Olympic Massacre: One Day In September Storyville


Olympic Massacre: One Day In September

Oscar-winning documentary recounting the kidnapping of 12 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.


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Transcript


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This programme contains some scenes which some viewers may find upsetting.

0:00:020:00:09

CHORAL SINGING

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Guten Morgen und guten Appetit.

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-FILM SOUNDTRACK:

-'A morning like any other in Munich.

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'A city where tradition and modernity exist side by side.

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'This summer, our beautiful city is host to the 20th Olympic Games.

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'In the centre of the Olympic site is the Olympic tower, next to it the Olympic arena.

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'For many visitors, Munich is a kind of German paradise. We're sure that you'll agree.'

0:01:010:01:08

MAN: Well, nobody could foresee what later on happened.

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VOICES FADE IN AND OUT:

0:01:170:01:20

Good afternoon. Another deadline has come and gone...

0:01:200:01:25

They had their hands tied in front of them, like that...

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It wasn't any James Bond, it was the real thing...

0:01:290:01:33

I just want to know what happened...

0:01:330:01:36

The deadline appears to be less than a minute away...

0:01:360:01:41

It was feared an attempt might be made to seize him...

0:01:410:01:45

An Arab guerrilla with some kind of weapon...

0:01:450:01:49

MACHINE GUN SHOTS

0:01:520:01:54

It was a year and three months that I was married to Andre Spitzer.

0:02:140:02:19

But it made such an enormous impression on me, sometimes it looks like a lifetime.

0:02:190:02:25

I went fencing and he happened to be my fencing master.

0:02:270:02:31

I didn't know he was from Israel.

0:02:310:02:34

He spoke Dutch with a slight accent. I thought maybe he was from Eastern Europe.

0:02:340:02:40

Something about him really appealed to me.

0:02:400:02:44

He was very much at peace with himself

0:02:440:02:49

and also with the people around him.

0:02:490:02:51

That affected me because I was not so at peace - certainly not with myself.

0:02:510:02:58

Being the person he was, it was hard not to fall in love with him.

0:02:590:03:05

MAN SPEAKS IN ARABIC

0:03:230:03:25

I joined the revolution since 1967.

0:04:290:04:33

-Which revolution?

-The Palestinian new revolution.

0:04:330:04:36

We lived on the border between Lebanon and Israel.

0:04:550:05:00

It was way out in nowhere.

0:05:000:05:02

They decided to have their fencing academy there.

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He was going from town to town, to village to village, to try to teach youngsters -

0:05:080:05:14

through fencing - to have respect for each other.

0:05:140:05:18

Fencing is an aggressive sport. You have a weapon, you attack.

0:05:180:05:23

If you attack someone right, you score a point.

0:05:230:05:27

He tried to teach the youngsters how to channel that aggression into respect for your opponent.

0:05:270:05:35

It was very tough living there, but I remember that year

0:05:400:05:44

as the most beautiful and wonderful year of my life.

0:05:440:05:48

He dreamt always to be once at the Olympics.

0:07:040:07:08

Years before I knew him he said he was thinking to get to the Olympics once.

0:07:080:07:15

For athletes it's the climax of your career.

0:07:150:07:19

For Andre and the rest of the Israeli team,

0:07:200:07:24

the 1972 Olympics held a particular significance.

0:07:240:07:29

They were held in Munich, Germany, the birthplace of Nazism.

0:07:290:07:33

There was a feeling that this was a huge event for the Israeli team - to be attending.

0:07:350:07:41

Their presence in the Olympic village, and in the opening ceremony,

0:07:410:07:46

when they marched under the Star of David, were very emotional moments.

0:07:460:07:51

The Germans saw the Games as a way to erase the negative memories

0:08:100:08:14

many still had of the 1936 Berlin Olympics,

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which had been misused by the Nazis for propaganda.

0:08:180:08:23

27 years after the end of the war, Munich was the ideal opportunity

0:08:350:08:41

to show the world the new, democratic face of Germany.

0:08:410:08:46

# Express yourself

0:08:520:08:55

# Express yourself

0:08:590:09:01

# You don't never be in hell

0:09:040:09:06

# From nobody else

0:09:060:09:09

# All you've got to do now

0:09:090:09:12

# Express yourself... #

0:09:140:09:16

The friendliness was in overdrive.

0:09:190:09:22

It was a massive attempt

0:09:220:09:25

to appear open, modern and shorn of their past.

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To help promote this new, non-militaristic image of Germany,

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security was kept deliberately lax.

0:09:370:09:40

Police were banned from Olympic sites.

0:09:400:09:43

In their place were 2,000 unarmed security officers, clad in specially-designed outfits.

0:09:430:09:50

But for some of the Israeli team, it wasn't so easy to erase the past.

0:09:500:09:55

My father...

0:09:570:09:59

was five times at the Olympic Games. Five times. It's very special.

0:09:590:10:05

He was born in Poland in 1921.

0:10:080:10:12

His father was from Germany,

0:10:120:10:15

and thought because they spoke German nothing would happen to them.

0:10:150:10:20

So all the family stayed in Poland during the war.

0:10:200:10:26

But my father went to Russia. He was afraid something would happen to them.

0:10:260:10:32

All the family - all his brothers and sisters and parents -

0:10:320:10:37

were killed in Poland. He was the only one who survived.

0:10:370:10:42

-NEWS REPORTER:

-'36 years after the Nazi Olympics, Dachau was chosen for a memorial service.

0:10:550:11:02

'The Israelis came to the service, along with competitors from most European countries.

0:11:070:11:13

'Dachau is six miles from the Munich stadium.'

0:11:130:11:17

I think it was very difficult for him - the memories.

0:11:210:11:26

..Of his family and what the Germans did to them.

0:11:260:11:30

I think he felt this.

0:11:300:11:33

But maybe it was also for him to...

0:11:340:11:37

..to show something to the Germans.

0:11:380:11:40

Here I am, coming back - to the Olympic Games.

0:11:400:11:44

And you... You couldn't really destroy me.

0:11:440:11:49

COMMENTATOR: 'Mark Spitz has got about a half-a-metre lead.

