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German Government’s Close, post-Attack Relationship with Perpetrators of the 1972 Olympics Massacre

COMMENT: In recent, past dis­cus­sion of the 1972 Olympics mas­sacre, we have high­light­ed how the Ger­man gov­ern­ment had pri­or warn­ing of the attacks, yet took no sig­nif­i­cant secu­ri­ty pro­ce­dures, how the Black Sep­tem­ber ter­ror­ists received aid in the logis­ti­cal plan­ning for the attack by Ger­man neo-Nazis, and how the chief of secu­ri­ty for the attacks was alleged to have staged ter­ror­ist inci­dents to be blamed on the left, as well as pro­vid­ing an ali­bi for Karl­heinz Hoff­man, head of the Nazi group that exe­cut­ed the 1980 Okto­ber­fest bomb­ing in Munich.

We have also seen how the Ger­man domes­tic intel­li­gence and law enforce­ment agen­cies main­tain a dis­turbing­ly cozy rela­tion­ship with neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tions.

Inter­est­ing­ly, the Ger­man diplo­mat (Wal­ter Nowak) han­dling much of the dis­cus­sion with the Black Sep­tem­ber ter­ror­ists has a back­ground sug­ges­tive of involve­ment with the ver­triebene groups, one of the most salient aspects of the Under­ground Reich.

The Ger­many Watch blog has a wor­thy update on the 1972 Olympics inves­ti­ga­tion, accessed in the sec­ond excerpt below. 

That post rais­es a num­ber of inter­est­ing ques­tions, includ­ing:

  • Why were there 3 more ter­ror­ists at the air­port than had pre­vi­ous­ly been expect­ed?
  • Why did­n’t the Ger­man secu­ri­ty per­son­nel bring rifles, which were essen­tial to the res­cue plan?
  • Why did­n’t the Ger­mans take more secu­ri­ty pre­cau­tions in advance of the Olympics?
  • Why did the Ger­mans refuse Israeli intel­li­gence assis­tance?

At a min­i­mum, it is appar­ent that the Ger­mans took no sig­nif­i­cant steps to inter­dict the ter­ror­ist attack and it is dif­fi­cult to avoid the view that the Under­ground Reich may very well have been com­plic­it in the attack

“Germany’s Secret Con­tacts to Pales­tin­ian Ter­ror­ists” by Felix Bohr, Gun­ther Latsch and Klaus Wiegrefe; Der Spiegel; 8/28/2012.

EXCERPT: Eleven Israelis and one Ger­man police offi­cer died in the Munich mas­sacre of 1972, when Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists took Israeli ath­letes hostage at the Olympics. Now, gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments sug­gest that Ger­many main­tained secret con­tacts with the orga­niz­ers of the attack for years after­ward and appeased the Pales­tini­ans to pre­vent fur­ther blood­shed on Ger­man soil. . . .

. . . .Wal­ter Nowak, 48, the then Ger­man ambas­sador to Lebanon, con­demned the Israeli action [killing some of the per­pe­tra­tors of the 1972 Olympics attack], say­ing that the dead Pales­tini­ans were among the most “ratio­nal and respon­si­ble” mem­bers of the PLO. A day after the retal­ia­tory strike, the out­raged diplo­mat wrote a let­ter to gov­ern­ment author­i­ties in Bonn, the then-Ger­man cap­i­tal, say­ing that it was “not to be ruled out” that the Israelis had killed Abu Youssef and the oth­ers to hin­der the peace process in the Mid­dle East. “Those who don’t want to nego­ti­ate are both­ered by those they might be expect­ed to face in nego­ti­a­tions,” he wrote.

