Germany investigates the 1972 Munich Olympics attack

Eleven Israeli athletes and a policeman were killed in the 1972 Munich Olympics attack, which was carried out by Palestinians from the Black September militant group. The German government has now set up a probe into the attack.

As part of an agreement between Germany and the families of the victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics attack reached last year, the German government appointed a commission in April to re-examine the attack on Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement.

„For too many years, there was a lack of understanding or reappraisal of the events, transparency about them or acceptance of responsibility for them,” she said.

The deal with the victims’ families includes a compensation offer of €28 million ($30.6 million) in an attempt to bring closure to the events of September 1972. Family members of the victims have long demanded that the German state take responsibility and pay them fair compensation, reports the Deutsche Welle.

During the Summer Olympic Games in Munich, on September 5, 1972, Palestinians from the Black September militant group broke into the Israeli Olympic team’s quarters, shooting and killing weightlifter Yossef Romano and wrestling coach Mosche Weinberg and taking nine other Israelis as hostages. In exchange for their release, they demanded the release of 234 prisoners held in Israel and West Germany. A botched rescue operation by the West German authorities left all nine hostages dead. Five hostage-takers and a German police officer were also killed.

The terror attack caused a deep rift between Germany and Israel, just 27 years after the Holocaust, during which Nazi Germany murdered over 6 million Jews.

Over the past decade, efforts have been made to remember and confront the events. For example, a memorial for the 12 victims was set up in Munich’s Olympic Park in 2017, and marking the 50th anniversary of the terrorist attack last year, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier asked for the forgiveness of the victims’ families during an anniversary ceremony.


Photo credit: AP