German compensation offer to Israeli families of Olympic attack victims rejected as ‘insulting’

German compensation offer to Israeli families of Olympic attack victims rejected as ‘insulting’

BERLIN (AP) – The German government indicated Wednesday that it is willing to pay more compensation to the families of 11 Israeli athletes killed at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich by Palestinian groups. Family members of the athletes criticized the proposed amount as “insulting”.

The athletes’ relatives have long criticized how German authorities handled the attack and its aftermath. Demands for more reparations have threatened to overshadow a planned commemoration for the 50th anniversary of the massacre.

Germany’s interior ministry said it was in talks with relatives and should reassess the “serious consequences for the surviving dependents of the victims, both materially and immaterially”.

“A proposal to give more recognition to the surviving relatives of the victims of the attack” was planned, the ministry told the German news agency DPA that “the commemoration of the 50th anniversary should be the occasion for a clear political classification of the events of 1972.”

Members of the Palestinian group Black September stormed the Olympic Village and took Israeli national team athletes hostage on September 5, 1972, with the aim of forcing the release of prisoners held by Israel and two left-wing extremists in West German prisons.

A press review from 6 September 1972 of the terrorist attack during the Summer Olympics in Munich. (epu/dpa/photo alliance via Getty Images)

The mother of an Israeli athlete killed at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games mourns her son at his funeral. The modern state of Israel was the first to send athletes to the Olympics; But the collaborative spirit of the Games was shattered when eight Palestinian terrorists killed two members of the Israeli team and took nine athletes and coaches hostage. (David Rubinger/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Eleven Israelis and a West German police officer died during the attack, which included a failed rescue attempt.

Immediately after the attack, Germany paid about 4.19 million marks (about 2 million euros or $2.09 million), according to the interior ministry. In 2002, surviving relatives received another 3 million euros, dpa reported.

The claim for damages of around 40 million marks cited gross errors in police operations, but was dismissed due to the statute of limitations.

In Israel, Ilana Romano, a weightlifter who was one of the first Israelis killed, told public broadcaster Cannes on Tuesday that Germany’s current compensation offer was “disgraceful” and rejected by victims’ survivors.

“The offer is insulting, and we stand by our position that we are boycotting the (anniversary) event,” he said, adding that Germany had “thrown us to the dogs.” They have mistreated us for 50 years.”

“They decided to take responsibility — 50 years later is pretty cool,” Romano said, calling for adequate compensation for families “not money.”

Fle/1972: Headshots of six members of the Israeli Olympic team killed in a Palestinian terrorist attack at the Summer Games, Munich, Germany. LR: (top) coach Moshe Weinberg and officials Kehat Shur and Yaakov Springer, (bottom) official Yosef Gottfreund, wrestler Eliezer Halfen and official Amitzur Shapira. 11 Israelis were killed in the attack. (Agence France Presse/Getty Images)

Anki Spitzer, the widow of Andre Spitzer, the fencing coach of the Israeli Olympic team who was killed in the attack, also rejected the money offered by Germany.

“The money we’ve been offered is humiliating,” Spitzer told the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland newspaper group on Wednesday. “We are angry and disappointed.”

The newspaper group – citing the families of the victims – reported that Germany had offered to pay the families 10 million euros, which would include payments already made in the past.

The German government has not publicly disclosed how much money it has offered.

“We’ve never wanted to talk about money publicly, but now we’re forced to,” Spitzer said.

If the current offer stands, relatives will not come to Munich to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the attacks in early September, Spitzer said.

Demands to release undisclosed files before the attack were met last month, when Bavarian officials said they would release any files unwrapped in the southern German state.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.