Friday, January 20, 2006

A German Hero

Yesterday, I watched "One Day in September" yet again. One of the most impressive movies ever. If you haven't seen it, get it here asap.

The most unbelievable part of the Munich massacre is the utterly incompetent, embarassing and preposterous conduct of German politicians, officials and security forces.

Among the Germans interviewed for the movie, there is only one figure standing out as reasonable and decent: It is Ulrich K. Wegener, at the time of the Munich Olympics liaison-officer in the Ministry of the Interior. When the government decided to set up an anti-terrorist unit as a lesson of Munich,
Wegener became founding commander of GSG 9.

Wegener has always been an admirer and friend of Israel. He was even on the ground with Israeli forces in Entebbe 1976. Here are excerpts from a fascinating interview Wegener gave the German TV station BR Alpha in 2000 (my translation):

Wegener: "The Israelis always were the role model for me. And they were the ones who were immediately willing to help us - even though they had had those traumatic experiences."

Question: "There are a lot of stories surrounding your person. For example the one from 1976 when the Israelis liberated the hostages in Entebbe. You were in Entebbe. There are different versions 24 years on. Can you tell us how it really was?"

Wegener: "I am not allowed to say a few things because they have not yet been cleared. But I can say as much: I was in Entebbe in the interest of Germans and Israelis, but before the Israeli raid was carried out. We tried to gather information about the adversary, the terrorists and their possible supporters in Uganda. We were very successful and were able to gather a lot of information."

Question: "Seen from the outside, it was a daring action to land with transport planes in the night."

Wegener: "It was a strategic and tactically fantastic achievement that was unparalleled. I personally knew the brother of the later Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his death strongly affected me. Immediately after the raid I was invited to Israel and we spoke about the whole raid. It was really tragic."


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