Surprise! Notorious 1967 assassin was an East German spy

Benno Ohnesorg

The dying student Benno Ohnesorg in the arms of Friederike Hausmann

HISTORY, LIKE ECONOMICS, is a dismal science, if for no other reason than that nothing about it can ever be known for certain. And sometimes it seems as if the more we know, the less we understand. As “Weird Al” Yankovic sings, “Everything you know is wrong. Black is white, up is down and short is long…” So too with one of the most infamous events of the 1960s student movement: the killing of the student activist Benno Ohnesorg in West Berlin on June 2, 1967, which is now known to have been not the work of a West German “fascist” but of a paid agent of the East German secret police. Just to complicate matters, the fascist and the communist were one and the same.

Ohnesorg’s shooting death may not have been the shot heard ‘round the world, but there is no doubt that it was indeed “the shot that transformed the Republic,” as the German weekly Der Spiegel states in its latest edition…



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