On this day: Remembering the devastation of the Munich Massacre

Soon after the massacre began, a Black September spokesman called for the release 234 Palestinian prisoners and West German-held founders of the Red Army Faction, Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof.

By YVETTE J. DEANE
September 5, 2018 09:27
2 minute read.
A member of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September

A member of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September appears on the balcony of the Israeli house at the Munich Olympic village on September 5, 1972. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO)

 
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46 years ago, September 5, 1972 Palestinian terrorist group Black September took hostage and later killed 11 Israelis Olympic athletes and a German police officer during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany.

As the Israeli team member slept, eight members of the terrorist group scaled a fence to to enter the Olympic Village at 4:30 a.m. Clad in tracksuit and carrying duffel bags of weapons, the Black September members entered the two Israeli apartments with stolen keys. 

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Wrestling coach Moshe Weinberg and weightlifter Yossef Romano were killed during an initial struggle.

The intruders captured nine hostages: Yossef Gutfreund, a wrestling referee, sharpshooting coach Kehat Shorr, track and field coach Amitzur Shapira, fencing master Andre Spitzer, weightlifting judge Yakov Springer, wrestlers Eliezer Halfin and Mark Slavin, and weightlifters David Berger and Ze'ev Friedman.

Soon after the massacre began, a Black September spokesman called for the release 234 Palestinian prisoners and West German-held founders of the Red Army Faction, Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof.

For the next 24 hours, there was a tense stand-off between the German police and the eight highly-trained hostage takers. An attempt to storm the building was aborted when the terrorists, who were watching the police's preparations live on television, threatened to kill hostages if the police followed through.

Two more failed attempts followed, as the terrorists demanded a plane to fly out of Germany. In the end, the Black September members were given two helicopters to fly to the Munich airport. German snipers opened fire when the terrorists landed. The shootout killed the nine hostages and five of the terrorists. Three of the terrorists were captured.



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Corbyn on wreath laying for Munich terrorists, August 13, 2018 (Reuters)

Less than two months after the incident, Germany released the remaining three terrorists. This was after terrorists from Black September attacked again. This time they hijacked a German passenger plane.

During the crises, Golda Meir, the prime minister of Israel at the time pleaded with the world to "save our citizens," continuing, "if we [Israel] should give in, then no Israeli anywhere in the world shall feel that his life is safe."

The massacre has gained recently gained coverage because of head of UK’s Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn was seen possibly laying a wreath at the graves of the Black September terrorists.

Daniel Bensadoun contributed to this report.


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