Nowak’s idio­syn­cratic assess­ment stemmed from the mis­sion the ambas­sador was pur­su­ing at the time. Nowak had met with Abu Youssef, one of the founders of Black Sep­tem­ber, about a week before his death. In the two-hour con­ver­sa­tion, he offered Abu Youssef and oth­er back­ers of the Munich attack the prospect of cre­at­ing “a new basis of trust” between them and the Ger­man gov­ern­ment. There was even talk of a secret meet­ing in Cairo between then For­eign Min­is­ter Wal­ter Scheel, a mem­ber of the lib­eral Free Demo­c­ra­tic Par­ty (FDP), and Abu Youssef.

The Munich attack had occurred only six months ear­lier. Despite the still-vivid images of masked ter­ror­ists on the bal­conies of the Olympic Vil­lage and a burned-out heli­copter on the tar­mac at the NATO air­base at Fürsten­feld­bruck, there was already active but secret diplo­matic com­mu­ni­ca­tion between Ger­mans and Pales­tini­ans. West Ger­man rep­re­sen­ta­tives were talk­ing to men like Abu Youssef, Ali Salameh and Amin al-Hin­di, all of them mas­ter­minds of the Munich mur­ders. Even the Ger­man Fed­eral Crim­i­nal Police Office (BKA), which is oblig­ated to pros­e­cute crim­i­nals, was involved in meet­ings, accord­ing to doc­u­ments in the Polit­i­cal Archives of the Ger­man For­eign Min­istry and the Fed­eral Archive in the west­ern city of Koblenz, which SPIEGEL has now ana­lyzed. . . .

. . . . In the com­ing weeks, dur­ing events to mark the 40th anniver­sary of the attack, the ques­tion will once again be raised as to why the Ger­man courts nev­er tried any of the per­pe­tra­tors or back­ers of the Munich mas­sacre. The doc­u­ments that are now avail­able sug­gest one answer in par­tic­u­lar: West Ger­many didn’t want to call them to account.

In the first few weeks after the attack, Ger­man gov­ern­ment offices in Bonn were imbued with a spir­it of appease­ment. From the Israeli per­spec­tive, it felt like a bit­ter irony of his­tory that it involved Munich — a city that became a sym­bol of the West­ern pow­ers’ appease­ment of Hitler after the Munich Agree­ment per­mit­ting Nazi Germany’s annex­a­tion of the Sude­ten­land was signed there in 1938.

Although the Munich attack involved mul­ti­ple mur­ders, the lan­guage in the files odd­ly down­plays what hap­pened there. Then-Chan­cel­lor Brandt is quot­ed as say­ing that the Olympic mas­sacre was a “crazy inci­dent,” while Paul Frank, a state sec­re­tary in the For­eign Min­istry, refers to it sim­ply as the “events in Munich.” Diplo­mats and senior Inte­rior Min­istry offi­cials upgrad­ed the sta­tus of Black Sep­tem­ber by call­ing it a “resis­tance group” — as if its acts of ter­ror had been direct­ed against Hitler and not Israeli civil­ians.

At the For­eign Min­istry, in par­tic­u­lar, some offi­cials were appar­ently very sym­pa­thetic to the Pales­tini­ans. Wal­ter Nowak, the Ger­man ambas­sador to Lebanon, once told Abu Youssef that the Ger­mans were a peo­ple “with a sub­stan­tial num­ber of refugees,” because of the fact that eth­nic Ger­mans had been expelled from parts of Cen­tral and East­ern Europe after World War II. (Nowak him­self was born in Sile­sia, which is now part of Poland, back when it belonged to Ger­many.) This, he added, made them more under­stand­ing of the Pales­tin­ian sit­u­a­tion than oth­er nations. . . .

. . . .  It is clear that the Fed­eral Crim­i­nal Police Office (BKA) coop­er­ated with the PLO, as evi­denced by a telex from the embassy in Beirut report­ing on a meet­ing between Hin­di and a BKA offi­cial on June 14, 1980. Accord­ing to the mes­sage, Hin­di com­plained that the press had got­ten wind of the con­nec­tions between the PLO and the BKA. He also claimed that the leak was on the Ger­man side. An indis­cre­tion like this could jeop­ar­dize coop­er­a­tion, Hin­di threat­ened, telling the BKA offi­cial that either the two orga­ni­za­tions “con­tinue work­ing togeth­er in secret, or not at all.”

