German Foreign Minister pledges solidarity with Israel

Germany’s Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, paid tribute at the Guildhall ceremony to the 11 murdered Israeli athletes and the German policeman, Anton Fliegerbauer, who died in the botched rescue attempt at the 1972 Munich Games.

Mr Westerwelle said: “Images of Munich in 1972 have burned into the German collective memory. Our words and our silence belong together. Terror can never be justified; no cause can justify the killing of innocents. Intolerance and antisemitism are the monstrous faces of perverted ideology and hatred. I assure you that Germany has not forgotten. We will never forget the names of the Israeli athletes and coaches who were killed.”

Intoning the names of each of the 11 athletes, Mr Westerwelle said: “The Olympic Games in Munich were the first global event in Germany since the horrors of the Holocaust. They were supposed to be cheerful, Games of great happiness and joy. The attack on the Israeli team in the Olympic Village was an attack on the Olympic ideals of fairness, mutual respect and peaceful competition. Germany looks back in grief. We cannot bring back the dead, but it is our responsibility to honour their memory.

“Unfortunately, terrorism is not only a distant memory. A few weeks ago an attack on a bus full of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria brutally reminded us that terrorists continue to spread hate and violence. We must not rest until the perpetrators of this attack are brought to justice. Germany will continue to stand by Israel’s side. We will not remain silent when Israel or its people are threatened. The roots of our relationship lie in the past. But our relationship is forward-looking. We belong to the same community of values, of freedom, of democratic countries. We will not let terrorism claim victory.”

Last updated: 10:34am, August 9 2012