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Caransa Remains in Captivity

November 1, 1977
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Jewish multimillionaire Maurits Caransa began his fourth day in captivity today as police tried to establish that he had in fact been abducted by the West German terrorist Red Army Faction, the official name of the Baader-Meinhof gang. Caransa, a real estate tycoon, was seized here early Friday morning by five men. Several hours later, the Amsterdam daily, “Het Parool,” received a phone call from a German-speaking man saying he was the representative of the Red Army Faction and that this group had kidnapped Caransa.

Police investigators speculated that Caransa, 61, may have been abducted to force the release of Knut Folkerts, 25, a West German terrorist who is imprisoned in nearby Utrecht for a shooting in which a Dutch policeman was killed on Sept. 22. However, investigators, did not rule out the kidnapping as a purely criminal affair and said they still have no evidence that Caransa’s kidnappers are the same who abducted and murdered West German industrialist Hanns-Martin Schleyer. Caransa is said to have personal enemies.

Caransa was abducted after leaving the Continental Club near the Amstel Hotel which he owns. He was seized by the five men while walking to his car in the fog. Caransa, a judo expert, was overpowered by the five after briefly wrestling with them. Only one eye-witness saw the abduction and reported that the kidnappers drove off in a red car. A massive police hunt, dragnet and roadblocks along the border and on major highways failed to detect the kidnappers or the car.

Born of extremely poor parents, Caransa started dealing in American army surplus goods after the war. In the early sixties, he started dealing in real estate and became one of the largest real estate owners in Amsterdam, owning several big office buildings and several of the foremost hotels such as the Amstel, the Doelen and the Caransa. He has been often in the public eye and is known to be a generous contributor to Israeli causes.

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