Fuerstenfeldbruck Air Base – In Photos: Munich Olympics Massacre Remembered 40 Years Later In Germany


     Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom (C) addresses a ceremony at the Fuerstenfeldbruck airfiled, near Munich, Germany, 05 September 2012. German and Israeli officials were Wednesday joined by relatives of the victims of the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics for commemoration ceremonies marking the 40th anniversary. The delegation from Israel was led by Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom. Seen in background are portraits of the victims.  EPA/Andreas GebertFuerstenfeldbruck, Germany – Relatives of Israelis slain by Palestinian gunmen during the 1972 Olympics in Munich are marking its 40th anniversary with Israeli and German officials at the air base where most of the 12 victims died.

    German, Israeli and Bavarian flags were lowered to half-staff at the beginning of Wednesday’s ceremony at the Fuerstenfeldbruck air base, outside Munich.

    Relatives of the victims lit candles in their memory. They were joined by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom.

    The attack began on Sept. 5, 1972, when terrorists slipped into the unguarded Olympic Village in Munich, seized the Israeli compound and demanded the release of jailed comrades. By the time the violence ended at Fuerstenfeldbruck the following day, 11 Israelis and one German police officer were dead.

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    11 years ago

    Unfortunately, the lack of security at the Olympic village, by both the Germans and the Israelis, contributed to the carnage. Also, the Germans would not permit the Israelis to take part in any hostage rescue operation. The Germans at that time, were not very well trained vis-a-vis SWAT units, or commando units. They permitted the terrorists to take the hostages to an airfield, where there were not enough trained German snipers. In the confusion, some of the Israeli athletes (based upon autopsies), were actually killed in the crossfire, by the Germans shooting at the terrorists. There were lawsuits filed by the relatives of the victims; those lawsuits dragged through the German courts for over thirty years, until there were monetary settlements made to the families. Since that time, the security at subsequent Olympic games, has been considerably stronger. Afterwards, the Germans started training commando anti-terrorist units. In 1977, when a Lufthansa jet was hijacked to Somalia, the Germans sent such a unit there, killed the terrorists, and freed the passengers.