Attack on Israelis at the 1972 Olympics: Memorial plans falter

The victims’ families do not want to take part in the event in Munich. Now Israel’s President Herzog could also stay away.

Policemen in tracksuits with automatic firearms in their hands

Police officers in tracksuits tried to end the kidnapping of the Israeli athletes Photo: Sven Simon/imago

BERLIN taz | In the federal government, the clocks are ticking particularly loudly when it comes to one topic: In less than two weeks, an event to commemorate the 1972 Olympics attack is to take place in Munich. September 5th is an anniversary the assassination, in which 11 Israeli team members and a German policeman were killed, for the 50th time. But now the relatives of the victims want not attend the memorial service.

Two weeks ago, the relatives had rejected new payments from the federal government. They are still there decades after the attack adequate financial compensation and historical processing of the assassination. In negotiations and talks over the past few months, the federal government and the bereaved have not been able to reach an agreement.

Ludwig Spaenle, CSU member of the state parliament in Bavaria and anti-Semitism officer, has now even brought a possible cancellation of the event into play. On Deutschlandfunk, Spaenle said on Wednesday that one had to “seriously examine whether such a commemoration is possible”.

The statement was preceded by repeated affirmations by the families of the victims not to take part in the memorial service in Munich. “They were confronted with an offer in which, among other things, previous payments were included – this is not a conversation on an equal footing,” said Spaenle of the taz.

Steinmeier as mediator?

Meanwhile, the Israeli Ambassador to Germany, Ron Prosor, has not given up hope of reaching an agreement before the memorial event: “We have two weeks to work on it. I hope a solution can be found. The families deserve a degree.” Both the Bavarian state government and the Federal Ministry of the Interior have repeatedly emphasized in recent weeks that they want to continue talking.

Most recently, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who has been invited to speak at the commemoration, also commented on the dispute over compensation for relatives. A trusting and close exchange with the Israeli survivors of the 1972 attack is “a special concern” for him.

Ankie Spitzer, representative of the victims’ families, told the Tagesschau on Saturday that the Federal President had offered to travel to Israel before the commemoration ceremony and speak to the relatives. The negotiations between the federal government and the relatives have so far taken place between lawyers for the families and representatives of the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

When asked by the taz, the Office of the Federal President said that Steinmeier was ready to talk to the relatives. There are currently no concrete travel plans.

According to media reports, after the cancellation of the victims’ families, it is now even uncertain whether Israeli President Isaac Herzog will attend the commemoration ceremony in Munich. Herzog, who was appointed President in June, is coming to Germany for his first official visit as President in early September. When asked by the taz whether participation in the commemorative event in Munich was planned during the visit, the Israeli embassy replied: “President Herzog’s travel plans have not yet been finalized.” already cancelled.

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