Israeli President Isaac Herzog is to attend a remembrance ceremony for the killing of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. His German counterpart has criticized Germany’s treatment of the victims’ loved ones.
https://www.dw.com-Germany’s Steinmeier vowed to confront antisemitism during his meeting with Herzog
Israeli President Isaac Herzog arrived in Germany on Sunday for a three-day visit during which he will join in commemorations on the 50th anniversary of the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics, in which 11 Israeli athletes lost their lives at the hands of Palestinian terrorists.
The commemorations in the Munich region on Monday will now be taking place in the presence of relatives of the victims, who had initially declined to attend in protest at Germany’s handling of the massacre and its aftermath.
They agreed to come after Germany reached a compensation agreement with the bereaved families on Wednesday.
Herzog will also hold a speech in the German parliament, or Bundestag, on Tuesday, and visit the former concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen, where thousands of Jews were imprisoned under the Nazi regime. Many died of disease, starvation and mistreatment.
Herzog’s father, Chaim Herzog, who later became Israeli head of state, was among the British troops who liberated the camp in April 1945.
Steinmeier: Germany must ‘cast light’ on shortcomings
At a state banquet in Berlin to welcome Herzog, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier took his own country to task for its failures in connection with the massacre.
“For much too long, we did not want to accept that we also had our part of responsibility: It was our task to ensure the safety of the Israeli sportspeople,” he said.
Now, he said, it was “our responsibility as Germans” to “cast light on unclarified aspects of the Munich massacre.”
“We did not want to recognize the pain of those left behind for much too long,” he said.
The German president also said he was “happy and relieved” that the “most important guests,” the relatives of the victims, could now take part in the commemorations.
Steinmeier also spoke of his “rage” at a recent rise in antisemitism in Germany, saying the country would only be truly at one with itself “when Jewish women and men feel completely safe and at home here.”
What happened in Munich in 1972?
Eight terrorists from the Palestinian group Black September entered the Olympic Village on September 5, 1972, and took 10 members of the Israeli delegation hostage. In exchange for their release, the hostage takers demanded the release of 234 prisoners held in Israel and West Germany.
A botched rescue operation by the West German authorities left 12 innocent people dead: 11 Israelis and one West German policeman. Five of the terrorists were also killed.
The actions of police and German security authorities were harshly criticized following the massacre and also caused outrage in Israel.
tj/sri (KNA, AFP)