Rote Zora

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Rote Zora
Dates of operation 1977 - 1995
Motives Armed resistance and proletarian revolution
Active region(s) West Germany
Ideology Feminism, New left
Major actions Bombings
Status Final action in 1995

Rote Zora (English: Red Zora, from the book Die Rote Zora und ihre Bande by Kurt Held) was a militant feminist group active in West Germany from 1977–95, known for a series of bombings. The gang bombed sex shops and firms it thought exploited women in the 1970s and 1980s. No one was harmed in the 45 attacks the organisation carried out between 1977 and 1995.[1] The movement took its name from the 1941 book Die Rote Zora und ihre Bande by Kurt Held, which tells the story of a red-haired Croatian girl called Red Zora who leads a gang of orphans committed to righting injustice.


Red Zora began in 1977 as the feminist arm of the Revolutionary Cells left-wing terrorist organisation which saw itself as a rival to the Red Army Faction. It began its attacks with a bomb planted outside the offices of the German Doctors Association to protest against the abortion laws.[2] They bombed the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany in Karlsruhe.[3] Red Zora split from the Revolutionary Cells in 1986 having become disillusioned with the violent methods of other left-wing groups. It launched a campaign that was designed not to harm. Its last attack was on a Bremen shipyard in 1995.

They bombed numerous sex shops, the cars of landlords, the Siemens company, Bayer, and the company Nixdorf Computer AG.[4] Its activists were part-time guerillas, and were known as "after-work terrorists" because most had middle class jobs and carried out their attacks in their free time.

Though Rote Zora was a split from the organization Revolutionary Cells,[5] some members continued to associate with both.[6] In 2000, a documentary about the group (titled Die Rote Zora) was made by Oliver Tolmein.

In April 2007, former Rote Zora member Adrienne Gershäuser stood trial for the attempted bombings of the Berlin Genetic Technical Institute in 1986, and a clothing factory in Bavaria in 1987,[7] receiving a suspended two-year sentence, the maximum she was eligible for.[8]


  1. The Independent, 17 April 2007, p.21 Germanys 'Red Zora' terrorist spared jail.
  2. The Independent, 17 April 2007
  3. Dark Star Collective, p.101
  4. Arm the Spirit
  5. Heitmeyer, p.371
  6. "A herstory of the Revolutionary Cells and Rote Zora". Retrieved 2015-11-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Infoshop News - Former Left-Wing Extremist Tried For Failed Attacks in 1980s
  8. Radical Left-Wing Feminist Given Suspended Jail Term | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 16.04.2007


  • Dark Star Collective, Quiet Rumours: An Anarcha-Feminist Reader, Oakland: AK Press, 2002, ISBN 1-902593-40-5.
  • Heitmeyer, Wilhelm; Hagan, John. International Handbook of Violence Research, Springer, 2003, ISBN 1-4020-1466-X.