"Nothing can heal the deep wounds of the 50 years"

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Israeli President Izchak Herzog praised the agreement on compensation for the survivors of the attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games. “It is indeed shameful that it took 50 years for this agreement to be reached in the last few days,” Steinmeier admitted at a press conference with Israeli President Izchak Herzog on his three-day state visit to Germany. However, he is convinced that “this will not remain a case that will in any way burden German-Israeli relations for the present or the future,” said Steinmeier.

Herzog said the understanding allows us to deal with the mistakes and human tragedies and learn from them for the future. Terror “must not be allowed to disturb the idea of the Olympic Games”.

On Monday Steinmeier wants to take part with Herzog at the air base in Fürstenfeldbruck near Munich in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Olympic attack. At that time, Palestinian terrorists had attacked the Israeli team. Eleven members of the team and one police officer were killed, most of them during the failed rescue operation by the police at the Fürstenfeldbruck air base.

After decades of dispute, the federal government had agreed on compensation of 28 million euros with the bereaved shortly before the anniversary. This avoided a scandal – for a long time it was unclear whether the survivors and Herzog would take part in the memorial event.

Steinmeier was “happy and relieved” about the understanding. He is very grateful to Herzog for “always keeping channels open for possible solutions”. “We both welcome the result of the talks,” said the Federal President. But he knows: “Nothing can heal the deep wounds from the 50 years”.

According to the translation of the Presidential Office, Herzog said he thanked Steinmeier “for the unshakeable moral commitment to historical justice”. Ultimately, Steinmeier’s personal commitment made a breakthrough possible. “I appreciate and honor your efforts to help heal this painful event.” In a very personal remark, Herzog said that his wife Michal’s uncle had also been to the games in Munich at the time. The uncle is now 90 years old and only started talking about his experiences this Saturday. “He never told us anything about it,” Herzog said.

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