Looking back on the Olympic Massacre 5.9.1972
Olympic games 1972
During the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually murdered by the terrorist group Black September. During the raid the terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches and 1 West German police officer. Five of the eight members of Black September were killed by police officers during a failed rescue attempt. The three surviving terrorists were captured, but later released by West Germany following the hijacking by Black September of a Lufthansa airliner. Israel responded to the massacre with Operation Spring of Youth and Operation Wrath of God, as well as a series of airstrikes and killings of those suspected of planning the kidnappings.
In 1972 eight Palestinian militants belonging to the Black September group broke into a dormitory at the Olympic village where Israeli athletes were sleeping and took them hostage in the early morning of Sept. 5, 1972.
Two of the athletes, a weightlifter and a wrestling coach, tried to overpower the militants, and were shot and killed. The militants ended up with nine hostages, whom they said they would release in exchange for 200 Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel. Israel refused to negotiate and a standoff ensued for 20 hours, while TV was sending images from the spot. The Israeli hostages and their Palestinian captors were eventually transported by helicopters to a military airfield, where they had been promised to be flown to Cairo. Instead, West German sharpshooters tried to rescue the Israelis, setting off a gun battle in which five Palestinians, a German police officer and the nine hostages were killed.
The absence of armed security guards had worried Israeli delegation head Shmuel Lalkin even before his team arrived in Munich. In later interviews with journalists Serge Groussard and Aaron Klein, Lalkin said that he had also expressed concern with the relevant authorities about his team’s lodgings. They were housed in a relatively isolated part of the Olympic Village, in a small building close to a gate, which he felt made his team particularly vulnerable to an outside assault. The German authorities apparently assured Lalkin that extra security would be provided to look after the Israeli team, but Lalkin doubts that these additional measures were ever taken. A West German forensic psychologist, Dr. Georg Sieber, had been asked by Olympic security experts to come up with 26 “worst-case” scenarios to aid them in planning Olympic security. His Situation 21 predicted with almost eerie accuracy the events of 5 September, but it was dismissed by the security specialists as preposterous.