Today, the 26th of August, on the 40th anniversary of the openings of Olympic Park I biked with my family there to join the local festivities. Somehow I became a little bit distracted as rather memories of the Black September event than of Olympia 1972 kept coming up.
For many the park is the best what was built there over 100 years and a forgotten vision of the young Federal Republic – according to Christopher Young, in his book “Munich 1972 Olympics in the character of modern Germany.” Or at least back door in a time in which the future was also better – according do the local Comedian Carl Valentin (“Früher war alles besser, sogar die Zukunft”). Alexander Mitscherlich and his wife Frau Margarete Mitscherlich, researchers at the Sigmund Freud Institute in Frankfurt, released 1967 a classic essays of social psychology. On the basis of psychoanalysis and their experience of the Nazi dictatorship, as well as the post-war years under Adenauer they commented on the mental state (“Foundations of collective behavior”) of Germans. Most important was ” the inability to mourn: a German way” is addressed . It seems to be a mass phenomenon how moral behavior is built .
I can hardly believe that it’s been 40 years since the 1972 Munich Olympics. “Where have you been at the time of opening”, asked my wife. “Travelling in Persia or Afghanistan”, I said ” I was student that time and on the road three months that summer. I came back to Munich mid September when everything was over”. When I watched the “attractions” today, nothing reminded on the sad event.
It was 4:30 in the morning on Sept. 5, 1972, when five terrorists climbed the six-foot six-inch fence surrounding the Olympic Village.
These five were met by three more men who are presumed to have obtained credentials to enter the village. The Palestinians then used stolen keys to enter two apartments being used by the Israeli team at 31 Connollystraße. The burly Weinberg knocked one of the intruders unconscious and stabbed another with a fruit knife before being shot to death. Weightlifter and father of three Yossef Romano, 31, also attacked and wounded one of the intruders before being killed. The terrorists then succeeded in rounding up nine Israelis to hold as hostages.
After 40 years, official documents were released. Very recently the Bavarian public broadcasting (BR) reported, that ten hours before the bloody Olympics attack in 1972 in Munich, the Munich police had been warned very specifically. According to the news, a German Federal Office sent a telex with names of five terrorists and pointed out that the Olympic Games were to be attacked. The telex receipt for the warning of the Federal Office (some sort of internal secret service to protect the constitution) supposedly wears the shortcut signature of the then on-duty shift supervisor in the police headquarters of Munich. The police officer was later apparently never heard as witness or officially interrogated. The police shift diary available in the public prosecutor office starts strangely enough 23.50 p.m. – it lacks the page 19 for 7 pm, the time when the telex of constitutional protection office was sent. Already in August 1972 Germany’s Ambassador in Beirut notified his superiors that Palestinians are planning an assassination attempt on the occasion of the Olympic Games. The Foreign Office sent Klaus Kinkel, then Bureau Chief of Interior Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher, the report of the Ambassador with the note, you need to ‘make sure that the matter is known to your Minister and your House and the required action taken’. Four times, authorities were informed of assassination plans, the safety precautions were increased but not significantly. The PLO had significant contacts then with the left terrorists group RAF and between East Germans Minsterium für Staatsicherheit also significant connections to West German terrorists existed. The Spiegel claims the planner of the attacks was assisted by German Neo-Nazi Willi Pohl, according to the 40-year-old German intelligence documents. This Spiegel article fails to mention, however, its own reporting of 1981 and 1985. The group of Willi Pohl had via one of its members, Udo Albrecht, proven contacts to the East German secret service (MvS) and the West German secret service (BND). When PLO terrorist Abu Daud arrived in Munich, Albrechts friend Pohl admitted in an interview, that he escorted him and helped him contact a document-counterfeiting operation. Those rumors, that the right-wing groups were involved which died, not surprisingly, very quickly. The very hesitant reaction of the current officials to all the 1972 cover ups would certainly point more in a longtime shady direction. A lot of those right culprits were actually East German MfS (Stasi) Agents and /or right wing patsys, like the infamous Berlin police men Kürass, who killed a student during a demonstration, which sparked 1968 the West German youth rebellion.
No speech I heard, no mourning at the festivities reminded on those Israelis who lost their life a few hundred meters ago. That is somewhat surprising, since Germans today get the “Kampf gegen Rechts” shoved down their throats by Germans media and well meaning politicians every single day. “The resistance against Hitler is all the stronger the longer the Third Reich is gone”. Soon after the fall of the Berlin wall were everywhere in Berlin cautionary graffiti to see: “No Fourth Reich!” “Germany never again!” A generation that fought the “consumerism” and paid homage to Che Guevara, necessarily wanted to prevent a new power – which I am sure would be managed, if she only knew against whom she should move in the fight. The basis of the current militant anti-fascism is the lack of a fascist movement(although Germany becomes more anti-democratic every day). “Never again dictatorship!” the call should be, but this slogan is not so popular by the institutionalized Antifa than todays inexpensive anti-fascism. For this reason, in 2008 even a Hitlers wax figure had to been assassinated in London. There was, however, no trace of those 11 Jewish heroes or memories of their families, but only usual kids entertainment, sport of course, mostly marketing events of “outdoor” companies in thin disguise.
In 1982 I attended a Rolling Stones concert at Olympic Stadium in Munich, that was the last time I was in the stadion. I passed Connollystraße with the bike many times, however, since I used to live during mid-eighties in the parallel street before I moved to the States. Yes, life had moved on, but that memory was even etched in my mind. It was traumatic for most of us in Munich at that time. Sadly, there is still no closure to this Olympic horror story, as the International Olympic Committee refused even in London to acknowledge this tragedy with a moment of silence during an Opening Ceremony. According to the US Media, Palestinians did thank the IOC for ‘Moment of Silence’ Decision, where words such as ”divisiveness” and “racism” are used to explain the decision.
Why is that strange collective behavior, I thought, do they think the wrong people killed the right people or the right people killed the wrong people, or even worse the right people killed the right people? How sad, no of the officials seemed to care in Munich today to remember their names:
Moshe Weinberg (wrestling coach), Yossef Romano (weightlifter), Ze’ev Friedman (weightlifter), Bavid Berger (weightlifter),Yakov Springer (weightlifting judge), Eliezer Halfin (wrestler) Yossef Gutfreund (wrestling referee), Kehat Shorr (shooting coach), Mark Slavin (wrestler), Andre Spitzer (fencing coach), Amitzur Shapira (track coach) and also some Bavarian police men.
One of the helicopters holding the Israelis was blown up by a terrorist grenade. The remaining nine hostages in the second helicopter were shot to death by one of the surviving terrorists.
Reliving the events that took place in Munich and Fürstenfeldbruck will convince anyone that not allowing a moment of silence to honor the victims is a morally questionable decision – in London as I felt there were forgotten too today in Munich.