The positions held by Dr. Hanns Martin Schleyer, born on 1st May 1915, included executive director of Daimler-Benz AG, and President of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA) and of the Confederation of German Industry (BDI).
On 5th September 1977 Dr. Schleyer was forcibly kidnapped by members of the "Red Army Faction". His driver, Heinz Marcisz, and three police officers in his escort, Reinhold Brändle, Roland Pieler and Helmut Ulmer, were killed in the incident. After six weeks of captivity, Dr. Schleyer was murdered by terrorists on 18th October 1977. In the interim the RAF had failed to secure the release of terrorists convicted of murder in Germany in exchange for Hanns Martin Schleyer.
At this time the rule of law in the Federal Republic of Germany faced an existential challenge. The Hanns Martin Schleyer Foundation, founded in response to this challenge, sees its role and its work as a campaign for the res publica – the common good. It has set itself the task of strengthening and developing our community as a free society; this is the foundation upon which individual freedom and economic success are based.