Munich Olympics documents: Germans failed to make ‘minimal effort’ to save Israelis

( The Israeli State Archives has released 45 documents pertaining to the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of 11 Israeli team members by Palestinian terrorists to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the killings in early September.

Zvi Zamir, the chief of the Mossad at the time, said in the documents that German police rejected Israel’s offer of assistance and did not “make even a minimal effort” to save Israeli lives or “take even a minimal risk to save people, neither theirs nor ours.” The German’s operation was run “poorly and ineptly, which led to the tragic outcome,” Zamir said.

The documents chronicle the Munich massacre and its immediate aftermath through foreign ministry cables, minutes of cabinet meetings, minutes of meetings of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee from the period, and official correspondence between Israeli and German officials. 

“If there is any tangible manifestation of schizophrenia, it was that night,” then-prime minister Golda Meir described the events of Sept. 5, 1972 in the documents.

Posted on August 29, 2012 .