Who will kiss the “Landshut” awake? Since her return from Brazil, she has been standing in a hall of the Dornier Museum in southern Germany, shielded from the public, in a state of agony. Though the Merkel government in Berlin decided to exhibit her in a museum and make her accessible to the people, there are still controversial views about where this should be.
Will Monika Grütters, State Minister for Culture, and a member of the Conservative Party – CDU, kiss the Landshut awake, as the beautiful prince kissed “sleeping Beauty” in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale? Maybe. She is committed getting the restored plane exhibited in Gatow, a military airfield used by the Bundeswehr in a forest area southwest of Berlin. However, critics argue that the “Landshut” should be scrapped in this case, since there are hardly any civilian visitors to Gatow, aside from those in military service.
The “Angel of Mogadishu”
The location is also unsuitable because there is no common ground between the place and the aircraft’s fateful history, critics argue. The “Landshut”, hijack by a Palestinian commando in 1977, was stormed by an anti-terrorist squad called GSG 9, freeing passengers and crew. However, the GSG 9 is a special unit of the German Border Guards, not the military, emphasizes former flight attendant, Gabriele Dillmann. A meaningful voice who has been called “Angel of Mogadishu” ever since. Her role during the kidnapping can hardly be adequately acknowledged in mere words. She was the person all 86 passengers were able to share their grievances and worries with, she kept the communication channel to the two pilots open at all times despite constant threats and reprisals by the terrorists, she boldly and wisely faced the kidnappers, but also with the necessary restraint and humility, and - once it was all over - she married Lufthansa Captain, Ruediger von Lutzau, which is why she bears the name Gabriele von Lutzau ever since (see part 1 of this report). A courageous person, whose word carries much weight, especially since she was directly involved in the return campaign to get the “Landshut”, which had subsequently been converted into a freighter and then retired in 2008, from Fortaleza in Brazil to Germany.
“German Autumn” – practically experienced
“Gatow doesn't work at all,” she says in a conversation with CFG. On the other hand, the former Berlin Tempelhof Airport, which has now been closed, would be ideal, although Munich Riem would also work, since the terror began there. In 1972, the Palestinian terrorist group “Black September” attacked the Israeli team at the Olympics and took eleven Israeli athletes hostage. The action ended in a bloodbath with the death of all Israelis, five terrorists and a policeman. Munich marks the beginning of the “German Autumn”, which was followed by further acts of terrorism, not least the kidnapping of the “Landshut” five years later, during which the kidnappers killed Lufthansa Captain Jürgen Schumann.
But why do Germans find it so difficult to find a worthy place for the “Landshut” and thus give young people in particular a direct insight into this period of history? A puzzling, disinterested attitude.
Strategy: Expose the state as the real “enemy of the people”
All the more so since the Seventies of the last century were an era in which left-wing fanatics threatened the state, wanting to expose it as a capitalist dictatorship in which the financial capital and its political henchmen ruled. Only that the majority of the population saw this completely differently.
“Munich as a location for the restored ‘Landshut’ would be okay, but Tempelhof would be much better suited,” says Till Mansmann. He is not just anyone, but a member of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in the German Bundestag, the country’s national parliament, and thus close to government business. The plane, he says, “triggers an enormous emotional force in people.” Blindsided by terror, the state proved itself overwhelmed and helpless at the time. With the successful storming of the “Landshut” in Mogadishu by the anti-terror specialists of the GSG-9, the trend turned: In the eyes of many, the slack state suddenly became a well-fortified state, Mansmann describes the paradigm shift achieved by the government under former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt at the time.
Tempelhof would be the optimal solution
He recalls, in agreement with Gabriele von Lutzau, that there is a large, listed terminal building in Tempelhof, where DC3-Raisin bombers are already on display. The former airfield is open to the public, centrally located in the city, has a large number of well-preserved buildings, and is therefore ideally suited for a museum called “Deutscher Herbst” (“German Autumn”). According to Till Mansmann, Tempelhof would be “the best of all options” for the “Landshut”’s third life as a walk-in attraction and an important part of several exhibits.
The fact that Minister of Culture, Grütters is largely avoiding the Tempelhof and Munich-Riem options, and instead favors Gatow as a parking space for the plane is, in his opinion, the result of “historical insensitivity”.
After Mogadishu, Gabriele von Lutzau has made an international name for herself as an artist. Her sculptures, created with the help of chainsaw and flame-thrower, have already been exhibited in Berlin, New York and Shanghai. In the Yad Vashem Memorial, Jerusalem, there is a sculpture made by her, which was made of beech-wood coming from the forest of the former Buchenwald concentration camp.
Petition to create pressure
In the meantime, a petition has been set up by the then co-pilot of the “Landshut”, Jürgen Vietor, and a broad group of supporters, pushing the Federal Government to finally implement its decision of three years ago. The plan is to make the “Landshut” public as part of a wider range of topics on the “German Autumn”, and to make it accessible. If not in Tempelhof, which, in the opinion of the supporters would be the best solution, then preferably in Munich Riem, say the advocates.
Next week, Gabriele von Lutzau, accompanied by other “Landshut” aficionados, including Till Mansmann, will come to Berlin for a week to hold talks with political decision-makers and to promote the petition.
Perhaps, in the end the “Landshut” will not be wakened by the kiss of a single prince, but by many princes and princesses. Hopefully, the fateful plane will soon be accorded its space, so that all future visitors to the museum can get an unaltered, immediate idea of what the “German Autumn” was all about.
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