Families of Israelis Killed at Munich Olympics Plan Anniversary Boycott

TEL AVIV — The households of the 11 Israeli athletes who had been killed by Palestinian militants on the 1972 Munich Olympics stated Wednesday that they intend to boycott a memorial ceremony deliberate in Germany in September to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the assault due to a dispute with German authorities over compensation.

The choice will put stress on the president of Israel, Yitzhak Herzog, who’s scheduled to attend the ceremony in Munich on Sept. 5, to additionally keep away, threatening an occasion aimed toward therapeutic the injuries of an assault by the Black September terrorist group that shocked Israel and the world.

Germany’s dealing with of the terrorist assault, and its aftermath, stays one of the crucial divisive points between the 2 international locations after the institution of full diplomatic relations between them in 1965 — a relationship already fraught by the Holocaust.

The households have lengthy fought for extra compensation for the killings of the athletes, and Israel has maintained that Germany did not adequately shield the athletes and coated up its failings earlier than and after the assault.

The assault passed off on Sept. 5, 1972, when eight Palestinian militants jumped over the fence of the Munich Olympic Village, which was guarded by just some German law enforcement officials, based on an official report by the Israel State Archives. Solely two of the officers had been armed. The militants entered the Israeli residence and killed two staff members earlier than demanding the discharge of comrades imprisoned in Israel. Later, 9 different athletes had been killed, together with a German police officer, in a chaotic rescue try.

Ankie Spitzer, the consultant of the households in conferences with Mr. Herzog, stated that the households regarded the compensation supplied by Germany as “a joke” and that every one however one member deliberate to boycott the ceremony the place the fee was to be introduced.

The German authorities stated in an inner memo obtained by The New York Instances that up to now the households have been paid a complete of 4.6 million euros, or about $4.8 million, by varied German companies. In an announcement Wednesday, the German inside ministry stated that “confidential talks are presently underway with representatives of the victims’ households” however didn’t point out the boycott transfer.

“We count on President Herzog to additionally announce, instantly, that he’s not coming,” stated Ms. Spitzer, who’s the widow of Andrei Spitzer, who was the coach of the Israeli fencing staff. “If the households don’t journey, he shouldn’t journey both as a result of if he’s there, even to put a wreath, it can legitimize this merciless German habits.”

Mr. Herzog and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany had a sequence of cellphone calls with the households and the German inside ministry, which was liable for developing with the compensation provide, in an unsuccessful effort to resolve the dispute, based on the households and their legal professionals, an account backed by Israeli and German officers.

Germany is providing 5.4 million euros in whole in extra compensation to 23 remaining members of the family, based on the federal government German memo. However legal professionals for the households say they’re searching for about 20 occasions greater than that.

“The extent of state accountability of Germany, as we all know it now, is way extra in depth in comparison with the information which had been identified in 1972-2020” stated Alexander Knoops, a lawyer for the households. “Ample proof was not too long ago found which reveals that the Authorities not solely failed within the safety of the athletes however was additionally instrumental within the cowl up of its failure.”

The dispute over the compensation is a uncommon battle between Germany and Israel. Germany has labored onerous to be clear in its atonement for its Nazi previous, and to have a particular relationship with Israel. For instance, historically, Israel is among the first international journeys taken by new German presidents.

The choice by the members of the family to boycott the occasion calls into query the participation within the ceremony of the complete Israeli delegation of about 200 individuals, which incorporates members of the Israeli Olympic Committee and Olympic medal-winning athletes, who’ve stated they’d not go to Munich with out the households.

Mr. Herzog has not but selected the problem and continues his efforts, along with the president of Germany, to resolve the case, based on Israeli officers. A spokesman for the Israeli president declined to touch upon the problem.

Ms. Spitzer, the consultant of the households, additionally stated Israel had not helped her or others during the last decade.

“Ties with Germany are crucial and possibly surpass all the things else,” she stated. However, she added, it was time for Israel to “say publicly what everyone seems to be saying quietly fearing to insult the Germans — it’s time to lastly compensate the households of the victims for the horrible failures that led to the demise of Andrei and the opposite 10 athletes, and for all of the lies and cover-ups within the final 50 years.”

The prime minister of Israel on the time of the assault, Golda Meir, refused to barter with the militants however requested to ship a particular commando unit to free the athletes however Germany refused, an account confirmed by German officers in a 2012 documentary. Israel demanded that the Video games be stopped — however this request was additionally declined.

The top of Israeli intelligence, the Mossad, stated he was solely allowed to look at the rescue operation, and that every one his proposals had been rejected by the Germans.

“They didn’t make a minimal effort to avoid wasting lives, they didn’t take a minimal danger to attempt to save individuals, neither theirs nor ours,” the Mossad head, Zvi Zamir instructed authorities ministers when he returned to Israel, based on a transcript of the assembly obtained by The New York Instances.

The households of the victims have lengthy accused German authorities of hiding paperwork from them and creating bureaucratic difficulties in order that they’d not get entry to the archives and obtain monetary compensation.

Just lately declassified paperwork printed within the German media present that German intelligence had warnings of an imminent motion in opposition to the Olympics, however did nothing.

In the course of August 1972, the German Embassy in Beirut despatched an pressing telegram to the international ministry in Bonn alerting it of an assault. The telegram was first published in July by the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

In keeping with an inner German authorities memorandum obtained by The New York Instances, the goal of the ceremony on Sept. 5 was to confront the “questions of historic reckoning that stay unresolved.” The inside ministry assertion stated Germany considered the ceremony as “an event for a transparent political evaluation of the occasions of 1972.”

As a part of that effort, Germany plans to ascertain a German-Israeli historical past fee, with full entry to all data, “to scrutinize all obtainable sources” and give you a “scholarly account and evaluation of the occasions.” President Steinmeier additionally deliberate to acknowledge the accountability of Germany for the dealing with of the phobia assault, and announce the extra compensation for the sufferer’s households.

“By these actions, the Federal Republic of Germany is fulfilling its ethical and historic obligation to the victims and their surviving members of the family” the memo concludes.

Christopher F. Schuetze contributed reporting from Hanover, Germany.

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