Holger Klaus Meins (26 October 1941 – 9 November 1974) was a German cinematography student who joined the Red Army Faction (RAF) in the early 1970s and died on hunger strike in prison.
As a Revolutionary
Meins became an important member of the RAF and was seen somewhat as a leading figure. He was very involved in the gang workings and even had a grenade casing and bomb mould designed which could be placed under a woman's dress, giving the impression that she was pregnant, thereby facilitating the planting of bombs.
On 1 June 1972, Meins and Andreas Baader along with Jan-Carl Raspe went to check on a storage garage in Frankfurt where they kept materials for making bombs. However the police had got a tip-off and were waiting for them. Meins and Baader entered the garage and were immediately surrounded. The police blocked the exit of the garage and fired tear gas grenades into the garage via a back window, however Baader simply threw the tear gas back out. The stand off didn't last long after Baader was severely wounded when shot in the hip, and Meins surrendered soon after. Both men were arrested, as was Raspe.
In prison, Meins and the other RAF prisoners launched several hunger strikes against the conditions of their imprisonment. Meins died by starvation on hunger strike, on 9 November 1974. Although Meins was 1.83 meters (6'0") tall, he weighed only 39 kg (86 lbs) at the time of his death.
Burial site for Holger Meins.
Meins' death sparked many protest actions across Europe, with many turning violent. It caused further hatred from RAF members. Jean-Paul Sartre's chauffeur for his meeting with Andreas Baader and later a militant also, Hans-Joachim Klein claimed to keep a picture of Holger Meins' autopsy photo on him to reinforce his hatred for the West German "fascist" system.
Jean-Marie Straub's and Danièle Huillet's movie, Moses und Aron (1974), is dedicated to Holger Meins.
The RAF members who carried out the West German Embassy siege in Stockholm in 1975 named their group after him, with the purpose of commemoration.
In 2002, a documentary about Meins came out: Starbuck-Holger Meins, by Gerd Conradt.