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During the Olympic Games 1972 in Munich Palestinian terrorists took members of the Israeli team hostage and murdered these sportsmen. The Massacre of Munich was not only relevant for the Olympic history but also had a major influence on German and especially Israeli politics. In the same year prime minister authorized the Operation Wrath of God.






  • Date: 05 Sep 1972
  • Location: Munich, Germany
  • Event: Hostage-taking & murder of 11 Israeli sportsmen by the Palestinian terrorist organisation Black September


Parties & Persons Involved

  • Israeli Olympia Team
  • Black September
  • Olympic Organisation
  • Federal Republic of Germany



  • Palestine conflict:
    • The Palestinians lose their home after they reject the UN two state solution, Israel prevails in two wars (Israeli War of Independence, 1947-1949 & Six Day War, 1967) & the PLO lose the Jordan Civil War (1970)
    • Palestinian organisations like Black September conduct terrorist attacks on Israel & Israeli citizens
  • 1972 Munich Olympics:
    • “The Cheerful games” / “Die heiteren Spiele“
    • Germany wants to present herself as open-minded & peaceful esp. in contrast to “Hitler’s Olympic Games of 1936” & the Nazi period
    • Security of the Olympic Games is very loose



Hostage-Taking & First Murders

  • 04:10 hrs: 8 terrorists of Black September enter the Olympic Village
  • 04:35 hrs: The terrorists enter the Israeli Quarters & take 11 athletes hostage; Mosche Weinberg & Josef Romano are injured
  • 04:52 hrs: Weinberg is murdered while attempting to flee
  • 05:21 hrs: Security & the Olympic Committee are informed
  • 06:30 hrs: Romano dies from his injuries because he is denied medical attention


Negotiations & First Rescue Attempt

  • 06:40 hrs: Negotiations commence – demands of the terrorists:
  • Release of 232 Palestinian prisoners in Israel & the German terrorists Andreas Baader & Ulrike Meinhof & safe conduct to an Arab capital
  • 08:50 hrs: Terrorists set an ultimatum until 12:00 hrs
  • 11:45 hrs: Extension of the ultimatum until 15:00 hrs
  • 11:45 hrs: Walther Tröger (mayor of the Olympic Village), Willi Daume (president of the NOC), Manfred Schreiber (head of Munich police), Bruno Merk (Bavarian minister) & Hans-Dietrich Genscher (German minister) are denied substituting the Israeli hostages
  • 15:25 hrs: Extension of the ultimatum until 17:00 hrs
  • 15:38 hrs: Olympic Games are adjourned
  • 16:45 hrs: An attempt to free the hostages by the Bavarian police fails because the terrorists follow the approach on live television
  • 17:00 hrs: Extension of the ultimatum until 21:00 hrs
  • 18:00 hrs: Terrorists demand to be flown out to Cairo with the hostages


Failed Rescue Operation in Fürstenfeldbruck

  • 22:06 hrs: Transfer of the terrorists & hostages to 2 helicopters outside of the building
  • 22:18 hrs: The 2 helicopters fly to the NATO air field Fürstenfeldbruck
  • 22:29 hrs: The 2 helicopters land at Fürstenfeldbruck, where a Boeing 727 is waiting
  • 22:30 hrs: 2 terrorists inspect the Boeing 727
  • 22:35 hrs: Blackout of the airfield
  • 22:38 hrs: Police switch spotlights on & open fire
  • 22:39 hrs: (uncontrolled firefight between the police & the terrorists
  • 00:00 hrs: Armoured police vehicles arrive
  • 00:10 hrs: Terrorists murder the tied up hostages with grenades & volleys of gunfire
  • 01:20 hrs: End of operations – 5 dead & 3 captured Terroristen


Consequences & Impact

  • Olympic Games:
    • 06 Sep 1972: Memorial ceremony for the murdered athletes
    • Continuation of the Olympic Games: “The games must go on“ (IOC president Brundage)
    • The IOC never commemorates the victims again because it does not want to upset other member states
  • Germany:
    • Release of the 3 surviving terrorists in exchange for the hijacked Lufthansa flight 615 (29 Oct 1972)
    • Non-disclosure of the concerning files (suspicion of a cover-up)
    • Mass expulsion of Arabs suspected of terrorist connection
    • Reform of the security forces, esp. founding of the GSG9 (operational Apr 1973)
  • Arab states & Palestinians:
    • With the exception of Jordan wide spread support for Black September, i.e. a hero’s welcome for the surviving terrorists in Libya
  • Israel:
    • Operation Wrath of God: Assassination of the surviving terrorists & the persons behind the Munich Massacre


The Victims of the Munich Massacre

  • Anton Fliegbauer (German Police)
  • David Berger
  • Ze‘ev Friedman
  • Yossef Gutfreund
  • Eliezer Halfin
  • Yossef Romano
  • Amitzur Shapira
  • Kehat Shorr
  • Mark Slavin
  • Andre Spitzer
  • Yakov Springer
  • Moshe Weinberg