40 years alter: Israel’s State Archives published today (Wednesday) 45 documents documenting the government’s confidential debates held during the massacre of the 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, on the night of September 5.
The published documents include the protocols of the government debates, telegrams and reports. The documents include, among other things, a description of the arrival of initial reports to Prime Minister Golda Meir and her ministers, claiming that the operation of the Bavarian Police had succeeded, that all the terrorists were eliminated and the hostages were rescued. Messages arrived afterwards from Eliyashiv Ben-Hurin, the ambassador in Berlin, stating that while the German television was celebrating, exchange of fire was still underway between German security forces and the terrorists.
At 03:00 AM, Zvi Zamir, then head of Mossad, called PM Meir and told her that “I’m sorry to have to tell you, but the athletes were not rescued. I saw them. None of them survived.”
Additional documents also described the chain of events leading to the tragic result, beginning with reports of the entry of eight Palestinian terrorists, members of the Black September terror organization, into the Olympic village and the apartments where the Israeli athletes were residing. The terrorists murdered Moshe Veinberg and Yossef Romano immediately and gathered nine other athletes in one room, demanding the release of 232 terrorists incarcerated in Israel and Germany.
According to the documents, Zamir reported to Golda Meir that the Germans made no minimal effort to save lives, and the documents also indicate that the German government refused to halt the Olympic games, claiming “German television does not have anything to broadcast.”
The protocols of the cabinet discussions, which remain classified, were not published.
A special interview with former head of Mossad Zvi Zamir regarding the implications of the massacre on Israel’s targeted killing policy will appear in IsraelDefense issue 10, which will be published in September