0:12:310:12:36

'And Spitz wins the gold medal!'

0:12:360:12:39

'That's the whistle anyway. The USA keep their unbeaten record.

0:13:030:13:08

'The referee says there's three more seconds to play.

0:13:080:13:13

'The only way they can score is by going for a long shot. They got it!

0:13:130:13:18

'My goodness! I don't believe it! I do not believe it!

0:13:180:13:23

'The Russians get the gold. Victory for the USSR for the first time.'

0:13:230:13:28

'Absolutely fantastic! She loves every moment of it!'

0:13:340:13:38

-ANKIE:

-After one competition, he said, "There's the Lebanese team. I'm going to say hello."

0:15:070:15:14

I said, "Are you out of your mind?

0:15:140:15:17

"They're from Lebanon!" Israel was at war with Lebanon.

0:15:170:15:21

He said, "That's what the Olympics are about. Here I can talk to them. That's what the Olympics are."

0:15:210:15:28

He went over and asked, "How were your results?" and "How did it go?"

0:15:280:15:34

To my big amazement, I saw that the people responded,

0:15:340:15:39

shook hands with him and talked to him.

0:15:390:15:42

They asked him about his results.

0:15:420:15:45

I will never forget,

0:15:450:15:47

he turned around with a huge smile on his face

0:15:470:15:50

and said, "You see? This is what I dreamt about."

0:15:500:15:54

After ten days, Andre's fencers finished their competitions.

0:15:580:16:03

He and Ankie went to Holland to spend time with their baby,

0:16:030:16:07

whom they'd left with Ankie's parents.

0:16:070:16:11

So the next morning, at ten o'clock, he had to take the train to Munich.

0:16:160:16:22

He woke up a little late.

0:16:220:16:24

We got to the station, the train had left.

0:16:240:16:28

I thought, "He'll get in trouble. They're waiting in Munich for him."

0:16:280:16:33

He said, "Oh, well, another day with you."

0:16:330:16:36

I said, "Let's try the other train station." About 30 miles onwards.

0:16:360:16:43

So we raced to the next station. In Eindhoven he jumped on the train.

0:16:430:16:48

The train was already in the station.

0:16:480:16:51

I remember running by the train,

0:16:510:16:54

and he left. That was the last time I saw him.

0:16:540:16:59

On the night of September 4, as Andre arrived back at the village,

0:17:050:17:10

the Israeli delegation was enjoying a night out, watching Fiddler On The Roof.

0:17:100:17:17

They returned to the village at midnight.

0:17:170:17:20

With the help of members of the East German team,

0:19:340:19:38

the terrorist leaders had studied the Olympic village

0:19:380:19:42

prior to the attack.

0:19:420:19:43

They headed for the Israeli men's quarters.

0:19:430:19:47

The Israelis were in five apartments.

0:20:170:20:20

Apartment 1 housed the team coaches. The terrorists went there first.

0:20:200:20:25

As they broke in, wrestling coach Moshe Weinberg tried to stop them.

0:20:290:20:35

He was shot and wounded.

0:20:350:20:37

In Apartment 5, the Israeli team leader was awakened.

0:21:000:21:05

We heard a shot. I didn't see anyone.

0:21:050:21:08

I went back to bed.

0:21:080:21:11

The terrorists demanded that Weinberg

0:21:110:21:14

show them where the others were.

0:21:140:21:17

He led them past Apartment 2, which housed the field athletes,

0:21:170:21:22

to Apartment 3, which contained weightlifters and wrestlers.

0:21:220:21:27

He thought they might have a chance of overpowering the terrorists.

0:21:270:21:32

The terrorists are already holding all five of Zubari's roommates.

0:21:470:21:52

One of them, weightlifter David Berger, suggests they attack the terrorists,

0:21:520:21:58

saying, "We have nothing to lose."

0:21:580:22:00

But a gunman understands and jabs a machine gun into Zubari's waist,

0:22:000:22:05

ordering him back to Apartment 1.

0:22:050:22:08

As Gad Zubari ran away, the already wounded Weinberg

0:23:080:23:12

jumped on the terrorists. He was shot and killed.

0:23:120:23:16

I heard some other shots.

0:23:250:23:28

I walked again to the window, and there I was looking again.

0:23:280:23:33

Then I realised that Moshe Weinberg

0:23:330:23:35

had been thrown out of the door to the pavement.

0:23:350:23:40

He was naked, without anything on him. I saw that he was dead -

0:23:400:23:45

blood was pooled around him.

0:23:450:23:49

This is when I thought we were attacked by somebody.

0:23:490:23:53

This is ABC!

0:24:280:24:30

I'm speaking to you live from ABC headquarters,

0:24:300:24:34

Munich, West Germany. The Olympics of Serenity

0:24:340:24:39

have become the Olympics of Terror.

0:24:390:24:42

I had a call from the leader

0:24:440:24:47

at six o'clock.

0:24:470:24:51

He said they were there and one Israeli was killed.

0:24:510:24:55

His name is Moshe Weinberg.

0:24:550:24:58

I saw his body carried out into an ambulance.

0:24:580:25:01

That body was smashed.

0:25:050:25:07

It means it was killed by machine gun

0:25:070:25:11

not by a regular gun.

0:25:110:25:13

I was sleeping.

0:25:170:25:19

My parents woke me up, saying,

0:25:190:25:22

"We just heard there was an attack on the Israeli Olympic quarters.

0:25:220:25:28

"They killed the boxing coach." I knew there was no boxing coach.

0:25:280:25:33

I thought, "If it's not the boxing coach, what coach is it? Maybe it's Andre."

0:25:330:25:39

-How many Israelis are they holding?

-Around 16, 17.

0:25:470:25:52

..13 members of the Israeli team as hostages.

0:25:520:25:55

Nobody could tell me if Andre was part of this,

0:26:000:26:04

if he was one of the hostages, if he escaped. Nobody knew.

0:26:040:26:09

The terrorists handed a communique to the police.

0:26:460:26:51

They demanded the release of over 200 revolutionary prisoners.

0:26:510:26:57

If this was not done by 12 noon, the hostages would be executed.

