Terrorism: Olympic attack in 1972: Steinmeier asks for forgiveness

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has asked the families of the victims of the 1972 Olympic attack for forgiveness.

Terrorism: Olympic attack in 1972: Steinmeier asks for forgiveness

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has asked the families of the victims of the 1972 Olympic attack for forgiveness.

"As the head of state of this country and on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany, I ask your forgiveness, forgiveness for the lack of protection for the Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich and for the lack of information afterwards; for the fact that what happened could happen." , said Steinmeier on Monday at a commemoration event in Fürstenfeldbruck on the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

Eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team and a German policeman were killed in the attack, with which Palestinian terrorists and RAF terrorists Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof wanted to free more than 200 prisoners in Israel. The assassins broke into the athletes' quarters in the Olympic Village early in the morning of September 5, 1972, shot dead two men and took nine hostages. Around 18 hours later, a rescue attempt at the airfield in Fürstenfeldbruck ended in a bloodbath. All nine hostages, policeman Anton Fliegerbauer and five assassins died.

Steinmeier thanked the relatives and the Israeli President Izchak Herzog for attending the memorial event. "Without all of you, without the relatives, without the presence of the State of Israel, I could not imagine a dignified commemoration," he said. Looking back, he explained: "What a huge vote of confidence it was to take part in the Olympic Games in the country of the perpetrators after the Shoah was a crime against humanity. There were also survivors of the Shoah among the athletes and their coaches." Germany, which was not prepared for such an attack, did not live up to this trust.

The act of commemoration began with a wreath-laying ceremony, during which Herzog and Steinmeier silently commemorated the victims of the attack.

The effort to show Germany in 1972 as a peaceful, friendly democracy failed tragically in Munich, said Steinmeier. For the assassins, the Olympic Village had become "an international stage for Jew hatred and violence." Even after the assassination, mistakes were made, emphasized the Federal President. Years and decades of silence and suppression followed the attack. Many questions remain unanswered to this day, such as why the surviving perpetrators were deported so quickly and what connections they had to German extremists. It is good that the federal government is now proposing the establishment of an Israeli-German commission of historians in order to shed more light on this dark chapter.

The survivors of the Israeli victims reached an agreement with the German government just a few days ago. 28 million euros are now fixed as compensation for the suffering that has arisen. The federal government will take on 22.5 million euros, the Free State of Bavaria 5 million euros and the city of Munich 500,000 euros.

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