Bavaria Denies Erring in Destroying Documents on 1972 Munich Massacre

The federal state of Bavaria this week denied any wrongdoing in destroying police documents on the failed rescue attempt of 11 Israeli athletes killed at the 1972 Munich Olympic games.

Relatives of the slain Israelis say there is evidence that nine of the Israelis were killed by bullets fired by German security police, and that files dealing with this matter had been destroyed.

But a spokesman of the Bavarian Justice Ministry said Wednesday the files were destroyed as “a routine matter,” a claim made earlier this week by Bavarian Justice Minister Mathilde Berghofer-Weichner.

According to Berghofer-Weichner, relatives of the murdered athletes recently claimed compensation of 46 million marks, or some $33 million.

High-ranking sources in the Bavarian government said they view the dispute over the documents as a fresh attempt to substantiate these claims for financial compensation.

The claims were made after a secret report was said to have been smuggled to Israel by a German who is sympathetic to Israel.

The Israeli athletes were seized at their apartment complex on Sept. 5, 1972 by Arab terrorists and taken to an airfield in the vicinity of Munich. From there, the Palestinians were promised that they and their hostages would be flown to Cairo.

Instead, West German security police opened fire at the terrorists. In the ensuing exchange of gunfire, all nine hostages, five of the Palestinians and one West German policeman were killed.

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