The 11 Israelis athletes massacred by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich
The 11 Israeli athletes massacred by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich
Photo: Getty Images
Eyal Shapira

Focus on compensation stains legacy of Munich victims, says slain athlete's son

Eyal Shapira says bereaved families' battle for proper compensation is just but has nothing to do with memorial event, which he sees as an opportunity to demand accountability from Germans for the massacre

Amir Peleg |
Published: 08.30.22, 20:12
Eyal Shapira, whose father Amitzur Shapira was one of 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists in the 1972 Munich Olympics, will attend a memorial event in the German city next Monday marking the 50-year anniversary of the massacre.
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  • Shapira will be accompanied by his son Amitzur who never got to know the grandfather he was named after.
    2 View gallery
    איל אייל שפירא בן של עמיצור שפירא נרצח רצח מינכן גרמניה
    איל אייל שפירא בן של עמיצור שפירא נרצח רצח מינכן גרמניה
    Eyal Shapira
    (Photo: Oz Mualem)
    The families of some of the slain athletes have announced they will not attend the memorial until the German government significantly improves its "insulting" $5.5 million compensation offer for the death of their loved ones.
    However, Shapira rejected the boycott since he believes that placing the focus on finance stains the legacy of the victims.
    "Conditioning their participation at the event to increased compensation by the Germans and pushing the financial issue to the forefront of discourse harms the memory and dignity of the murdered," says the son of the late athletics coach.
    "What have the antisemites always accused the Jews of? Greed for money. The battle for proper compensation is just but has nothing to do with the ceremonies organized by the Germans. On the contrary, we must be present at those ceremonies to express our displeasure with the main issue — the German's attempt to absolve themselves of responsibility for the massacre."
    In the early hours of On Sept. 5, 1972, Israeli Olympic team members were taken hostage at the poorly secured athletes' village by Palestinian gunmen from the Black September group.
    Within 24 hours, 11 Israelis, five Palestinian kidnappers, and a German policeman were dead after a standoff and subsequent rescue effort erupted into gunfire.
    2 View gallery
    The 11 Israelis athletes massacred by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich
    The 11 Israelis athletes massacred by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich
    The 11 Israeli athletes massacred by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich
    (Photo: Getty Images)
    The seizure of the hostages, and their subsequent deaths sent shock waves through the world, and caused outrage in Israel. In a decision that was widely criticized, at the time and later, the games were allowed to continue after a brief 34-hour pause.
    "We must demand the opening of protocols to investigate the chain of lapses that led to this bloody disaster and demand they take responsibility, and make the International Olympic Committee issue a clear statement that a masssacre was committed there. Not another vague speech like the one in [the 2020] Tokyo [Olympics]," Shapira added.
    Meanwhile, negotiations with the German government on improved compensation are ongoing "with full force", according to a Dutch law firm that represents the bereaved families.
    "We still hope we can settle the issue before September 5, 2022," said the letter, leaving hope the families would receive and accept a better offer and attend the event next week.
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