50 years to agree Munich Olympic attack compensation ‘shameful’: German president

BERLIN: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday admitted it was “embarrassing” that it took Berlin five decades to agree to compensation for the bereaved families of Israeli victims in 1972. Munich Olympics attack.
Steinmeier, standing next to his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog, said: “It took 50 years to reach this agreement in the last days, which is a real shame.”
A controversy over the financial offer Berlin made earlier to the victim’s relatives threatened to spoil the ceremony with the families initially planning the boycott.
But a settlement was finally agreed on Wednesday for 28 million euros in compensation, and was the first time the German state had admitted its “responsibility” for the failures that led to the carnage.
On September 5, 1972, eight gunmen from the Palestinian militant group Black September broke into the Israeli team’s apartment in the Olympic village, shooting two people dead and taking nine Israelis hostage.
West German police responded with a rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and one policeman.
The Olympics were meant to introduce a new Germany 27 years after the Holocaust but instead opened up a deeply fractured relationship with Israel.
In 2012, Israel released 45 official documents about the killings, including a specially declassified document, critical of the work of German security services.
Included in the reports was an official account from former Israeli intelligence chief Zvi Zamir, who said that German police “did not make the slightest effort to save lives”.
Steinmeier said he would address some of Germany’s setbacks in his speech at Monday’s ceremony.
“I will talk about … some misjudgments, some misbehavior and some mistakes made during the Olympics in Munich,” he said.
Herzog said the deal would bring “this painful period to a place of healing”.
“I hope that from now on, we will continue to remember, appeal to and most importantly reaffirm the lessons of this tragedy, including the importance of fighting terrorism, for the future generation.”

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