As part of a deal struck with the families of the 11 Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian militants in the Munich Olympics attack in 1972, the German government announced Friday that it had established an international commission of experts to examine the circumstances surrounding the attack.
Eight historians were selected by the Interior Ministry, most of whom were located in Germany or Israel. Nancy Faeser, Germany’s interior minister, emphasized the country’s commitment to “a thorough reappraisal of what happened.”
According to a statement from Faeser, the committee will also “rigorously examine the period before and after” the incident. “It is crucial to me that their work fully explores how the family members were treated following the attack,” the author says.
In September, while attending a ceremony to commemorate the assault’s 50th anniversary with his Israeli counterpart and family members of the dead athletes, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier apologized for several mistakes made by his nation before, during, and after the attack.
A planned boycott of the event was avoided thanks to an arrangement negotiated days before that the family would receive a total of 28 million euros ($30.7 million) in compensation.
Germany also consented to set up the historians’ review process and to recognize historical authority failings.
On September 5, 1972, just before daybreak, eight members of a Palestinian organization known as Black September scaled the open fence around the Olympic Village. They stormed the structure where the Israeli was located.
Nine Israeli athletes were detained, but some managed to flee. The kidnappers wanted the release of two German left-wing radicals and the more than 200 Palestinians jailed by Israel in West German jails.
The assailants asked for a flight and safe transportation to Cairo. After a full day of discussions, the attackers and their hostages were permitted to board two helicopters and fly to an airport south of Munich called Fuerstenfeldbruck.
At the airfield, gunmen started firing. The assailants shot the captives in the second helicopter while they launched a grenade into one of the helicopters transporting hostages, causing it to explode.
A West German police officer and five attackers were killed in the failed rescue effort.
According to a statement released by the German Interior Ministry on Friday, the study project’s work and conclusions “will be documented transparently for the public,” Other experts with “additional expertise on various topics” would also be incorporated into the panel’s work.
It stated that the project’s first meeting is scheduled for later this year, around the time of the 51st anniversary, but it did not mention the deadline for the commission to submit its “comprehensive scholarly account.”
It was said that the Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History in Germany would assist the expert committee by conducting an associated research project.
Ankie Spitzer, the widow of Andre Spitzer, a fencing teacher, stated that the victims’ relatives “are very pleased that our request to open the archives and establish a commission has been granted.”
“We are grateful to the distinguished members of the commission that they are willing to re-examine the murderous attack and its aftermath,” she continued. This is important to the families and will hopefully make history right.