45 Years After Munich |

Neo-Nazi Aided Palestinian Perpetrators of 1972 Munich Massacre, Report Says

German weekly Der Spiegel bases report on 2,000-page file compiled by Berlin authorities, made public nearly 40 years after the attack at the 1972 summer Olympics, which resulted in the death of 11 Israeli athletes.

Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
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Black September terrorist during the 1972 takeover of the Israeli delegations quarters at the Munich Olympics.
Black September terrorist during the 1972 takeover of the Israeli delegations quarters at the Munich Olympics.Credit: AP
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet

Neo-Nazi activists aided the Palestinian terrorists who perpetrated the massacre of Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics in 1972, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported on Sunday.

The report is based on a 2,000-page file compiled by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which was made public at the request of Der Spiegel, ahead of the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre, to be marked this coming September.

At the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, terrorists from Fatah's Black September organization took hostage members of Israel's Olympic squad. Two Israeli athletes were killed in the initial hostage-taking and nine were killed during a botched German rescue attempt at a Munich airport.

A document released on Sunday, detailing a correspondence between local police in Dortmund and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, reveals that seven weeks prior to the attack a man named Saad Walli, described as having "an Arab appearance", held a suspicious meeting with a neo-Nazi activist named Willi Pohl.

Saad Walli was the alias of Abu Daoud, one of Black September's leaders and an organizer of the Munich attack, who died in Damascus two years ago.

The newly revealed correspondence does not indicate that German federal security forces and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution acted in any way to arrest Abu Daoud, despite having preliminary information.

According to Der Spiegel, the neo-Nazi activist aided Abu Daoud in obtaining fake credentials, including passports and other documents. In addition, he is quoted as saying that he "drove Abu Daoud around Germany, where he met Palestinians in various cities."

Currently, Pohl makes a living from writing detective novels, using a different name, and indicates that "without knowing it," he was linked "to the perpetrators of the massacre at the Olympics."

The German activist was also reportedly linked to a follow-up attack planned by Palestinian militants after the Munich massacre. Following instructions by Abu Jihad, then Yasser Arafat's deputy and Fatah's second in command, Pohl was to plan an abduction attack at the Koln cathedral and in the city halls of several major German cities.

However, he was arrested in Munich with grenades and fire arms in his possession in October 1972. Pohl was also found to be holding a threatening letter, meant to be sent to a German judge who had been in charge of the trial of three of the attack's planners.

Morevoer, the police report exposed by Der Spiegel indicates that Pohl aided the terrorists to obtain weapons, possibly including those used in the massacre itself. "They originated from a very rare production line," the report wrote of the seized arms, saying the arms included "Belgian casings and Swedish explosives, made only for Saudi Arabia."

"Identical weapons were used by Palestinian terrorists to kill the hostages at the Olympics," Der Spiegel added.

Pohl was sentenced to a short jail term for "unauthorized possession of firearms," only to be released four days after his sentencing and, eventually, making his way to Beirut.

According to Der Spiegel, German authorities feared a terrorist attack could be initiated to release the neo-Nazi activist, similar to the one that took place less than two months following the massacre, when a Lufthansa plane was abducted, prompting the release of three of the attack's planners from a German jail.