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Germany confirms $28 million settlement with families of Munich massacre victims

Berlin to also acknowledge failures made during terror attack at 1972 Olympics, as part of deal reached with relatives of slain Israelis after initial compensation offer rejected

Weeping relatives of the Munich massacre arrive at the Lod Airport for a memorial service, ahead of the funeral processions at local cemeteries, September 1972. (Government Press Office)
Weeping relatives of the Munich massacre arrive at the Lod Airport for a memorial service, ahead of the funeral processions at local cemeteries, September 1972. (Government Press Office)

BERLIN — The German government confirmed Friday that the families of 11 Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics will receive a total of 28 million euros ($28 million dollars) in compensation.

The figure — which includes payments already made — had previously been reported by German and Israeli media but not officially communicated by the government.

It’s a significant increase from the initial 10 million euro ($10 million) offer to the families ahead of the 50th anniversary of the attack, which will be commemorated on Monday.

As part of an agreement with the families, Germany has agreed to acknowledge failures that authorities made at the time and to allow German and Israeli historians to review the events surrounding the attack.

Members of the Palestinian terror group Black September broke into the Olympic Village, killed two athletes from Israel’s national team and took nine more hostage on September 5, 1972. The attackers hoped to force the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel as well as two left-wing extremists in West German jails.

All nine hostages and a West German police officer died during a rescue attempt by German forces. Relatives of the athletes accuse Germany of failing to secure the Olympic Village, refusing Israeli help and then botching the rescue operation.

Immediately after the attack, Germany made payments to relatives of the victims amounting to about 4.19 million marks (about 2 million euros or dollars), according to the country’s interior ministry. In 2002, the surviving relatives received an additional 3 million euros, Germany’s dpa news agency reported.

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