On October 13, 1977, four Palestinian terrorists hijacked a Lufthansa airliner (“Landshut”) en route from Mallorca to Frankfurt am Main. There were 86 passengers and five crew members on board. The hijacking was carried out in support of the RAF kidnapping of Hanns-Martin Schleyer. The “Landshut” was diverted to Rome and then flew to Cyprus, Bahrain, and Dubai before stopping in Aden in South Yemen, where the hostage-takers murdered flight captain Jürgen Schumann; the plane then continued on to its final destination, Mogadishu, Somalia. State minister Hans-Jürgen Wischnewski represented the Federal Republic in negotiations in Somalia. He secured Somali government permission for a special counter-terrorism unit of the German Federal Police (GSG 9) to storm the aircraft. This action took place on October 18, 1977; three hostage-takers were killed while the hostages remained unharmed. After their successful mission, Wischnewski and the GSG 9 unit flew back to the Cologne/Bonn airport on a special Lufthansa aircraft (“Stuttgart”). The release of the hostages justified the government’s hard stance against terrorism.

The Arrival of GSG 9 at Cologne/Bonn Airport (October 18, 1977)


Source: Return of the special flight to Cologne/Bonn Airport on October 18, 1977, with Minister of State Hans-Jürgen Wischnewski and the GSG 9 of the Federal Border Guard after the successful rescue of hostages from a Lufthansa aircraft hijacked by terrorists at Mogadishu Airport (Somalia). Photo: Ludwig Wegemann. Signature: B 145 Bild-F051866-0010. Bundesarchiv.

© Bundesarchiv