In 1972, Palestinian terrorists murdered eleven Israeli athletes at the Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. Since then, Germany covered up its gross mishandling of the attack.
On Sept. 5, 2022, at the massacre’s anniversary commemoration, Berlin finally acknowledged its responsibility.
Addressing the victims’ families on behalf of Germany, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier proclaimed, "I ask for your forgiveness for the lack of protection for the Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich and for the lack of trying to find explanations afterward. It is my duty and my obligation to confess our German responsibility."
The families of the slaughtered athletes rightfully blamed German authorities for ignoring reported warnings of possible attacks, inexplicably bungling rescue attempts and stonewalling those seeking reasons for this catastrophe.
Germany billed the 1972 Olympics as "the Happy Olympics," in contrast to Adolf Hitler’s 1936 showcasing of Nazi propaganda.
Under $2 million was spent to protect participants.
Unarmed security personnel, untrained and improperly equipped police and sharpshooters, lack of a coherent rescue strategy, inept negotiating skills and the rejection of Israeli terrorism expertise resulted in disaster.
For 50 years, Germany allowed no access to official records.
Germany’s behavior since 1972 has been reprehensible and inexcusable.
Family members searching for answers were met with obstruction and hostility. Ankie Spitzer, wife of murdered coach Andrei Spitzer, remarked, "One German official told me, 'You Jews brought the terror on yourselves.'"
Germany claimed that no relevant documents existed. However, in 1992, a German archivist smuggled files to a victim’s wife. In 2012, Der Spiegel reported tens of thousands of hidden records revealing Germany’s incompetence in handling the massacre.
On Sept. 5, 1972, eight heavily armed members of the Black September faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) stormed the apartments housing Israeli athletes, immediately killing two.
Nine others were taken hostage and, for 20 hours, sadistically brutalized.
Palestinian demand for the release of hundreds of political prisoners was rejected.
Israel was forced to watch passively as Palestinian terrorists slaughtered its citizens.
Germany rejected Jerusalem’s offer of a counter-terrorism unit and ignored the advice of Mossad Chief Zvi Zamir, who commented later, "They didn’t make a minimal effort to save lives."
The first 1972 Olympic competition occurred at 8:15 a.m. as an international nightmare unfolded nearby with two Israelis dead and nine held hostage.
Some of Berlin’s bungled rescue attempts were televised in real time to the Olympic audience, the world — and the terrorists. It was an absolute debacle and
textbook example of mishandling a hostage situation.
In response to Palestinian demands for a flight to Egypt to continue hostage negotiations, the Germans helicoptered the terrorists and the nine blindfolded Israelis to Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base outside Munich where an airplane was to be made available.
The helicopters carrying the Palestinians and Israelis landed at Fürstenfeldbruck.
The terrorists boarded the empty plane and realized it was a set-up.
Chaos erupted. German snipers opened fire and the Arabs killed all nine Israelis.
One German and five Palestinians were also killed in the shootout; three Palestinians survived and were arrested.
Repeating his behavior at the 1936 Nazi Olympics, Avery Brundage, now heading the International Olympic Committee (IOC), insisted that politics must not interfere. The Games continued. Los Angeles Times' Jim Murray was astonished: "Incredibly, they’re going on with it. It’s almost like having a dance at Dachau."
Two months later, Germany, fearful of Palestinian revenge attacks, collaborated with Yasser Arafat’s PLO to stage a Beirut hijacking of a Lufthansa plane headed for Frankfurt in order to trade the three surviving Munich terrorists for the eleven hostages on board.
Although Berlin denied it, German, Palestinian and Israeli intelligence sources confirmed the cowardly deed.
When Germany refused to demand the extraction from France of Abu Daoud, a chief organizer of the Munich attack, Daoud moved to Syria, living on a Palestinian Authority (PA) pension until his 2010 death from natural causes.
In his autobiography, Daoud wrote that Mahmoud Abbas, current PLO Chairman and PA President, funded the attack and "the Munich operation had the endorsement of former PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat."
For half a century, the IOC refused to hold an official remembrance for the dead Jewish athletes, calling it "inappropriate." Finally, at the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics, an official moment of silence for the Munich victims was observed.
The 1972 Munich Olympics showcased a Germany acquiescing to the most infamous case of terrorism in the 1970s.
The spilling of Jewish blood on German soil a mere 27 years after the Holocaust scarred Israeli society.
In contrast, Palestinian Arabs revere its planners as “heroes” and role models.
In a 2006 Der Spiegel interview, Abu Daoud said, "I regret nothing. You can only dream that I would apologize."
At a Berlin press conference just prior to the 2022 ceremony, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, when asked whether he apologizes for the 1972 massacre, retorted that Israel had committed Palestinian "holocausts."
Though Germany is now expressing responsibility for its 1972 actions, it continues to send hundreds of millions of dollars to Mahmoud Abbas, who funds Palestinians to kill Israeli civilians.
The victims’ families intended to boycott the 2022 ceremony until they were promised an Israeli-German commission to document the fiasco and compensation for their loss.
In a final act of gross insensitivity and indifference, German bureaucrats arranged to fly the murdered athletes’ families to the 2022 ceremony on the identical route their loved ones took to their deaths in 1972 — by helicopter from the Olympic Village in Munich to Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base.
The families refused.
Ziva Dahl is a senior fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center. Ziva writes and lectures about U.S.-Israel relations, U.S. foreign policy, Israel, Zionism, Antisemitism and BDS on college campuses. Her articles have appeared in such publications as The Hill, New York Daily News, New York Observer, The Washington Times, American Spectator, American Thinker and Jerusalem Post. Read Ziva Dahl's Reports — More Here.
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