0:26:570:27:03

And you have until 12 o'clock?

0:27:100:27:12

They said at 12 they will shoot.

0:27:120:27:14

I certainly took it seriously. I was at gunpoint.

0:27:160:27:20

There were always two or three machine guns pointed at me.

0:27:200:27:25

The leader had a hand grenade in his hand.

0:27:250:27:29

When he was discussing with me, he always had that grenade.

0:27:290:27:35

The negotiators knew nothing about the terrorists except what they saw.

0:27:400:27:46

Three were visible at any one time - leader Issa, his face blackened,

0:27:460:27:51

Tony, wearing a cowboy hat,

0:27:510:27:55

and another man guarding the balcony door.

0:27:550:28:00

Issa told the negotiators

0:28:000:28:02

that a second Israeli had been shot and killed

0:28:020:28:06

trying to overpower them.

0:28:060:28:08

But the terrorists' leader refused to identify the dead man

0:28:080:28:12

or let his body be removed until all the prisoners had been released.

0:28:120:28:18

My camera crew and I ended up, for all of that long day,

0:28:180:28:23

looking down into this little walkway - very quiet.

0:28:230:28:29

You were looking down into the cockpit of world events.

0:28:290:28:34

We opened up the radios and TV stations to get some information.

0:28:380:28:43

Then at nine o'clock in the morning

0:28:430:28:46

I found out Andre is one of the hostages.

0:28:460:28:49

Joseph Romano, 31 years old, is an Israeli middleweight weightlifter.

0:28:490:28:55

David Berger, 26, is in the light heavyweight class.

0:28:550:28:59

Ze'ev Friedman, also 26, a bantamweight weightlifter.

0:28:590:29:04

These strong men, helpless at the point of sub-machine guns.

0:29:040:29:08

Eliezer Halfin, 24, a freestyle wrestler, is in that room.

0:29:080:29:13

Mark Slavin is 18, a record-holding wrestler.

0:29:130:29:16

The others are Yosef Gottfeund, Jacov Springer, Andre Spitzer,

0:29:160:29:20

Kehat Shorr and Amitzuer Shapira.

0:29:200:29:23

In Israel, the population awoke to the shocking news.

0:29:320:29:37

The Israeli Government made it clear that, in line with their policy,

0:29:390:29:44

no deals would be struck with the terrorists.

0:29:440:29:47

If we should give in,

0:29:470:29:50

no Israeli anywhere in the world

0:29:500:29:53

can feel that his life is safe.

0:29:530:29:56

It's blackmail of the worst kind.

0:29:560:30:00

At this time, I was aide-de-camp of Minister Genscher.

0:30:120:30:16

The minister was shocked, of course.

0:30:160:30:20

He wanted to see the Minister of Interior of Bavaria.

0:30:200:30:27

They talked to each other and they decided to go to the Olympic village.

0:30:270:30:32

GERALD SEYMOUR: In terms of the politicians and the VIPs who came,

0:30:320:30:37

they looked as if they held none of the cards,

0:30:370:30:41

did not understand how to respond or understand the mind-set of the people they were dealing with.

0:30:410:30:49

The Palestinians that one saw -

0:30:520:30:55

there was the feeling that they were in charge and they were dictating.

0:30:550:31:01

Peter Jennings is inside the village. Peter?

0:32:050:32:10

Jim, I am almost directly over the Israeli building.

0:32:100:32:15

It will be a famous number before long.

0:32:150:32:18

It's building 31. It's on Connollystrasse.

0:32:180:32:22

It appears to be confirmed, though anything confirmed is difficult,

0:32:220:32:28

that these guerrillas are from a very extreme left-wing group called Black September.

0:32:280:32:35

Continuous delegations go forward.

0:32:390:32:42

People here waiting, but the mood becoming more tense.

0:32:420:32:47

They have set a deadline of noon - that's an hour and 15 minutes away -

0:32:470:32:52

saying that they were going to kill all of their hostages at that time.

0:32:520:32:57

There were other people involved. A friend of mine was a member of the Arab Council,

0:33:010:33:07

and he also came to negotiate.

0:33:070:33:11

Israel was adamant that no deal could be struck with the terrorists.

0:33:530:33:58

To buy time, the negotiators told Issa

0:33:580:34:01

that they were still awaiting a definitive answer from Jerusalem.

0:34:010:34:06

They begged him to postpone his deadline.

0:34:060:34:09

Issa responded with a new threat.

0:34:090:34:12

One Israeli would be shot publicly

0:34:120:34:15

every hour that their demands remained unmet.

0:34:150:34:18

We were, I think, a little bit naive. Also the minister.

0:34:180:34:22

The German Government, then, thought they could negotiate with terrorists.

0:34:250:34:31

They were thinking that they could convince them to let the Israelis go.

0:34:310:34:37

But there was no way.

0:34:370:34:40

So, the time to get close to noon and to think,

0:34:530:34:58

"It's almost noon. Are they going to kill him now?" -

0:34:580:35:02

it was like dying a little bit.

0:35:020:35:04

Seconds before the deadly ultimatum was reached,

0:35:090:35:12

the negotiators persuaded Issa to agree to an extension.

0:35:120:35:17

A new deadline was set at 5.00pm.

0:35:170:35:20

-TV PRESENTER:

-The deadline now is five o'clock Munich time.

0:35:200:35:25

It is 1.25 here in Munich - three and a half hours to the deadline.

0:35:250:35:30

The Israeli Olympic Committee has now named the second dead man

0:35:370:35:42

as Joseph Romano, a 31-year-old middleweight weightlifter.

0:35:420:35:47

A lot of people I meet in the street or at work,

0:36:110:36:16

when they hear about me being the daughter of Joseph Romano...

0:36:160:36:21

..they say, "Oh, you know, when I was little I admired your father.

0:36:240:36:30

"He was like this and like that."

0:36:300:36:33

All the time, I hear new stories and new things

0:36:330:36:37

about my father.

0:36:370:36:39

And that's how I know him.

0:36:390:36:42

Of course, not enough,

0:36:420:36:45

like I can't imagine his voice.

0:36:450:36:49

I can't imagine him... calling my name.

