Today marks fifty years since the Munich Massacre, where 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the German Olympics 1972.
Israeli and German officials held a ceremony at the Fuerstenfeldbruck Air Base in southern Germany, near Munich.
Speaking German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier acknowledged that Germany must bear some responsibility for the attack.
“Today is a day of sorrow, remembrance and contemplation,” he said, noting that German police officers “catastrophically failed” to protect the Israeli athletes and to rescue them after they were taken hostage by Palestinian terrorists. “That acknowledgement is overdue.”
Steinmeier said that while the Palestinian terrorists are responsible for the murders of the 11 Israeli victims, “that does not absolve us; we bear responsibility for not preventing what we should have prevented.”
Steinmeier added that he is “profoundly grateful that you, the families of the victims, are here today.” He adds that he “cannot fathom what suffering, what pain you have been through.”
Herzog thanked Germany for taking responsibility for failures in 1972 Munich massacre
Herzog said that “as a nation and as a people, this massacre was a national tragedy,” recalling hearing about the events unfolding as a young child.
“The world cannot forget what happened at the 1972 Munich Olympics,” said Herzog. “The world cannot forget the fight against terror anywhere and anytime, it must be a joint effort.”
Herzog thanked German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for his personal involvement in the recent German government decision “to take responsibility” for its failures in the 1972 incident and to compensate the remaining family members of the 11 victims.
The families of the victims recently agreed to Germany’s compensation agreement, granting $28 million to the families of the victims.