Terrorism: Agreement with survivors of the Olympic attack

Immediately before the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Olympic attack, the German government reached an agreement with the families of the Israeli victims after a long dispute.

Terrorism: Agreement with survivors of the Olympic attack

Immediately before the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Olympic attack, the German government reached an agreement with the families of the Israeli victims after a long dispute. In addition to other financial payments, this also provides for components to process the failed hostage rescue with a total of twelve dead.

This was announced by government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit and former Interior Minister Gerhart Baum (FDP). The lawyer Baum, together with colleagues from a Düsseldorf law firm, represented the bereaved in the negotiations. The bereaved are now expected to come to Germany for the commemoration event next Monday.

More than just financial compensation

Hebestreit spoke in a statement of an "overall concept" and explained: "This includes the processing of the events by a commission of German and Israeli historians, the legally compliant release of files, the classification and assumption of political responsibility within the framework of the commemoration event and the provision of further recognition services by the federal government, by the state of Bavaria and by the city of Munich." He did not name a sum for the compensation payments.

As the German Press Agency learned from government circles, an amount of 28 million euros had recently been discussed. The federal government should contribute 22.5 million euros, the state of Bavaria 5 million euros and the city of Munich 500,000 euros.

The Presidents of Germany and Israel, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Izchak Herzog, said they were "happy and relieved" about the agreement. "The agreement cannot heal all wounds. But it opens a door to each other," they said in a joint statement. "With this agreement, the German state acknowledges its responsibility and recognizes the terrible suffering of the murdered and their relatives, which we want to commemorate next week."

Families of Olympic victims attend memorial service

Baum told the dpa: "The agreement also enables a dignified commemoration on September 5 in the presence of Presidents Izchak Herzog and Frank-Walter Steinmeier and, above all, in the presence of the bereaved who, under the new circumstances, have agreed to take part in the celebration ." It contains not only material and immaterial recognition services. "It is just as important for the relatives to come to terms with what happened at the time - now with disclosure of all sources."

On September 5, 1972, Palestinian terrorists attacked the Israeli team at the Olympic Games in Munich. Eleven members of the team and one police officer were killed during the failed rescue operation by the police at the Fürstenfeldbruck air base near Munich. The safety precautions were considered inadequate. Adequate compensation for the families of the victims of the attack had been fought for decades. They also demand an apology.

In 1972 and 2002, Germany paid around 4.6 million euros as a humanitarian gesture for those affected. In addition, around half a million euros came from the National Olympic Committee and donations from the German Red Cross. In 1994, victims' families demanded 40 million marks (around 20.45 million euros) in damages in court, citing massive mistakes made during the police operation as the reason for this. The lawsuit failed due to the statute of limitations.

Next Monday - the 50th anniversary of the assassination - the murdered will be commemorated in Fürstenfeldbruck. The victims' families wanted to boycott the event because of the lack of agreement.

State visit of the Israeli President Herzog

The dispute also overshadowed the state visit of Israeli President Herzog to Germany, which began on Sunday. He probably would not have come to the memorial service without his family. Now he is allowed to visit her together with Steinmeier. The Federal President is expected to acknowledge Germany's responsibility for what happened and apologize to the bereaved.

Government spokesman Hebestreit explained that with the agreement, the Federal Republic of Germany is fulfilling its historical obligation towards the victims and their surviving dependents. "After 50 years, it creates the conditions for coming to terms with a painful chapter in our shared history, for appropriately acknowledging it, and laying the foundation for a new, lively culture of remembrance."

Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) said that the Federal Republic is now fulfilling its historical obligation to the victims and their families. "After 50 years, it creates the conditions for coming to terms with a painful chapter in our shared history, for appropriately acknowledging it, and laying the foundation for a new, lively culture of remembrance."

The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, stressed that the mistakes and shortcomings made by the German side could not and should not be forgotten. "But it has to be acknowledged that the politicians responsible for the present have accepted the responsibility and the mistakes of the past."

On behalf of the Bavarian state government, Head of State Chancellery Florian Herrmann was pleased "that it is now possible to commemorate this historically terrible attack together." The deputy leader of the Greens in the Bundestag, Konstantin von Notz, emphasized: "The commemoration can and must serve as the starting point for a comprehensive review of the events as well as a political reassessment, classification and memory of the events from today's perspective."

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