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May 31, 2022 4:40 pm
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Families of Munich Massacre Victims Threaten to Boycott 50th Anniversary Commemoration Amid Compensation Row

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Members of the bereaved families arrive at the memorial service for the Munich massacre victims at Lod Airport in 1972. Photo: Eldan David/Israeli Government Press Office via Flickr.com.

Families of the Israeli coaches and athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, are threatening to not attend the 50th anniversary commemoration of the massacre until a longstanding dispute over compensation is resolved.

“None of us will come unless the question of compensation is finally clarified,” said Ankie Spitzer, spokesperson for the families, as reported by the German-language publication Süddeutsche Zeitung over the weekend.

Her late husband, Andre Spitzer, was one of 11 Israeli coaches and athletes killed after the Palestinian terrorist group Black September stormed the Olympic Village on September 5, 1972. The group shot dead two members of Israel’s Olympic team early in the assault, while the remaining 9 hostages were killed during a failed German rescue attempt, along with one German police officer.

The city of Munich is planning a series of events and exhibitions to commemorate the massacre this year, with each month dedicated to one of the 12 victims. Munich will additionally host the 2022 European Championships from August 11-21, which will be the largest sporting event in Germany since the 1972 Summer Olympics. The upcoming competition will take place in the Olympic Park, the same location where the Olympic Games were held.

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In 2002, Germany paid $2.98 million in compensation to relatives of the Israeli victims of the attack, even though the families demanded $29 million and an apology. Spitzer said the families have been asking for years for “normal compensation according to international standards,” Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

The families cited as an example the $10 million compensation paid per victim to the relatives of those killed in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight that exploded over Scotland, killing 270 people on board. Three Libyan intelligence operatives were charged in the bombing.

Despite the demands of the bereaved families, Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that the German government believes it is done compensating for the attack.

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