Legends grew up around Hans-Jürgen Krahl, the Frankfurt student leader and disciple of philosopher Theodor Adorno, even during his lifetime. Second only to Rudi Dutschke, Krahl personified the charisma of the self-proclaimed ‘anti-authoritarian’ youth movement of the 1960s, with its mixture of permanent action and esoteric theoretical jargon. In February 1970, Krahl was killed in a car accident at the age of 27. For many, this was the horrifying, almost fateful consequence of the life he had led. Others stylised Krahl’s early death as a beacon of despair directed at the authoritarian tendencies within the student movement. More than the death of one man, for them the the fatal accident marked the end of the young emancipatory movement in Germany. Another, less heroic interpretation sees his death as the result of the extreme personal and political tension of Krahl’s life, which could only meet a catastrophic end.

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