0:36:520:36:56

They let Joseph Romano bleed to death between all his friends,

0:37:280:37:33

as a warning that if anybody tried to grab a Palestinian's weapon,

0:37:330:37:38

this would be their lot.

0:37:380:37:40

Nobody has the right to do that.

0:37:400:37:43

In a way... I didn't like Issa, of course, because of what he was doing.

0:37:500:37:55

But I could have liked him when I met him elsewhere.

0:37:550:37:59

He was not violent.

0:37:590:38:02

I would have even trusted him in his word.

0:38:020:38:06

Not his compatriots. They were like "Galgenvogel" - gallow birds.

0:38:060:38:12

But Issa was different from them.

0:38:120:38:15

We were not only negotiating on how to handle this.

0:38:180:38:23

We were also going into the grounds of the whole thing.

0:38:230:38:28

I said, "Why are you doing it?"

0:38:280:38:31

He said, "We are sorry for you, but you offered us a showcase.

0:38:310:38:36

"And we have to use this to show our possibility

0:38:360:38:40

"to so many millions of people in the world

0:38:400:38:44

"who are watching your Olympic Games."

0:38:440:38:48

RADIO: ..Five Palestinian terrorists are holding nine Israelis hostage.

0:38:480:38:54

TV: Mark Spitz, the American swimming star

0:38:540:38:57

who won seven gold medals, was placed under heavy guard

0:38:570:39:01

shortly after the drama unfurled.

0:39:010:39:04

Within hours, Spitz was hustled out of Germany.

0:39:040:39:07

Spitz is a Jew, and it was feared an attempt might be made to seize him.

0:39:070:39:13

Demonstrations sprang up around the world.

0:39:130:39:16

There was outrage that the Olympic ideal of peace and brotherhood

0:39:160:39:21

had been so shamelessly destroyed.

0:39:210:39:24

But there was also a growing sense of anger

0:39:250:39:29

at the International Olympic Committee

0:39:290:39:32

for refusing to halt the Games in the light of what had happened.

0:39:320:39:37

The Olympic Committee, at that time, was very arrogant - very arrogant.

0:39:370:39:43

They felt they had nothing to do with it.

0:39:430:39:46

The head of the Olympic committee has announced that,

0:39:460:39:51

as of this hour, the Games of the 20th Olympiad will continue.

0:39:510:39:56

MUSIC: "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin

0:39:560:40:01

# Aaaah

0:40:040:40:08

# Aaaah

0:40:080:40:12

# We come from the land of the ice and snow

0:40:120:40:14

# From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow

0:40:140:40:18

# The hammer of the gods Will drive our ships to new lands

0:40:180:40:25

# To fight the horde

0:40:250:40:27

# Singing and crying

0:40:270:40:30

# "Valhalla, I am coming!"

0:40:300:40:36

# On we sweep with threshing oar

0:40:380:40:42

# Our only goal will be the western shore

0:40:420:40:47

# Aaaah

0:40:510:40:55

# Aaaah... #

0:40:550:40:58

APPLAUSE AND CHEERING DROWNS SONG

0:40:580:41:03

# ..fields so green

0:41:050:41:09

# Can whisper tales of gore

0:41:090:41:12

# Of how we calmed the tides of war

0:41:120:41:17

# We are your overlords. #

0:41:170:41:22

-TV PRESENTER:

-This is a live shot you're looking at right now.

0:41:460:41:51

We're moving in now on the windows,

0:41:510:41:54

behind which eight or nine terrified living human beings are being held prisoner.

0:41:540:42:01

The demands have been many. There is someone right now.

0:42:010:42:05

That has to be one of the guerillas.

0:42:050:42:08

One of them is believed to be a woman.

0:42:080:42:11

This has happened time and time again - the head coming out.

0:42:110:42:16

Within 200 yards of that building,

0:42:160:42:20

there's a kind of a man-made pond,

0:42:200:42:23

where the athletes lie in the sun, and that's what they're doing now.

0:42:230:42:28

They're sunning themselves, swimming, talking with others,

0:42:280:42:33

and yet this grim, terrible thing is taking place inside the village.

0:42:330:42:37

There were people running round the training track.

0:42:370:42:41

I thought, "OK, you've trained for four years." But it seemed wrong.

0:42:410:42:46

There was something selfish, slightly obscene about the atmosphere there.

0:42:460:42:53

The Germans decided that the time had come

0:44:000:44:04

for them to take the initiative.

0:44:040:44:07

Food was brought in with the hope that the hostages would be fed,

0:44:070:44:11

and in such large quantities that that no man could carry it alone.

0:44:110:44:16

The police hoped that guerrillas would come out and be overpowered

0:44:160:44:21

and that the two chefs could gain access and count the Arabs inside.

0:44:210:44:26

It was the police commissioner and myself

0:44:260:44:30

with two policemen clad as chefs.

0:44:300:44:33

But the idea was not to poison the food, but that someone of us

0:44:330:44:38

could enter the room, because nobody knew the number of the terrorists.

0:44:380:44:44

The deception had no effect.

0:44:440:44:47

The negotiators told the Israeli ambassador that the plan had failed.

0:44:470:44:52

The ambassador repeated again that no deal would be made.

0:44:520:44:56

The Israeli ambassador was watching, together with me, what was going on,

0:44:570:45:02

and he was not very happy about this.

0:45:020:45:05

He asked for a phone and he phoned the prime minister in Israel.

0:45:050:45:10

The Israelis wanted to send a team.

0:45:100:45:14

That was rejected by the German Government, of course.

0:45:140:45:19

NEW SPEAKER: The Prime Minister had a long talk with Kanzler Brandt.

0:45:210:45:26

I remember her report saying that he refused that any Israeli team

0:45:260:45:33

would come to Germany to do the action.

0:45:330:45:37

And...

0:45:370:45:39

the general feeling was that if the German Army

0:45:390:45:44

would take it upon itself,

0:45:440:45:49

then they are capable of doing it well in Germany

0:45:490:45:53

and there was no necessity to send the Israeli team.

0:45:530:45:58

At the time, the head of the Mossad...

