Attack on the 1972 Olympics: Steinmeier asks for forgiveness

The representative of the relatives of the Olympic attack, Ankie Spitzer, and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Monday in Fürstenfeldbruck; in the background Israeli President Izchak Herzog
Image: dpa

When commemorating the Olympic attack, Steinmeier asks for forgiveness. The widow of the murdered fencing trainer Andrei Spitzer has the last word. Her speech is a poignant declaration of love.

WWhat was still in question a few days ago became reality on Monday: Not only the Israeli President Izchak Herzog took part in the commemoration ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the Olympic attack at the Fürstenfeldbruck air base, but also the relatives of the Israeli terrorist victims. September 5, 1972 was here, a good 30 kilometers from Munich removed, a police operation to free members of the Israeli Olympic team from the hands of Palestinian terrorists failed disastrously. All Israeli hostages and a German policeman were killed, as well as five of the eight terrorists. Two Israelis had already been killed in the Olympic Village.

Herzog, who heard about the attack as a boy on his way to school in the presence of his father, spoke of “perpetual pain”. Each of those killed left a vacuum that will never be filled again. He criticized Germany for the “indifference” with which the country had looked at the attack and its victims for decades, but acknowledged the recent agreement reached on higher compensation payments and the federal government’s pledge to conduct a thorough investigation into the events and to deal with them. That’s why the relatives came.

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