Munich Olympics Official Who Negotiated With Palestinian Terrorists Dies at 91
The International Olympic Committee announced yesterday the death of Walther Tröger, a former Mayor of the Olympic Village during the 1972 Munich games who took part in failed negotiations with Palestinian terrorists.
On Sept. 5, eight members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September took hostage nine athletes on the Israeli Olympic team, after killing two others. The hostages were held for more than 20 hours, during which the terrorists demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. The Black Septemberists killed all of the Israeli hostages and a West German police officer during a failed rescue attempt.
Tröger recalled the tragic events in a 1987 interview with UPI, during which he spent hours dealing with the terrorists and police. “’I deeply regret what happened to my friends from Israel,” he told the outlet. “I have been in the war and I have seen death. But I will never forget what happened in Munich.”
Tröger told UPI that his presence was demanded at the negotiations by the hostage-takers, and that the lead terrorist held a live grenade in his hands during their talks.
“No event anywhere in the world is safe now — whether it is an Olympics or a Papal visit,” he said in the 1987 interview. “At least Munich taught us to be alert. But it was a terrible lesson to learn.’
In a disastrous, heavily-criticized operation, Munich police tried to ambush the group at a nearby airfield. All of the Israeli athletes were killed, along with a West German police officer and five of the terrorists.
Tröger, who also led Germany’s National Olympic Committee and later served as the IOC Sports Director, was 91.