0:45:580:46:01

and Moshe Dayan spoke with the Prime Minister

0:46:010:46:06

and they insisted that I should go to be present to see

0:46:060:46:12

how the Germans do this operation.

0:46:120:46:15

Zvi Zamir immediately flew to Munich, arriving early that evening.

0:46:150:46:21

Almost 11 hours after the start of the crisis,

0:46:260:46:32

the Olympic committee bowed to pressure and suspended the Games.

0:46:320:46:37

A few competitions will finish, then the Games will be suspended.

0:46:370:46:43

At 10am tomorrow in the Olympic stadium,

0:46:430:46:46

there will be a memorial service for the two dead men.

0:46:460:46:50

The Olympic Games are reduced to utter silence,

0:47:220:47:26

and one tantalising head poking out of a door.

0:47:260:47:30

Something has to happen.

0:47:300:47:33

It was kind of

0:47:550:47:58

a bizarre, surreal situation

0:47:580:48:02

in which we journalists surrounded the event with every possible camera.

0:48:020:48:07

Endless cameras around the village.

0:48:070:48:10

It was a great story

0:48:120:48:15

to many TV stations and media round the world.

0:48:150:48:19

In the Olympics, such an event.

0:48:190:48:23

Perhaps some of the stations took a very cynical approach to it,

0:48:230:48:28

saying "What an audience we'll get now."

0:48:280:48:32

On a lovely late summer afternoon, the tense vigil continues.

0:48:320:48:37

In just half an hour,

0:48:370:48:40

the deadline will have expired.

0:48:400:48:43

Late in the afternoon, I suddenly saw that the window of the hostages' apartment was open.

0:49:010:49:08

I saw Andre in front of the window.

0:49:080:49:11

They asked him, "Is everybody OK there? What is the situation?"

0:49:110:49:16

Andre said everybody was OK, except for one.

0:49:160:49:21

When the Germans asked who was the one and what had happened to him,

0:49:210:49:25

he was not allowed to say that and got hit by the butt of one of the Palestinians' rifles.

0:49:250:49:31

He was pushed away and they closed the curtains.

0:49:310:49:35

That was the last time that I saw him.

0:49:350:49:40

After that, Mr Genscher said

0:49:450:49:47

he wished to have a direct discussion with the Israeli hostages.

0:49:470:49:53

Mr Schreiber said he wished to accompany him.

0:49:530:49:57

They said, "No, you are policeman."

0:49:570:50:00

I said, "All right, then it's me." So we went up there

0:50:000:50:03

and it was a terrible impression, I must say.

0:50:030:50:08

One was bound to a chair, the others were on the two sides tied together.

0:50:110:50:18

The one who was killed was lying there and the wall was full of blood.

0:50:180:50:24

Then we had a discussion.

0:50:380:50:40

And the discussion was

0:50:400:50:43

absolutely covered by the...

0:50:430:50:46

..um...

0:50:480:50:50

..very depressed mood of the hostages.

0:50:520:50:56

They feared two things.

0:51:010:51:04

They feared a possible storm,

0:51:040:51:06

because they knew they could be killed if the police stormed in.

0:51:060:51:11

They feared the terrorists, to be in their power

0:51:110:51:16

with an uncertain fate,

0:51:160:51:18

an uncertain future.

0:51:180:51:21

They wished to come to a conclusion which might save their lives,

0:51:210:51:26

but they were not very hopeful.

0:51:260:51:29

One report attributed to Will Grimsley of the Associated Press

0:51:550:51:59

says a police lieutenant told him that at five o'clock Munich time

0:51:590:52:04

a volunteer squad of police would storm the Israeli team headquarters

0:52:040:52:09

and would come in shooting.

0:52:090:52:13

These are the volunteer squad of 38 West German border guards.

0:52:130:52:18

Due to complicated laws, the German Army aren't allowed to participate.

0:52:180:52:24

That policeman dressed as an athlete is holding a machine gun.

0:52:240:52:29

The commissioner of the police, Mr Schreiber, selected some policemen.

0:52:290:52:35

He asked them, "Have you ever shot a gun?"

0:52:350:52:40

And that was it. They had no training, nothing.

0:52:400:52:44

Jim, there are now a great many

0:52:520:52:55

of those security men in athletic uniforms

0:52:550:52:59

moving in various directions.

0:52:590:53:02

I don't want to instigate any false drama,

0:53:020:53:06

but it looks like the start of a deployment.

0:53:060:53:09

Walking cautiously on the roof,

0:53:510:53:54

hopefully not being heard in the rooms below.

0:53:540:53:58

You see how close these two men are.

0:54:120:54:15

They couldn't be 20 feet...

0:54:150:54:19

He gets down on his hands and knees.

0:54:220:54:25

That's to get a better look up.

0:54:250:54:27

Outside our studio here and around the Olympic village,

0:54:390:54:44

a crowd of 75-80,000 has gathered, awaiting the outcome of this.

0:54:440:54:48

This building swarming with Germans trying to rescue the Israelis.

0:54:530:54:58

The deadline appears to us to be less than one minute away.

0:55:000:55:05

Anything to report, Peter?

0:55:050:55:07

The commando looks very much more nervous now.

0:55:070:55:11

He has an apprehensive, darting-about look,

0:55:110:55:15

almost as though they sense something is imminent.

0:55:150:55:19

Once again there's a delegation under the building.

0:55:240:55:29

The Arab guard, not on the window but on the balcony below him

0:55:290:55:34

is negotiating with them.

0:55:340:55:36

We've gotten an official time check. It's 5pm. This is the deadline.

0:55:430:55:48

The storming could happen at any moment.

0:55:480:55:51

If you'd told me that the Germans did not have a trained storm squad,

0:56:420:56:47

I would have disbelieved you.

0:56:470:56:51

Everybody in 1972 was totally transfixed

0:56:510:56:55

by a myth of utter German ruthless efficiency.

0:56:550:56:59

14 minutes to six, Munich time.

0:57:120:57:15

The terrorists were getting nervous. They knew time was against them.

0:57:170:57:23

And they certainly knew, or guessed, that running out of time

0:57:230:57:29

was an attempt by our side

0:57:290:57:31

to get better prepared for a final decision.

