A report recently obtained by SPIEGEL Online showed that two neo-Nazi extremists were involved in the planning of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.
According to the site, Willi Pohl and Wolfgang Abramowski collaborated with Palestinian Liberation Organization’s “Black September” faction, forging passports for the group and assisting Abu Daoud, the mastermind behind the massacre.
On Sept. 5, 1972, militants with the terrorist group took nine Israeli athletes hostage, demanding the released of 200 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons. When police attempted to rescue the hostages at Fürstenfeldbruck military airport, where they were being held in two helicopters, the attackers murdered them all.
While many experts believed left-wing extremists had ties to Black September, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) in Germany dispelled any beliefs that German left-wing groups supported the group.
Less than two months before the attack, SPIEGEL reported, police in the city of Dortmund sent a message to the BfV discussing “presumed conspiratorial activity by Palestinian terrorists.” The message alerted authorities about Pohl and his relationship with Daoud, and warned that Pohl was a supporter of the PLO and had met with Daoud, who was staying at a hotel in the city.
The warning, though, was largely ignored by both the BfV and the German foreign intelligence agency, and Daoud was left alone.
Daoud was able to stay uninterrupted at the Eden Hotel Wolff in Munich during and after the attack, meeting with militants in his room and calling associates in Libya and Tunisia.
Pohl, though, claimed that he was “unknowingly involved” in the preparations for the massacre.
“I drove Abu Daoud halfway across Germany, and he met with Palestinians in various cities,” Pohl told SPIEGEL.
At the end of July 1972, Pohl and Abramowski moved to a small village near Beirut where Abramowski forged Kuwaiti and Lebanese passports, changed names on American and French documents, and exchanged passport photos for the PLO.
On Aug. 24, the Palestinians became more specific about a terrorist attack, though they claimed it would be a bloodless incident. Pohl, though, had no recollection of hearing the word “Munich,” though they did speak of an exchange of 20 Israelis for 200 Palestinian prisoners.
The two were arrested on Oct. 27, 1972, with a cache of weapons including three automatic rifles, 174 rounds of ammunition, two pistols and six Belgian-made hand grenades. They were also found with a letter threatening the Munich judge in charge of overseeing the aftermath of the massacre.
The grenades Pohl and Abramowski possessed linked them to the masterminds, as the terrorists had used the same weapons to murder their Israeli hostages.
Pohl and Abramowski, though, were only convicted of illegal possession of firearms and sentenced to 26 months and eight months in prison, respectively.