1. Breakthrough by RAF investigators

Almost three weeks ago, the news made people sit up and take notice that investigative authorities in Lower Saxony had launched a public manhunt for the third time after 2016 and 2020 in order to catch the so-called RAF pensioners Ernst-Volker Staub, Daniela Klette and Burkhard Garweg.

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Building in Berlin-Kreuzberg: Daniela Klette was arrested here

Photo: John Macdougall / AFP

The trio had been in hiding for more than 30 years.

The three former left-wing terrorists are accused of attempted murder and are also involved in numerous robbery crimes.

In order to finance their living underground, they are said to have repeatedly robbed supermarket cash vans and sometimes stole six-figure sums.

My colleagues Ansgar Siemens and Bertolt Hunger reported at the time that the Verden public prosecutor's office had "further investigative approaches" that had resulted from "investigations of the last few months."

“Extensive searches and interrogations” were carried out.

Now the former left-wing terrorist Daniela Klette has been arrested in Berlin.

The Verden public prosecutor said she offered no resistance.

Investigators from Lower Saxony found them in an apartment building in Kreuzberg on Monday evening when they simply rang the doorbell.

Ammunition was found in the apartment.

Klette was identified by fingerprints and apparently used an Italian passport.

For the investigators at the State Criminal Police Office in Lower Saxony, who were apparently following up on an older, routine lead from November 2023 in Berlin, the surprising arrest of Daniela Klette is “a big breakthrough,” says my colleague Hubert Gude, who has been following the case for a long time.

Through Klette they now hope to get to Ernst-Volker Staub and Burkhard Garweg.

According to investigators, Klette even seemed a little relieved when she was arrested.

She is said to have said: At some point it will be over.

  • Read more here: Former RAF terrorist Daniela Klette caught – identified by fingerprints

2. Russian Red Cross in the twilight

The statutes of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) state, among other things, that the organization has the role:

  • to uphold the principles of the Red Cross, that is, impartiality, an activity independent of any racial, political, denominational or economic considerations,

  • to intervene in its capacity as a neutral institution, especially in the event of war, civil war or internal turmoil;

    to advocate at all times for the military and civilian victims of the above-mentioned conflicts, to ensure that they receive protection and assistance, and to serve as an intermediary between the parties in the humanitarian field.

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Red Cross logo in front of the Kremlin: millions of euros for the actually independent organization

Photo: Mart Nigola / Delfi Estonia

Impartial, politically independent, neutral: I don't know whether the Russian Red Cross is even aware of these statutes, but research by SPIEGEL and international partner media suggests that the organization in Russia not only violates them, but sometimes turns them into their opposite.

My colleagues Susanne Amann and Carina Huppertz as well as my colleagues Jonas Halbe, Frederik Obermaier and Timo Schober report that the Russian Red Cross (RRK) has obviously become an extension of Putin's autocratic government and its propaganda: it publicly honors employees in Russian jobs Arms factories - supposedly just because of their blood donations.

There are board members who openly support the war against Ukraine.

And Pavel Savchuk, the boss himself, is apparently involved in some of the country's most important groups loyal to Putin.

He is apparently even a member of the All-Russian Popular Front (ONF), the propaganda movement “WeTogether” and the Social Chamber of the Russian Federation, which on its homepage speaks of “Ukrainian fascism” and “neo-Nazis” in connection with the occupied territories.

The research is part of the so-called Kremlin Leaks; it includes 30 documents and papers dated from 2020 to December 2023 that were leaked to the Estonian medium Delfi, which they evaluated with SPIEGEL and other media.

The International Red Cross in Geneva seems clueless.

Ariane Bauer, ICRC regional director for Europe and Central Asia, says about Sawtschuk: "I perceived him as someone who wanted to work according to the principles of the Red Cross Movement and help people in need."

  • Read the whole story here: Helpers on Putin's behalf 

3. Yes nothing is ok

This morning at the thematic conference we briefly discussed whether the sudden and unexpected death of the Berlin Volksbühne director René Pollesch last night was really worth breaking news.

In the obituary of my colleague Wolfgang Höbel there is the sentence: "He was a German pop star." And let's be honest: Germany doesn't have that many big pop stars, so it's obvious that it's breaking news.

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Playwright René Pollesch (1962 to 2024)


Daniel Karmann / picture alliance / dpa

Admittedly, far fewer people probably knew Pollesch than Herbert Grönemeyer.

But those who knew him and his theatrical art couldn't stop raving about it.

»René Pollesch knew how to gather people around a campfire.

They then sat there, noticed each other and everything was fine.

His magic was empathy!” tweeted colleague Michael Seiwert today.

Pollesch's plays often had neither straightforward plots nor classical characters.

Pollesch once told the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” that this “oil trail of a coherent figure that one then sleighs on in the representational theater” bores most actors.

»With us, no one has to give a reasonably logical and coherent emotional presentation for an hour and a half.

You can hardly do that in your life.«

The topics that Pollesch took up ranged from the supposedly banal to the supposedly great.