Hin­di died of can­cer in 2010, and most of the oth­ers behind the Munich mas­sacre are now dead, as well. One of the three ter­ror­ists whose release the PLO secured by hijack­ing a Lufthansa flight occa­sion­ally appears in doc­u­men­tary films. There is still a Ger­man war­rant out for his arrest, but there is noth­ing to sug­gest that Ger­man author­i­ties have ever tried to find him.

Giv­en these cir­cum­stances, there is every indi­ca­tion that he will not be tried for the mur­der of the 11 Israelis and a Ger­man police offi­cer, at least not in a Ger­man court.

“Munich 1972: Fur­ther Dis­clo­sures”; Ger­many Watch; 8/30/2012.

EXCERPT: . . . . Here are just some of the high­lights;

When the Black Sep­tem­ber ter­ror­ists left the Olympic site in heli­copters in order to fly to the air­port to meet their plane, there were 5 ter­ror­ists.

When the stand-off and shoot­ings hap­pened at the air­port, there were sud­den­ly 8 ter­ror­ists. (Ital­ics added.)

The 3 extra ter­ror­ists took the Israeli Mossad Chief, who was present at the air­port, by sur­prise. He ques­tioned the Ger­mans on this, and did not get a clear expla­na­tion. (Because they were the Ger­man con­tacts, already in the Heli­copters wait­ing at the Olympic site. It was these three that sur­vived the shoot­ing and were lat­er released — the oth­ers were expend­able).

Despite requests for secu­ri­ty of the Israeli team before the inci­dent, Ger­man Police laughed off the need for secu­ri­ty for the team say­ing it was “not in the Olympic spir­it”.

Despite know­ing their own plan for sup­pos­ed­ly retriev­ing the hostages includ­ed snip­ing the ter­ror­ists at the air­port, the Ger­mans did not bring any rifles. They were armed with pis­tols and machi­nen­pis­tol [sub-machine guns–D.E.]. This meant that when they opened fire, “Ger­man bul­lets were spray­ing about”, poten­tial­ly includ­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty that some of the ath­letes were actu­al­ly shot by Ger­mans. . . . (Ital­ics added.)


6 comments for “German Government’s Close, post-Attack Relationship with Perpetrators of the 1972 Olympics Massacre”

  1. Hi Dave. The link for the Spiegel arti­cle is for print­ing. Here is the web ver­sion:


    Keep going.

    Posted by Claude | September 2, 2012, 8:59 pm
  2. Posted by GW | September 5, 2012, 4:30 am
  3. Posted by GW | September 10, 2012, 9:05 am
  4. In a chill­ing sto­ry, the 9/17/12 “The inter­na­tion­al­ly renowned Jew­ish Muse­um in Berlin host­ed a podi­um dis­cus­sion on Sat­ur­day with US aca­d­e­m­ic Judith But­ler, who renewed her calls to boy­cott Israel. It appears to be the first anti-Israel event held in the Jew­ish muse­um since its open­ing in 2001 with the aim of exhibit­ing the 2,000- year his­to­ry of Germany’s Jews. At least 700 peo­ple attend­ed the event.

    The Ger­man tax­pay­er-fund­ed museum’s deci­sion to show­case a speak­er in the cap­i­tal city, which dur­ing the Nazi peri­od served as the launch­ing pad for a boy­cott move­ment against Ger­man-Jew­ish busi­ness­es, has raised eye­brows about the management’s direc­tion of the muse­um.”

    Posted by Kando | September 17, 2012, 10:03 am
  5. @GW: The whole lec­ture (in five parts) is amaz­ing. Stephen Cough­lin real­ly is a true sci­en­tist, an exegete of shari­ah law. You lis­ten­ers out there don’t want to miss that!

