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Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte

Ed. by Altrichter, Helmut / Möller, Horst / Szöllösi-Janze, Margit / Wirsching, Andreas


CiteScore 2017: 0.14

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.104
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.940

Online
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2196-7121
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Volume 60, Issue 1

Issues

Flucht aus Rom

Das spektakuläre Ende des „Falles Kappler" im August 1977

Felix Nikolaus Bohr
Published Online: 2012-01-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/vfzg.2012.0005

Vorspann

Der Name Kappler war 1977 in aller Munde. Der hochrangige SS-Mann hatte 1944 das entsetzliche Massaker in den Fosse Ardeatine vor den Toren Roms befehligt und war dafür 1948 von einem italienischen Militärgericht zu lebenslanger Haft verurteilt worden. Die intensiven Bemühungen der Bundesregierung um eine Begnadigung Kapplers blieben erfolglos, weil die italienische Regierung den Protest der antifaschistischen Öffentlichkeit fürchtete. Im August 1977 war er dennoch plötzlich weg – und bald danach zurück auf deutschem Boden. Felix Bohr, ein junger Berliner Historiker, rekonstruiert die Etappen der mysteriösen Flucht Kapplers und beschreibt die Folgen für die deutsch-italienischen Beziehungen, die damals einen Tiefpunkt erreichten: Vor allem die italienische Presse nährte den Verdacht, bei Kapplers Flucht seien deutsches Geld und deutsche Hände im Spiel gewesen, und tat auch sonst alles, um antideutsche Ressentiments zu schüren. Der Erfolg blieb nicht aus, war aber nur von kurzer Dauer, weil Rom und Bonn viel Augenmaß bewiesen.

Abstract

During the night of the 14th to the 15th of August 1977, the German war criminal Herbert Kappler successfully escaped from a Roman military hospital to Soltau in Lower Saxony, Germany. At the time the sequence of events of this spectacular escape and its background were subject to diverse conspiracy theories and myths. According to these speculations Kappler was either released with the knowledge of the Italian authorities, liberated by either the Italian or German secret service, or was kidnapped by the German terrorist group Roter Morgen (Red Morning) in order to exchange him for Andreas Baader. The following article as precisely as possible delivers a reconstruction of the preconditions and the sequence of events surrounding Kappler′s escape. This is followed by an analysis of the reactions to Kappler′s escape by politicians, the public and the media in Germany as well as in Italy. Whereas the escape caused a political earthquake in Rome, Bonn remained silent for 11 days. There was very little reaction in the West German media, whereas Kappler was even welcomed with flowers and congratulatory telegrams in Soltau. In Italy, however, the escape caused a storm of protest. Here media reports and public protests not only criticized the Italian government, but also the Federal Republic of Germany and its people. Just a few weeks later, the deutsche Herbst (German Autumn) began, preoccupying all parties concerned. Thus the escape of Herbert Kappler was soon mostly forgotten.

Keywords: Die Flucht von Herbert Kappler; Reaktionen auf Kapplers Flucht; Krisenmanagement nach Kapplers Flucht

About the article

Published Online: 2012-01-13

Published in Print: 2012-01-15


Citation Information: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, Volume 60, Issue 1, Pages 111–141, ISSN (Online) 2196-7121, ISSN (Print) 0042-5702, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1524/vfzg.2012.0005.

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© by Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Berlin, Germany. This content is open access.

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