In “(Life on earth can be sweet) Donna” at the Deutsches Theater, for example, he had the characters think about the revolving stage and epic theater, about shopping centers and friendships, about car accidents and capitalism.

And on a legendary evening he played at the Friedrichstadt-Palast with actor Fabian Hinrichs.

The piece was called “Belief in the Possibility of Complete Renewal of the World.”

It was an evening that not only the German feature pages looked at.

For most actors, including stars like Martin Wuttke and Kathrin Angerer, Pollesch's working style seemed like a liberation from the rules and techniques of the rest of the theater world, writes Wolfgang.

The very last work he showed just two weeks ago was “nothing is ok,” a solo evening that he had worked on together with Hinrichs.

The advertising posters still hang around the city and now seem like a sad foreshadowing.

“The miracle of his theater performances was the almost endless fun that he wrested from the weight of thought,” summarizes Wolfgang.

And we should all allow ourselves this fun more often!

  • Read the whole story here: He made Berlin dance and think 

What else is important today?

  • Macron no longer rules out sending Western soldiers to Ukraine:

    The West supports Ukraine with weapons, but the use of ground troops was never up for debate.

    French President Emmanuel Macron now wants to keep this option open.

  • USA is taking action against the ailing Russian ghost fleet:

    Western countries want to hit the Russian oil sector with sanctions, but many deliveries continue and endanger the environment.

    Now the USA has set its sights on other ships.

  • Taiwan reports Chinese ships off Kinmen after fatal incident:

    The death of two Chinese sailors off Kinmen has further exacerbated tensions between Beijing and Taipei.

    China responds with its coast guard, and in Taiwan this drives activists onto the streets.

  • Russian civil rights activist Oleg Orlov sentenced to two and a half years in prison:

    A critical Facebook post has serious consequences for Oleg Orlov: A court in Moscow has now found the Russian civil rights activist guilty of discrediting the army.

My favorite story today: Why the head of a foreign chamber of commerce earns up to 440,000 euros a year

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View of London with Westminster and Big Ben

Photo: Didier Grimberg / Hemis / laif

If you didn't know René Pollesch, you probably don't know Ulrich Hoppe.

And you don't have to know the latter either.

Hoppe, 59, has headed the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce in London for more than a quarter of a century and at his peak had an income of around 440,000 euros a year.

Pollesch would have been rewarded with a salary, as he has certainly made more people happy with his work than the business ambassador to Great Britain.

Since 1998 he has collected over 7.6 million euros.

The London Chamber receives six-figure annual subsidies from the federal government and, according to its statutes, is not supposed to work for profit.

In their research, my colleague Nicola Naber and my colleagues Sven Becker, Claus Hecking and Jörg Schindler have put together why institutions such as the German-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry are vulnerable to enrichment and favoritism.

  • Read the whole story here: Why the head of a foreign chamber of commerce earns up to 440,000 euros a year 

What we recommend today at SPIEGEL+

  • BASF has apparently known about harmful contamination in sunscreens for years:

    German authorities have found evidence of a substance harmful to health in urine samples.

    A UV filter from BASF is suspected as the source.

    Experts argue about how dangerous the strain is.

  • The explosive sentence in the tavern:

    He was once known as “Oberskin”, and in 1991 he is said to have initiated the attack on an asylum seekers' home in Saarlouis.

    Now Peter St. is on trial.

  • Meloni's first defeat:

    Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her deputy Matteo Salvini are in a constant dispute - and thus lost the regional elections in Sardinia.

    Concern about the European elections is growing in the right-wing camp.

  • The man who has to close a ravine:

    When he was introduced as Bayern's new sports director, Max Eberl beamed and cracked jokes.

    But he indicated that he wanted to break with a basic Munich principle.

Which is less important today

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Ryan Gosling

Photo: Allison Dinner / EPA

Yes we Ken:

The Oscars will take place in Los Angeles on March 10th.

Ryan Gosling, 43,

is nominated twice for “Barbie”: for best supporting actor and for best song.

Gosling is now supposed to sing this song “I’m just Ken” live during the gala.

Whether this will increase his chances of winning the Oscar is uncertain.

Billie Eilish may have the best chance of winning the award for best song.

She is nominated for “What Was I Made For?”

The song also comes from the “Barbie” soundtrack.

Mini concave mirror

You can find the entire concave mirror here.

Cartoon of the day

And tonight?

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Photo: Oliver Berg/dpa

Yesterday our daughter bought a wooden framed mirror from Ikea for her room.

It was reduced from 40 euros to 30 euros.

She probably gave it as little thought as we parents did.

My colleague Susanne Amann and my colleague Markus Brauck wrote a cover story about Ikea with me 12 years ago and researched how the company covers up the dark sides with its Swedish, homely image.

A new Arte documentary has now shed light on these dark sides once again.

The documentary “How Ikea is plundering the planet” examines how the company, despite constant reforestation, contributes to the destruction of biodiversity and fuels the illegal timber trade.

The film runs at 8:15 p.m. on Arte or here in the media library.

A lovely evening.


Yours, Janko Tietz, Head of Germany/Panorama Department