Presidents of Germany and Israel joined the relatives of the 11 Israeli athletes killed in the attack by Palestinian militants on the 1972 Munich Olympics to mark the 50th anniversary on Monday.
During the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, members of a Palestinian terrorist group stormed the Olympic Village, killing 2 members of the Israeli delegation and taking 9 more hostages.
Monday’s ceremony took place at the Fuerstenfeldbruck airfield outside Munich, the scene of a botched rescue attempt in which nine of the Israeli athletes, a West German police officer, and five of the assailants were killed.
Last week’s agreement headed off a threatened boycott of the anniversary event by relatives of the slain athletes. They will receive a total of 28 million euros (dollars) in compensation, a significant increase from the initial 10 million-euro offer.
As part of the agreement, Germany has agreed to acknowledge failures by authorities at the time and to allow German and Israeli historians to review the events surrounding the attack. Relatives have accused Germany of failing to secure the Olympic Village, refusing Israeli help and then botching the rescue operation.
The day-long drama started unfolding before dawn on Sept. 5, 1972, when eight members of a Palestinian group called Black September clambered over the unguarded fence of the Olympic village.
They burst into the building where the Israeli team was staying, killing wrestling coach Moshe Weinberg and weightlifter Yossi Romano.
Some Israeli athletes managed to escape but nine were seized. The captors demanded the release of more than 200 Palestinians held by Israel and two German left-wing extremists in West German prisons.
The attackers demanded a plane and safe passage to Cairo. After a day of tense negotiations, the assailants and their hostages were allowed to leave aboard two helicopters for Fuerstenfeldbruck.
Sharpshooters at the airfield opened fire. The attackers threw a grenade into one of the helicopters carrying hostages, which exploded, and shot the hostages in the other helicopter.
The compensation settlement includes payments already made. Immediately after the attack, Germany made payments to relatives of the victims amounting to about 4.19 million marks (about 2 million euros or dollars), according to the country’s interior ministry.
In 2002, the surviving relatives received an additional 3 million euros, Germany’s dpa news agency reported.