that Burdock went unrecognized in this neighborhood for so long under the false name “Claudia I.” and could live, work and be active in German-Brazilian dance groups with an Italian passport seems like a cliché.

In fact, shortly after the report of Klette’s arrest, the Berlin Police Union (GdP) reacted: “The fact that the wanted person was in Kreuzberg is further evidence that Berlin remains a stronghold for a well-networked, nationally and globally active left-wing extremist group scene is.” The “Tagesspiegel” quoted a neighbor who did not hide his sympathy: “I lived next to my comrade for years, that doesn’t exist.” His farewell slogan is: “Red Front”.

Expressions of sympathy from the left-wing scene

Klette’s visible links on her Facebook profile lead to well-known left-wing groups and initiatives for immigrants: Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Alliance against Racism, Reach Out, Integration Active, Workshop of Cultures. Expressions of sympathy also come from the scene after she was exposed. The “Revolutionary May 1st” alliance shares a post on X (formerly Twitter) with a crying smiley: “Damn it. Today a comrade was arrested in Berlin after 30 years underground.” A banner hangs on a street corner in Kreuzberg on Wednesday: “A lot of strength to Daniela Klette.” The left-wing Hamburg center Rote Flora also greets with a large banner.

The Afro-Brazilian culture and dance scene takes up a lot of space on Klette’s presumed profile. Announcements from numerous festivals and workshops from 2013 to 2019 can be seen, as well as four vacation photos, apparently from a dance festival in Brazil based on the inscriptions on the T-shirts. Newspapers have since tracked down further alleged photos of Klette in Berlin. In 2019, a picture shows a white-haired woman in a good mood Capoeira group (combat and dance sport). The “Welt” found a picture in which a woman in a dance group at the 2011 Carnival of Cultures in Kreuzberg looks like burdock.

At the same time, according to the allegations, she and two former RAF accomplices committed robberies on large stores in Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia to obtain money until 2016.

Whether Klette lived in Kreuzberg because of a possible left-wing radical support scene or because the alternative neighborhood with bars, refugee initiatives, Brazilian dance groups and street carnival offered her more of a home than an anonymous high-rise development on the outskirts of the city – this can only be speculated about so far.

Descriptions of Klette’s everyday life under a false identity

Neighbors describe “Claudia” as a friendly, gray-haired woman in her mid-60s with a long braid. She is said to have given students private tutoring in mathematics and given him cookies for Christmas, one says. A young person reports that they always greeted each other in a friendly manner, but that the neighbor’s large dog scared her. There was no more contact. Maybe Klette came across this apartment by chance 20 years ago: inconspicuous and anonymous enough for a retreat – and at the same time conveniently located with a connection to her world. Life with a false identity and the Federal Criminal Police Office’s investigators behind you is likely to be equally stressful in all places.

The podcast “Legion” from the broadcasters NDR and RBB found a woman in dance groups in Berlin in December 2023 when searching for Daniela Klette. The journalists followed up on a tip in Cologne. A young man reported that a woman from the left-wing internet activist group “Anonymous” confessed to being part of the RAF at a celebration in 2017. A specialist then searches the Internet using special programs and old photos of Klette and comes across the dance groups in Berlin. The podcasters interview the Capoeira club, but the woman was last seen in 2019.

The role of modern technologies in the search

However, the photo references to Berlin remain. The podcasters suspect that back then, when posting photos, Klette may not have been aware of the Internet search options that would open up with the help of artificial intelligence. The BKA and LKA could also have come across the images – either through their own research or the podcast. It is not yet known whether they ultimately led to Klette’s discovery. According to the police, it was not the shipment file number XY from mid-February. At that time, burdock had already been observed for many weeks.


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