Germany mulls compensation for bereaved from 1972 Munich Olympics

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Germany mulls compensation for bereaved from 1972 Munich Olympics

The German government announced plans on Wednesday to offer compensation to the families of the victims of the 1972 Olympics Munich Massacre.

A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry confirmed media reports that had suggested such an offer was in the works, adding that talks are being conducted in private with representatives of the victims' families.

The "serious consequences for the bereaved, both in an immaterial and in a material sense," are being reconsidered, the spokesperson said.

In addition to compensation payments, the Interior Ministry announced it would form a commission of German and Israeli historians to examine and re-evaluate the events of 1972.

The 50-year anniversary of the massacre, in which a Palestinian terrorist group killed 10 Israeli athletes and coaches as well as one German police officer, is coming up on September 5.

The German government made payments to the victims of 4.19 million marks (roughly $2 million) shortly after the attack.

A further €3 million ($3 million) was paid to the bereaved in 2002 as a humanitarian gesture given Germany's special relationship with Israel, the government said at the time.

However, victims' families had unsuccessfully sued the German government for a much higher sum in 1994, citing huge mistakes by the police.

A representative for the bereaved, Ankie Spitzer, declined an invitation to a remembrance event on Tuesday, prompting Bavaria's anti-Semitism authority, Ludwig Spaenle, to call the event off.

Spitzer told dpa that "the German government offered us … a totally unacceptable and insulting amount as final compensation."

She also criticized the proposals for a re-evaluation of the attack, saying that "the so-called 'political evaluation' of the attack doesn’t have to be made during the memorial ceremonies," especially since Germany has already had 50 years in which to do so.

Spaenle told dpa that it was the German government's duty to accept responsibility for its failings in the event and compensate survivors and victims' families appropriately.

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