    Posted by Claude | September 17, 2012, 10:41 pm
  6. http://www.timesofisrael.com/new-olympic-chief-heads-arab-german-trade-group-set-up-to-boycott-israel/

    New Olympic chief heads Arab-Ger­man trade group set up to boy­cott Israel

    Thomas Bach sup­port­ed pre­de­ces­sor Jacques Rogge in refus­ing to hold a moment of silence at 2012 Olympics for the 11 Israelis mur­dered at 1972 Munich Games
    By JTA and Miri­am Sha­viv Sep­tem­ber 11, 2013, 1:06 am 46

    The new­ly elect­ed pres­i­dent of the Inter­na­tion­al Olympic Com­mit­tee heads a Ger­man-based orga­ni­za­tion that helps com­pa­nies to guar­an­tee that their prod­ucts do not con­tain any­thing from Israel.

    Thomas Bach, a Ger­man who was elect­ed Tues­day for an ini­tial eight-year term at an IOC ses­sion in Buenos Aires, is chair­man of Ghor­fa, the Arab-Ger­man Cham­ber of Com­merce and Indus­try, which was set up in the 1970s by Arab coun­tries to boy­cott trade with Israel.

    “It betrays the prin­ci­ples of sports­man­ship and fair play for the IOC to be head­ed by some­one who active­ly par­tic­i­pates in ongo­ing Israel boy­cott cam­paign mea­sures,” said Dei­dre Berg­er, direc­tor of the Amer­i­can Jew­ish Com­mit­tee Berlin Ramer Insti­tute.

    Ghor­fa helps Ger­man com­pa­nies ensure that prod­ucts meet the import require­ments of Arab gov­ern­ments, some of which ban prod­ucts and ser­vices from Israel.

    The group con­tin­ues to issue cer­tifi­cates of Ger­man ori­gin for trade with Arab coun­tries. Its ear­li­er prac­tice of cer­tifi­cates ver­i­fy­ing that no prod­uct parts were pro­duced in Israel stopped in the ear­ly 1990s when Ger­many enact­ed trade reg­u­la­tions for­bid­ding the use of cer­tifi­cates of ori­gin to enable de fac­to trade boy­cotts, accord­ing to the AJC.

    The Guardian said Bach had long cov­et­ed the pres­i­den­cy, and “ran a sophis­ti­cat­ed lob­by­ing cam­paign in which the Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad al-Sabah played a con­tro­ver­sial role.” It said al-Sabah, an influ­en­tial fig­ure in IOC cir­cles, “admit­ted to lob­by­ing on Bach’s behalf in a breach of the IOC’s rules.”

    Bach, 59, who most recent­ly served as IOC vice pres­i­dent, won a fenc­ing gold medal in the team foil in 1976 before enter­ing sports mar­ket­ing and pol­i­tics. He sup­port­ed the refusal of the IOC, led by Jacques Rogge, to hold a moment of silence dur­ing the 2012 Sum­mer Olympics for the 40th anniver­sary of the mur­der of 11 mem­bers of the Israeli ath­let­ics del­e­ga­tion by Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists at the 1972 Munich Games.

    Bach’s can­di­da­cy for one of the most pow­er­ful jobs in world sport came under crit­i­cism in Ger­many in past weeks because it was strong­ly sup­port­ed by Arab lead­ers. But Char­lotte Knobloch, pres­i­dent of the Jew­ish Com­mu­ni­ty of Bavaria and for­mer head of the Cen­tral Coun­cil of Jews in Ger­many, said in a state­ment that Bach “stands for cen­tral val­ues such as tol­er­ance, fair­ness — sports­man­ship in the best sense of the word — and cos­mopoli­tanism.”
    Fam­i­ly and friends tak­ing part at a cer­e­mo­ny for a new city square in the city of Natzrat Illit. in hon­or of the 11 Israeli ath­letes mur­dered at the 1972 Munich Olympics games (pho­to cred­it: Avishag Shaar Yashuv/Flash90)

