ARD Documentary “Death and Games” about the 1972 Olympics attack

FFor fifty years, Muhammad al-Safadi was not satisfied with what he did in 1972. He also hid to the point that Wikipedia assumed that he was dead, a victim of the reprisals of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad. He now appears again as a contemporary witness in the ARD documentary Death and Games. It looks like he’s just woken up from a decade-long coma: “I killed the hostages,” he said to the camera, “I don’t regret it, I will never regret it.” He is proud of what he is ready to be, and be prepared if he “has to show up again”. He’s used to getting up in the middle of the night since he was killed.

Harold Stone

Editor at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper in Berlin.

Safadi was one of the Palestinian killers of the Black September terrorist group that killed eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics on September 5, 1972. The fact that directors Lucio Mollica and Pence Mate found and acquired him for an interview for their documentary on the fiftieth anniversary of the attack can be described. , as a press scoop. The fact that they treat him as an eyewitness among others is hard to bear. The authors write that their goal is to “look at the event from all points of view”. But this is no reason to let Safadi’s martyrdom go unchallenged. It’s half-truth at the most: No matter how much Molika and Matei try in their 180-minute documentary (there are four episodes in the ARD media library, the first showing a 90-minute version on Sept. 5 at 8:15 p.m.), the date is to shed light on Context, political background, and the outcome of the assassination, there is a particularly surprising gap: not a single German Jew has a chance to speak.

Was the release of the killers “determined”?

Of course, the victims are remembered. Relatives of the eleven hostages and the surviving Israeli athletes describe their journey to the Games, shock and shock, and their still unanswered questions to German authorities. The authors take up nearly an entire episode of time in the aftermath of the assassination, which is often treated only as a marginal note: former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak can recount in detail how he participated in an act of revenge by the special unit Sayeret Matkal in 1973 and disguised his unit in a photo A woman broke into the home of PLO supporters in Beirut. Meanwhile, Safadi was moved by delusions about how Yasser Arafat had reached the refugee camp and beheaded the surviving killers.

In the documentary


In the documentary “Death and Games” he talks for the first time about his murder: the killer Muhammad Safadi
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Photo: rbb/LOOKSfilm

The documentary also delves into the strange circumstances in which the three surviving killers were released: they were released by hijacking a plane, in which there were a lot of “inconsistencies,” says British journalist Gerald Seymour, who worked for the British. Broadcaster at the time ITN from Munich reported and acted as a kind of neutral narrator on “Death and Games”. Mollica and Mattei leave it to him, at least quietly, to stir up the gruesome that the whole thing was “designed” at the time to get rid of the problem posed by the Palestinian prisoners in the eyes of the German authorities. Peter Brant, son of then Federal Chancellor Willie Brant, did not explicitly deny the hypothesis that the kidnapping was orchestrated. The former head of Palestinian intelligence suggested starting, pointing out that there were not only “official” talks, but also “secret” talks.

The official saying was “Don’t criticize yourself.”

But that’s why the Germans forgot about the shock so quickly, the Israelis’ deaths during the Games were just a “ring” for them and they “put their heads in the sand as if nothing had happened,” said bowler Zelig Storch. The filmmakers say they don’t seem to care. Their documentation hardly says a word about the attempted cover-up and political evasiveness that was expressed the day after the victims’ funeral service in an incredible statement to the federal government: “Mutual accusations must be avoided. No self-criticism either.” Or in the accusation that George Wolfe, director of operations at the police Munich, threw at the widow of the fencing coach Andrei Spitzer who was killed: it was the Israelis who brought terror to German soil.

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