Survival and life
Former stewardess of Lutzau

Her tools are chain saws and flamethrowers, her sculptures are up to three meters tall. The message is always one thing: survival and life. The sculptor works like a mixture of the actresses Bette Midler and Sabine Postel. She bubbles with energy, is warm-hearted, self-ironic and at the same time her art reveals how angry and defiant she can be. She has created an army of “hawks”,”pigeons”,”guardians”. They are all to protect – from the shock waves of the past of Gabriele von Lutzau, née Dillmann, in 1977 stewardess on board the Lufthansa aircraft “Landshut”, hijacked by terrorists.

She was 23 years old when she became a victim of equally young assassins. The four Palestinians left no doubt that during the five-day kidnapping from Palma de Mallorca to Mogadishu they would kill crew and passengers if Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (SPD) were to replace founding members of the Red Army Faction (RAF) who were not detained in Germany. To prove this ruthlessness, the leader shot Jürgen Schumann, the captain of the flight.

The death penalty stood on tears.

The young stewardess became a person of contemporary history thanks to her courage in this “German Autumn” 30 years ago: she comforted desperate passengers, translated the instructions of the terrorists, called on the Federal Government in a dramatic personal appeal via radio to rescue the hostages and cried for Schumann, despite the fact that his murderer had imposed the death penalty in tears. Today she says,”I’ve lived a gifted life ever since.” A “plump life,”she emphasizes. She enjoys it every day anew. With her sculpture, she shoulders, as she calls it, her “battle baggage” – a burden charged in five days between life and death.

One thing she never wants to be again: victim. There are “ex- offenders”if they have served their sentence or renounced terror. But there are no “ex-victims”. “The victims are dead or will remain in the role that the perpetrators have forced upon them their whole lives.” Von Lutzau defends himself:”I was a victim, I am no longer one. I’m happy and there’s a happy ending for me.”

The injured stewardess and co-pilot Vietor at Frankfurt Airport.

The inner wounds remain.

But despite all the joy of life she radiates, inner wounds cannot be overlooked. In her exhibition rooms in Frankfurt am Main, for example, there is an angelic figure with a hole in her chest, but upright wings. A hawk frees itself and the dove of peace turns out to be a warrior. With the chain saw processed by Lutzau Thuja bushes, shaped from roots body and from branches legs and blackened them with the flamethrower. If things go badly, she chops up the tree of life.

And why birds again and again? They are a symbol of freedom and departure. And:”We had the whole cargo hold full of exotic birds. They perished miserably in the heat without water.” The 53-year-old says,”Keep the scars on your soul.” She will never forget “how men drank their wives the last sip of water”. And,”When a man gets shot next to me, it’s beyond my bounds.”

Inhumanity cannot be forgiven.

After an interview in which she described the course of events in detail, she became ill. “I thought it broke my heart.” She hasn’t spoken to anyone about the horrors for a long time. Neither with her husband Rüdeger von Lutzau, who at that time had flown the German anti-terrorist troop GSG 9 and Minister of State Hans-Jürgen Wischnewski to Mogadishu as co-pilot. With friends she’s never told of it before. “I didn’t mean to incriminate her. And anonymity is something very pleasant.” There is also no reference to their history in any catalogue for their exhibitions from New York to France and from Shanghai to Switzerland.

Andrawes was the only one who survived the terrorists.

The fact that Souhaila Andrawes, the only one of the hijackers who survived the GSG 9 storm, asked the court for forgiveness for her little daughter and was only a few years in custody has little to do with justice for von Lutzau. “She herself would have made her announcement without flinching and shot the three-year-old boy on the plane.” Can she forgive? “No. I don’t forgive this inhumanity. Why should such merciless people be pardoned?”

Her role model in politics is the man of all people, who did indeed save her life with the GSG 9, but never released any RAF terrorists: Helmut Schmidt. “He’s straightforward,”says von Lutzau. He had made a mistake when he had the abducted CDU politician Peter Lorenz replaced for prisoners in 1975. “Lorenz survived. Many others have been killed.”

From Kristina Dunz, dpa