Karl Heinz Beckurts


Karl Heinz Beckurts
Death date
Associated organizations
Fields of study
Nuclear physics


Karl Heinz Beckurts was a senior executive at the electronics group Siemens AG who was killed in a car bombing in 1986. Guerrillas of the leftist Red Army Faction claimed responsibility for the attack.

Beckurts was a nuclear physicist who worked in the German atomic power industry for more than twenty years before joining Siemens in 1980. He had previously spent ten years as director of the West German nuclear research center at Jülich.

At Siemens, Beckurts advanced the company's efforts to catch up in the semiconductor business, which was dominated by the United States and Japan in the 1980s. He also promoted the company's venture capital business and its software engineering capacity.

The Red Army Faction emerged in the 1970s and had assassinated over thirty people before Beckurts, including senior justice officials, a top banker, and members of the U.S. military. In a statement, the Red Army Faction claimed that Beckurts was a target because he represented “Western Europe’s biggest high-tech concern and the world’s third-biggest atomic concern.” The crime remains unsolved.