Israeli families of 1972 Munich Olympics victims demand more compensation

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Photo shows the entrance to the house where eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team were kidnapped and later killed by Palestinian radical group Black September, during the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, in Munich September 5, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

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MUNICH, Aug 12 (Reuters) – The families of Israeli athletes murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics are unhappy with new German compensation offers and plan to boycott a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the attack in protest, a their spokesperson told Reuters on Friday.

An official ceremony is scheduled for September 5 in Munich.

“I don’t want Euros thrown my way. We’re not going to accept this,” Ankie Spitzer, a spokeswoman for the families, told Reuters Television. The amounts under discussion were not disclosed.

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“We are not going to the memorial until Germany takes responsibility, not just with words,” added Spitzer, whose husband was killed in the attack.

A German government spokesman said Berlin regretted the families’ decision not to attend.

On September 5, 1972, members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage in the poorly secured Athletes’ Village by Palestinian gunmen from the Black September group.

Within 24 hours, 11 Israelis, five Palestinians and a German policeman were dead after a standoff and subsequent rescue efforts erupted in gunfire.

“After our loved ones were murdered, I was in the room and I’ll never forget being there,” Spitzer said. “I was only 26 then, 50 years ago, and I looked around and saw total chaos in that room…blood everywhere.”

“We want compensation, which is not a gesture,” she added.

The government spokesman said Berlin had decided to make new payments to the families on top of the compensation already paid. The government, he said, “regrets that it has not yet been possible to reach consensus on this basis with all survivors and stresses its readiness to continue talks.”

The Times of Israel reported that immediately after the massacre, Germany paid the relatives of the victims an amount of approximately 4.19 million marks (about 2 million euros) and that in 2002 the surviving relatives received an additional 3 million euros.

Since the end of the Holocaust and World War II, Berlin has felt a special responsibility towards Israel.

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Writing by Paul Carrel Editing by Ros Russell

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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