0:57:310:57:35

At 6pm, the Palestinians issued a new demand.

0:57:590:58:03

They wanted a long-distance jet

0:58:030:58:05

to fly them and their hostages to an unspecified Arab country.

0:58:050:58:10

The German Government and the organising committee decided we weren't allowed

0:58:100:58:17

to let foreigners bring out guests of our country to the Olympic Games.

0:58:170:58:22

We decided to make the terrorists believe that we'd let them fly out,

0:58:220:58:27

but try everything to then kill them or bring them into prison

0:58:270:58:34

before they could leave the country.

0:58:340:58:37

To move the thing from the Olympic compound

0:59:160:59:21

in order to let the Games carry on. This was their main objective.

0:59:210:59:27

The Israeli team and its rescue was secondary to that.

0:59:280:59:34

The staff group decided to bring them to the public airport of Munich.

0:59:410:59:47

I said, "Listen, that's crazy. You have another private airport."

0:59:470:59:52

So I proposed to make Furstenfeldbruck the target.

0:59:520:59:57

The police plan revolved around a decoy Boeing 727,

1:00:101:00:14

which was to be left on the runway, its engine idling.

1:00:141:00:18

On board would be policemen disguised as flight crew

1:00:181:00:22

The Palestinians and Israelis would arrive by helicopter.

1:00:221:00:26

When Issa inspected the plane, the crew would overcome him.

1:00:261:00:30

Five snipers on the tower and around the airfield

1:00:301:00:34

would fire on the remaining terrorists.

1:00:341:00:38

Vehicles would rush in to get the hostages.

1:00:381:00:41

The police still believed there would be a total of four to five terrorists.

1:00:411:00:48

This is Peter Jennings in the Olympic Village.

1:01:321:01:36

The village is built on various levels.

1:01:361:01:39

Underneath all the buildings here there's a network of roads.

1:01:391:01:44

Those alleyways have been used to bring in a massive security force.

1:01:441:01:50

Just a short while ago,

1:01:501:01:52

it's been noticed that there was considerable activity there.

1:01:521:01:57

-NEW REPORTER:

-In the last 30 minutes there was a flurry of activity - cars speeding off.

1:01:571:02:04

There's now a corridor of departure available to the Arabs

1:02:041:02:09

should they be now coming out, as now seems likely.

1:02:091:02:14

There is a quiet now, and an expectancy.

1:02:141:02:18

The Palestinians and Israelis were to be flown by helicopter

1:02:371:02:42

to Furstenfeldbruck airport.

1:02:421:02:45

But how would they get to the helicopters on the edge of the village?

1:02:451:02:51

They decided to walk via the underground car park.

1:02:511:02:55

The police saw another ambush opportunity

1:02:551:02:59

and placed marksmen here.

1:02:591:03:01

But Issa insisted on checking the route first.

1:03:011:03:05

So we walked there.

1:03:051:03:08

One terrorist had a machine gun in my back.

1:03:081:03:11

At that time, some of the gunmen of the German police

1:03:111:03:16

were lying in the side streets.

1:03:161:03:19

When we approached, they were crawling away.

1:03:191:03:23

So the terrorists immediately found out that there was danger.

1:03:271:03:30

They decided to use a bus and not to walk.

1:03:301:03:35

REPORTER: The terrorists brought the Israelis to the underground car park and onto a bus.

1:03:451:03:51

Robert Thompson, a Canadian water polo player, saw them leave.

1:03:511:03:56

-THOMPSON:

-They brought seven Israelis out and put them on the bus.

1:03:561:04:01

Then they went back inside and brought out more.

1:04:011:04:04

There was one fellow standing in front of the bus with a machine gun.

1:04:041:04:09

What were the Israelis doing?

1:04:091:04:13

They were tied. Their hands were tied in front of them,

1:04:131:04:18

tied like that. Then around the back they had ropes

1:04:181:04:22

and were tied together.

1:04:221:04:24

The first man that got out was the man with the pith helmet.

1:05:291:05:34

He went to the helicopter and made a complete check.

1:05:341:05:38

He checked in and out, back, middle and front of the helicopter.

1:05:381:05:43

When everything looked all right, he signalled.

1:05:431:05:47

Four hostages marched out with their hands tied in front.

1:05:481:05:52

Behind them was an Arab with some kind of weapon.

1:05:521:05:56

It was quite frightening. It wasn't James Bond - it was the real thing.

1:05:561:06:01

-AMERICAN REPORTER:

-It took just five minutes to reach the helicopter,

1:06:031:06:08

but in that time a critical piece of information was revealed -

1:06:081:06:13

there are not four Arab guerrillas but eight.

1:06:131:06:16

And there are only five police marksmen at the airport.

1:06:161:06:21

One of the helicopters proceeds out over the Olympic site, over the main stadium.

1:07:101:07:17

The second helicopter is following it,

1:07:171:07:20

moving around this tremendously high, major Olympic tower,

1:07:201:07:26

as they depart to a destination we, of course, as yet do not know.

1:07:261:07:31

We, with the German team,

1:07:341:07:37

we moved to the third helicopter.

1:07:371:07:40

The third helicopter now moving right by us,

1:07:401:07:44

right over the Olympic village, passing over the main stadium.

1:07:441:07:48

All the lights are on in this Olympic site, which for more than a week has been a place of serenity,

1:07:481:07:56

an Olympic village, which was happy and today has been shattered

1:07:561:08:01

by this tragedy.

1:08:011:08:04

MUSIC: "It's Not Too Beautiful" by the Beta Band

1:08:051:08:10

# You'd like to feel her heart

1:08:181:08:22

# Float away some day

1:08:221:08:25

# I cried a hundredth time

1:08:271:08:32

# Things never came my way

1:08:321:08:36

# But I will find

1:08:371:08:40

# But I will find... #

1:08:421:08:46

The marksmen, who had no radio link,

1:09:551:09:58

were still only expecting five terrorists.

1:09:581:10:02

Nobody from the village thought to inform them that there were now known to be eight.

1:10:021:10:08

We rushed quickly to the main building, moved to the second floor.

