Germany announced on Tuesday its intention to relaunch the investigation into the killing of 11 Israelis by Palestinian terrorists during the Munich Olympics 1972.
Germany said the archive will be reviewed and studied by Israeli and German historians.
In a meeting held in Tel Aviv between the Israeli families of the victims and German Deputy Interior Minister Juliane Seifert and Deputy Chief of Staff in the President’s Office Dr Oliver Schmolke, the officials said said the investigation would resume after an official apology from Germany.
The reopening of the massacre archives was agreed between the families and the German government following a call for action by Ilana Romano and Anki Schpitzer, whose husbands Yosef and Andrei were killed in the Palestinian massacre.
Both men claimed the German government had failed to deliver justice and refused compensation payments, saying they were nothing more than “charity”.
Following the probe’s relaunch announcement, Romano said “our fight is over.” Schpitzer added: “All the families are delighted that our request to open the archives has finally been answered. We owe it to the victims and to history.
The day-long massacre began before dawn on September 5, 1972, when eight members of a Palestinian group called Black September scaled the unguarded fence of the Olympic Village.
They broke into the building where the Israeli team was located, killing wrestling coach Moshe Weinberg and weightlifter Yossi Romano, and taking nine others hostage. The attackers demanded a plane and safe passage to Cairo. After a day of tense negotiations, the attackers and their hostages are authorized to leave on board two helicopters for Fuerstenfeldbruck.
At the airfield, however, German special forces opened fire on the terrorists, prompting them to throw a grenade into one of the helicopters carrying hostages, which exploded. The hostages from the other helicopter were shot down.
Seifert told Ynet: “Our attitude towards the families is different now, and we think our earlier treatment of them was wrong. We have come to an agreement, acknowledged their pain and want to consider commemorating it. The German President has taken full responsibility for the incident as we want to acknowledge the families’ grief.
Siefert added that Germany intended to form a committee to look into the matter and would now start looking for potential members to chair it.
Schmolke added: “Fifty years after the massacre, it is time to understand what really happened. We want to examine it with a committee of historians to see what happened before, during and after the event. Making things clear is part of Germany’s honor.
The first phase of the initiative includes the opening of the archives, some of whose content is still labeled as classified information. “We want to give the committee access to all the information. To this extent, we have set up a team, with the Ministry of the Interior in charge of this file.
The families’ fight against German authorities included threats to boycott the ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the massacre.
Romano added: “Keeping the memory of the families alive was important to us, as was Germany taking responsibility and apologizing. They helped our fight and I believe the truth will be revealed thanks to them.”
Yael Arad, head of the Israel Olympic Committee, said the closure for families was finally within reach.
“I would like to thank the German government for helping the families. After unveiling a cenotaph in Munich, apologizing and compensating the families, the reopening of the archives and the relaunch of the investigation mark a new stage in the revelation of truth and justice.
. Germany renew investigation into murder of Israelis at Munich