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August 31, 2022 10:37 am
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Compensation Agreement Reached Between Families of Munich Massacre Victims And German Government

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A plaque commemorating the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Photo: Reuters/Michael Dalder

The family members of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics were reported to have reached a compensation agreement with the German government on Wednesday, just days before an official commemoration ceremony which relatives had earlier threatened to boycott.

In a formal statement, Steffen Hebestreit, the spokesperson for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said that it had been “possible to agree with the relatives on an overall concept for the 50th anniversary.”

Hebestreit explained that under the terms of the agreement, archive files concerning the massacre of the athletes on Sept, 5, 1972 would be released for the review of a commission of Israeli and German historians. There would also be further “recognition payments” paid to the families by the federal government, the Bavarian state and the city of Munich, understood to be in the region of $30 million.

Additionally, the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, is expected to become the first official German representative to issue an apology over security lapses at the 1972 Games, the Suddeutsche Zeitung reported. During the hostage crisis, the German-led attempt to free the Israelis ended with all the athletes murdered on the tarmac of the Fürstenfeldbruck airbase.

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Wednesday’s announcement came a fortnight after two of the athlete’s widows sent a furiously worded letter to the prime minister of the state of Bavaria confirming that they would boycott the 50th anniversary commemoration ceremony being staged in the city.

“Fifty years of abuse, lies, humiliation and rejection by the German government and especially Bavarian authorities are more than enough for us,” wrote Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano in a letter to Bavarian premier Markus Söder.

Spitzer’s husband, Andre, was an Israeli team coach, while Romano’s spouse, Yossef, competed as a weightlifter. Romano was the second team member killed by the terrorists after he attacked one of their number, grabbing his automatic rifle and slashing him with a knife before being shot by another member of the “Black September” cell behind the operation. A 2015 documentary on the massacre revealed that the terrorists tortured and castrated Romano before executing him, leaving his corpse unattended as a warning to the other Israeli athletes.

The letter from Spitzer and Romano followed several earlier statements from the families of the murdered athletes that they would boycott the commemoration ceremony, accusing the Bavarian government of not having paid adequate compensation for their loss and trauma.

An earlier German offer of $12 million in compensation, minus the $5 million already paid, was dismissed by the victims’ families as a “joke” and an “affront.”

 

 

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