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Ulrike Meinhof.

Ulrike Meinhof.

Meinhof was born in 1934 in Oldenberg, a norther German town. Her father, Werner Meinhof, was an art historian and a professor who died early in Ulrike’s life. Ulrike’s mother raised Ulrike and her sister, Wienke, while also working toward a doctorate in philology. She too died early, leaving Ulrike an orphan when she was 14 years old.
The remainder of her childhood was spent in the care of a family friend, Renate Riemeck. Riemeck’s own strong leftist politics and personal example as a woman affected Meinhof deeply (she wore pants at a time when women rarely did, and lived openly with a female partner).