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Wienke Zitzlaff Obituary

Former RAF Members on the Death of Wienke Zitzlaff (March 22, 1917)

Wienke wanted to live to be 100! In the end, her increasing blindness took too much of her energy—she died at 85.

We met her through her sister Ulrike, when she and others were working in the relatives’ group to provide some protection from the destructiveness of isolation. The group was everywhere, holding press conferences, visiting ministers of justice, and making contacts throughout Europe and in the U.S.

Wienke had already been active as an internationalist during the resistance to rearmament in the Federal Republic in the 1950s.

She played an important part in setting up an international commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Ulrike’s death. Years later she helped prepare documentation on “fatal shootings and isolation,” which was presented to the UN Human Rights Committee.

These activities provided real protection for the prisoners, and, at the time, played no small part in creating opposition to the FRG’s leading role in West Europe.

Wienke had a full life. She was active in a number of areas, as a teacher pioneering a pedagogy of liberation, as a feminist, in the lesbian movement, and consciously grappling with new ways for seniors to live.

She loved to travel, whether to Vietnam or to Cuba. She always had experiences to share, and it was rare for her to go more than a few days without a visitor showing up and being welcomed. She built lasting and profound friendships. She was always eager to learn, although at times she could be ornery.

At the end, she saw in the nights the images she so dearly missed in the light of day.

She will live on in our memories.

Former RAF members, relatives, and friends



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