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30.11.1989: Herrhausen Murdered
Dr. Alfred Herrhausen was 59 at the time. Married and the father of two children, he was the sole spokeperson of the board for Germany’s most important financial institution, the Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank had 300 billion in its vaults, 1200 branches nationwide and 250,000 shareholders.

For a long time, the investigation brought no answers. The Red Army Faction (RAF), which had committed a series of terrorist attacks in West Germany in the 70s attempted to claim responsibility for the murder, sending a letter to the police.

"On 30 November 1989 we executed the head of the Deutsche Bank, Alfred Herrhausen. The history of the Deutsche Bank has left a trail of blood of two world wars and the exploitation of millions. And Herrhausen continued to manage the bank in this tradition as the head of this power center of the German economy. He was the most powerful business manager in Europe,” the RAF letter read.

But two years after the murder, police thought they had a real lead in the hunt for Herrhausen’s killers. Siegfried Nonne, a drug addict and former informer at the Hessen office for the protection of the constitution, confessed his involvement in the attack. He said members of the Red Army Faction had instructed him to do it.

"We now know for sure that Andrea Klump and Christoph Seidler were the culprits in the Herrhausen case and we know the Christian names and appearance of two additional culprits, who called themselves Stefan and Peter,” Alexander von Stahl, the chief prosecutor said at the time.

But Nonne then retracted his statement and when Christoph Seidler gave himself up to the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office, the judge in charge of the investigation let him go free on the same day due to a lack of evidence. The trail had gone dead.

Alfred Herrhausen was the son of a land surveyor, a successful hockey player and graduate of a Nazi elite school. He was successful and dangerous. He had made himself unpopular in the international banking world when he called for debt remission for third world countries. Three days before his death, Herrhausen had bought British investment bank Morgan Grenfell for DM 2.7 billion.

The rumour mill went into overdrive. One theory ran that his death was linked to America. While the Deutsche Bank could easily have written off part of the debt owed by poor third world countries, some American banks would have collapsed.

Yet the West German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution still believed the RAF letter which claimed responsibilty was genuine.

In the weeks before the assassination secret messages had been intercepted and intelligence reports indicated that new terrorist attacks were in the offing. Alfred Herrhausen was seen as the key target by the German security authorities.

All the evidence suggests that Alfred Herrhausen’s murder was a terrorist attack, yet the culprits have remained elusive to this day.
   
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