1:10:081:10:13

It was dark...dark in the place.

1:10:131:10:16

There were very many people in the corridors.

1:10:161:10:20

around and behind the building.

1:10:201:10:23

From the building we could watch and see the two helicopters landing in front of us.

1:10:231:10:29

As the helicopters bearing the Palestinians and Israelis landed,

1:10:371:10:42

the police squad on the decoy plane,

1:10:421:10:45

fearing they were undertrained, took a vote to abandon the mission.

1:10:451:10:50

This was seconds - not even minutes -

1:10:571:11:00

before the helicopters landed.

1:11:001:11:03

I told the minister, I said,

1:11:061:11:08

"I'm sure this will blow the whole affair."

1:11:081:11:12

The Germans had marksmen on top of the control tower and on the ground.

1:11:121:11:17

But they had no communications between each other.

1:11:171:11:21

When the first marksman opened fire, they would all open fire. There was no co-ordination of targets.

1:11:211:11:29

Now the leader of the team, he and another one

1:11:481:11:52

went to check the aircraft.

1:11:521:11:55

The Palestinians obviously missed the crew.

1:11:571:12:01

They were yelling. They were excited.

1:12:011:12:05

MACHINE-GUN FIRE

1:12:061:12:09

The key marksman

1:12:401:12:43

was moving to another position when the shooting started.

1:12:431:12:48

So he missed the crucial shot against the Black September commander.

1:12:481:12:52

Issa made it back to the cover of the helicopters unscathed.

1:12:521:12:57

Sniper 2 was more successful,

1:12:571:13:00

seriously wounding Issa's deputy.

1:13:001:13:02

Snipers 3 and 4 fired on the six terrorists guarding the helicopters.

1:13:021:13:08

Inexplicably, they killed only one.

1:13:081:13:11

Sniper 5 did not fire a single shot.

1:13:111:13:14

Because the helicopters had landed in the wrong place,

1:13:141:13:18

he was now in the direct line of fire of his fellow marksmen.

1:13:181:13:23

Like the others, he had no bullet-proof vest or steel helmet.

1:13:231:13:28

He was hopelessly exposed.

1:13:281:13:31

A policeman standing by a window inside the tower

1:13:311:13:35

was killed by a stray bullet.

1:13:351:13:38

They weren't capable.

1:13:381:13:40

I doubt whether the snipers were really snipers.

1:13:401:13:44

I listened to their shots.

1:13:441:13:47

One was lying on the roof, not far from us.

1:13:471:13:51

He wasn't firing a sniper's rifle.

1:13:511:13:54

They didn't see it! They didn't see the targets.

1:13:541:13:57

Unbelievable.

1:13:571:14:00

The latest word is that "all hell's broken loose" out there.

1:14:021:14:06

There's still shooting going on.

1:14:061:14:09

All seems to be confusion.

1:14:091:14:11

We've no idea what has happened to the hostages.

1:14:111:14:15

I hoped the Israelis could get out of the helicopter.

1:14:421:14:46

They'd tied them together, and so they couldn't leave the helicopters.

1:14:461:14:52

The entire area is ringed off by armed troops keeping people away.

1:15:031:15:08

We tried to approach and were stopped by an officer.

1:15:081:15:12

He said, "Do not come close. They're armed."

1:15:121:15:16

It's total confusion out there.

1:15:181:15:21

Just about everybody has gotten into their cars and driven to the area, clogging the roads.

1:15:211:15:28

Police reinforcements have a bad time getting there because these people,

1:15:281:15:34

clogging up the roads.

1:15:341:15:36

I decided to try and find the commander of the police.

1:15:411:15:46

Then we said, "What else? What are you doing?"

1:15:461:15:51

Then he said he was waiting

1:15:511:15:54

for armoured cars to arrive from somewhere near Munich.

1:15:541:15:59

The police had forgotten to order the armoured cars

1:15:591:16:03

to come to the airport earlier.

1:16:031:16:06

It was 20 minutes after shooting began when they radioed for them.

1:16:061:16:11

Because the roads were congested, they didn't arrive for an hour,

1:16:111:16:17

by which time most of the fighting was over.

1:16:171:16:20

No word on the hostages.

1:16:221:16:25

We asked them to let us go on the roof

1:16:311:16:35

and try to negotiate with the terrorists.

1:16:351:16:39

They refused at the beginning.

1:16:391:16:42

But then they said, "All right, on certain conditions." We went on the roof,

1:16:421:16:49

and started to speak Arabic to the terrorists.

1:16:491:16:52

Their reply was clear - very clear. They opened fire on the building.

1:16:521:16:59

They fired into the tower. I told the minister to lie down.

1:16:591:17:04

He touched down, under the desk of the commander.

1:17:041:17:08

Very funny.

1:17:081:17:10

..From our view today.

1:17:101:17:13

And I still hear...the bullets...

1:17:141:17:18

er...bursting into the...

1:17:181:17:23

into a cupboard, you know?

1:17:231:17:26

Where they had put up some aircraft models or something.

1:17:261:17:30

That all was flying down.

1:17:301:17:33

One of the surviving terrorists now made a dash for it,

1:17:331:17:37

heading straight for sniper 5.

1:17:371:17:41

As the terrorist ran towards him, sniper 5 fired his only shots -

1:17:411:17:46

point blank into the man's face.

1:17:461:17:49

Seeing these shots, police reinforcements at the scene,

1:17:491:17:53

not knowing the position of their own snipers,

1:17:531:17:57

mistakenly identified sniper 5

1:17:571:17:59

and the helicopter pilot hiding beside him as terrorists.

1:17:591:18:04

They opened fire on them. Both were seriously wounded.

1:18:041:18:09

-ANKIE SPITZER

-At midnight came the official announcement

1:18:111:18:16

of the German government spokesman, who said all the Israelis are saved

1:18:161:18:22

and all the terrorists are dead.

1:18:221:18:24

I'm glad that, as far as we can see,

1:18:241:18:28

the police action was successful.

