Germany Reaches Compensation Agreement Over Munich Olympics Massacre

Photo: AP [via The Washington Post]

The Facts

  • Just days before marking the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, family members of the victims on Wed. reached a compensation settlement with the German government.

  • On Sept. 5, 1972, the Palestinian group Black September stormed into the Olympic Village and killed two Israeli athletes while taking another nine as hostages. The group sought to negotiate the release of over 230 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel, as well as the founders of the left-wing militant Baader–Meinhof Group then held in West Germany. All nine hostages and a West German police officer were killed amid a failed rescue attempt.

The Spin

Narrative A

This newly agreed settlement marks a major turning point for victims' families who have had to endure decades of suffering with no admittance of culpability by authorities. Negotiations, and the much larger compensation offered to those affected by the tragedy, reflect a public acknowledgement of security failings that led to the loss of innocent life.

Narrative B

Too much focus on the monetary compensation reached in this deal stains the legacy of the Munich massacre victims. Families were not only negotiating for financial settlement but to ensure the legacy and memory of those murdered. A full investigation must now follow into the lapses that allowed such a tragedy to occur.

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