    Fam­i­ly and friends tak­ing part at an August 2012 cer­e­mo­ny for a new square in the city of Natzrat Illit. in hon­or of the 11 Israeli ath­letes mur­dered at the 1972 Munich Olympics (pho­to cred­it: Avishag Shaar Yashuv/Flash90)

    Nine new IOC mem­bers also were elect­ed Tues­day, includ­ing Bernard Rajz­man, a Brazil­ian Jew. Rajz­man, a native of Rio de Janeiro, where the 2016 Sum­mer Olympics will be held, won one gold and one sil­ver medal in vol­ley­ball. He is the pres­i­dent of Brazil’s Nation­al Com­mis­sion of Ath­letes and a state con­gress­man.

    At last summer’s Olympics, the wid­ows of Israeli ath­letes killed in the Munich games led a cho­rus of bit­ter attacks on Bach’s pre­de­ces­sor Rogge over his refusal to allow a minute of silence at the open­ing cer­e­mo­ny.
    Ankie Spitzer, wid­ow of one of the 11 mem­bers of the Israeli team who were killed in the ter­ror­ist attack at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, address­es guests at a memo­r­i­al cer­e­mo­ny at Guild­hall in Lon­don on Mon­day, Aug. 6, 2012. (pho­to cred­it: Sang Tan/AP)

    Ankie Spitzer, wid­ow of one of the 11 mem­bers of the Israeli team who were killed in the ter­ror­ist attack at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, address­es guests at a memo­r­i­al cer­e­mo­ny at Guild­hall in Lon­don on Mon­day, Aug. 6, 2012. (pho­to cred­it: Sang Tan/AP)

    “Some­times I won­der if I’m the only per­son left who still believes in Olympic ideals,” Ankie Spitzer told an audi­ence at a Lon­don memo­r­i­al cer­e­mo­ny, which includ­ed Rogge. “Is the IOC only inter­est­ed in pow­er, mon­ey and pol­i­tics?”

    “Shame on you, IOC,” said Spitzer, who was mar­ried to fenc­ing coach Andre Spitzer. “You have for­sak­en the 11 mem­bers of your Olympic fam­i­ly. You are against them only because they are Israelis and Jews.”

    Ilana Romano, wid­ow of weightlifter Yossef Romano, told Rogge to a stand­ing ova­tion at the same event in August 2012 that “today, you sub­mit­ted to ter­ror­ism.

    “You will be writ­ten down on the pages of his­to­ry as a for­mer ath­lete who became a pres­i­dent who vio­lat­ed the Olympic char­ter that calls for broth­er­hood, friend­ship and peace.”

    The wid­ows’ cam­paign for a minute of silence at the open­ing cer­e­mo­ny to mark the 40th anniver­sary of the 1972 attack, gained more than 111,000 sig­na­tures from over 100 coun­tries, and attract­ed sup­port from US Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and oth­er world lead­ers. How­ev­er, Rogge refused to allow the memo­r­i­al to go ahead.

    Around 600 peo­ple attend­ed the Lon­don ser­vice, which was orga­nized by Nation­al Olympic Com­mit­tee of Israel, the Jew­ish Com­mit­tee for the Lon­don Games and the Israeli embassy in Lon­don. Guests includ­ed British Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron, Lon­don May­or Boris John­son, Israeli Min­is­ter of Cul­ture and Sport Limor Liv­nat and Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Gui­do West­er­welle.

    Rogge, who spoke before the Munich wid­ows, did not refer to the Munich minute of silence. He said that “we are all here today because we share the duty of remem­ber­ing the vic­tims and to make sure the lessons of 1972 are nev­er for­got­ten… We are here to speak with one voice against ter­ror­ism. There is no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for ter­ror­ism, ever.”

    Posted by Vanfield | September 15, 2013, 4:09 pm

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