1:18:281:18:31

It's an unfortunate interruption of the Olympic Games,

1:18:311:18:35

but if all that comes out

1:18:351:18:37

as we hoped it will come out, or has come out,

1:18:371:18:42

it will be forgotten after a few weeks.

1:18:421:18:45

People all over Holland were calling me.

1:18:561:19:00

A neighbour came with champagne

1:19:001:19:03

and we all were very glad.

1:19:031:19:07

I think that I went to sleep.

1:19:071:19:10

Then the Israeli ambassador in The Hague called me.

1:19:101:19:15

He said, "I just heard the news. Congratulations.

1:19:151:19:18

"Everybody is saved and OK."

1:19:181:19:21

Originally they said the hostages were safe. Now that's been changed.

1:19:251:19:30

A spokesman said, "We are afraid the information given so far is too optimistic."

1:19:301:19:37

So I called the Olympic Village.

1:19:401:19:42

I called every half hour. Each time the news got worse. At 3am I said,

1:19:421:19:48

"If you know something happened, you tell me now,

1:19:481:19:53

"because I've been waiting from 7am, and now it's 3am. I just want to know about Andre."

1:19:531:19:59

We keep hearing that the indications are not good,

1:20:071:20:11

that there may be very bad news.

1:20:111:20:14

After almost two hours of fighting,

1:20:181:20:20

one of the surviving Palestinians threw a hand grenade

1:20:201:20:24

into the eastern helicopter.

1:20:241:20:27

The helicopter was with fuel and, within minutes,

1:20:271:20:31

the helicopter and the area around it was on fire.

1:20:311:20:35

Simultaneously, one of his comrades sprayed a full clip of bullets

1:20:351:20:40

into the other helicopter.

1:20:401:20:42

Then there was silence.

1:20:421:20:45

I said, "I have to go and look what the police are doing."

1:20:451:20:49

Then I said to the captain of the police company there,

1:20:491:20:54

"Are you going to do something? You must move your people there.

1:20:541:20:59

"You pull out the hostages or whatever. Do something!"

1:20:591:21:04

They didn't do anything. "I have no orders," he said.

1:21:041:21:09

It was...

1:21:101:21:12

It was a really tragic story.

1:21:121:21:15

So...we could only look, you know?

1:21:151:21:18

Then you could hear them yelling, you know.

1:21:181:21:23

My father used to say our greatest hopes and our worst fears

1:21:241:21:28

are seldom realised.

1:21:281:21:30

Our worst fears have been realised.

1:21:301:21:33

They've now said there were 11 hostages,

1:21:331:21:37

two killed in their rooms yesterday morning.

1:21:371:21:41

Nine were killed at the airport tonight. They're all gone.

1:21:411:21:47

SOLEMN MUSIC FADES IN

1:22:091:22:13

That afternoon, the Games continued.

1:25:471:25:50

The surviving members of the Israeli team flew home with their dead.

1:25:501:25:56

The five dead Palestinians' bodies were handed over to Libya,

1:25:571:26:01

where they received a hero's funeral.

1:26:011:26:05

The three surviving terrorists never stood trial.

1:26:301:26:35

Seven weeks later a Lufthansa jet

1:26:371:26:40

en route from Beirut to Frankfurt was hijacked.

1:26:401:26:44

The hijackers demanded the release of the Munich terrorists.

1:26:441:26:48

With indecent haste, and without consulting the Israeli government,

1:26:481:26:54

the Germans handed over the three prisoners.

1:26:541:26:57

The circumstances of the hijack were suspicious.

1:26:581:27:02

Why were only 12 passengers on the plane? Why no women or children?

1:27:021:27:08

Why such haste in agreeing to the hijackers' demands?

1:27:081:27:12

One of the Palestinians involved has now revealed it was a set-up,

1:27:121:27:18

organised by the German government in collusion with the terrorists.

1:27:181:27:23

The Germans thought it would prevent further attacks on their country

1:27:231:27:29

and dispose of the embarrassing evidence of their failure.

1:27:291:27:33

I think, er... I think it's probably true, yes.

1:27:331:27:38

At this time, the mentality was so. Really.

1:27:401:27:45

On such questions, Willy Brandt,

1:27:451:27:49

always made this gesture.

1:27:491:27:52

I can't say more.

1:27:541:27:56

Did you shoot any hostages?

1:28:051:28:08

It's not important to say if I killed an Israeli or not.

1:28:081:28:14

What did you achieve?

1:28:141:28:17

INTERPRETER TRANSLATES

1:28:171:28:20

HE REPLIES IN ARABIC

1:28:221:28:24

We have made our voice heard by the world.

1:28:241:28:29

Are those your words?

1:28:291:28:32

The same thing.

1:28:351:28:37

They have made their voice heard by the world, who has not heard before.

1:28:371:28:42

It was only a year and three months that I was married to Andre Spitzer.

1:29:111:29:16

But I remember that year as the most beautiful

1:29:181:29:22

and wonderful year of my life.

1:29:221:29:24

This is the grave of Amitzuer Shapira, the athletics coach.

1:29:341:29:39

He had four little children - one my age.

1:29:391:29:43

And here is Kehat Shorr.

1:29:431:29:46

he was the shooting coach.

1:29:461:29:49

Eliezer Halfin was a wrestler.

1:29:511:29:54

So was Mark Slavin, who I think was only 18 years old.

1:29:541:30:00

And here's my father's grave.

1:30:021:30:05

It says his name, Andre Spitzer.

1:30:061:30:10

It says, "Son of Tibor, fencing coach.

1:30:101:30:13

"Murdered by... Killed by murderers in the Olympic Games in Munich

1:30:141:30:20

"as a representative of the Israeli sport."

1:30:201:30:23

Then his date of birth and of his murder.

1:30:231:30:27

I always bring him sunflowers, because it's his favourite flower.

1:30:271:30:32

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

1:32:391:32:42

On 5 September 1972, terrorists belonging to the Palestinian Black September faction made their way into the Olympic Village in Munich, kidnapping 12 Israeli athletes and holding them to ransom. Kevin Macdonald's Oscar-winning film recounts in gripping hour-by-hour detail the horrifying story of the attempt to first negotiate with the terrorists, and then to rescue the athletes.


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