Anton Fliegerbauer

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Anton Fliegerbauer (5 March 1940[1] - 5 September 1972) was a West German police officer who was killed in action by Palestinian Black September terrorists during the 1972 Summer Olympics when he responded to the hostage crisis remembered as the Munich massacre.

Early life[edit]

Fliegerbauer was born in Westerndorf, Lower Bavaria and grew up on a farm with his two siblings. He originally attended Agricultural school before taking up an apprenticeship with the Bavarian State Police.[2] Fliegerbauer was appointed as police officer of the Municipial Police Munich to the rank "Polizeiobermeister" (Policeuppermaster) on 19 November 1970.[3] In 1964 he met his future wife who he then married in 1966 and two years later they had a son, Alfred.[4]

During the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, Fliegerbauer was assigned to a riot police unit.[5]

Death[edit]

On 5 September Fliegerbauer's unit was ordered to Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base, where the West German Police had planned to rescue the nine Israeli hostages taken by eight Black September terrorists. Fliegerbauer took position inside the airport building at the base of the control tower directly opposite where the two Bell UH-1 Iroquois carrying the Israeli hostages and terrorists landed. Upon discovering that the Lufthansa plane had no crew and suspecting a trap, terrorist leader 'Issa' (Luttif Afif) and his deputy 'Tony' (Yusuf Nazzal) ran back towards the two helicopters, shouting as they did so to the terrorists at the helicopters. Three West German Police marksmen stationed on the roof of the control opened fire on the six terrorists at outside the two helicopters and at least one on Afif and Nazzal still moving back towards the helicopters. As they did so, Fliegerbauer, still positioned inside the airport building at the base of the control tower, also opened fire on the terrorist leader and his deputy with a submachine gun.[6] According to Simon Reeve, author of One Day in September, Fliegerbauer had fired less than half the bullets in his magazine when a random shot from the one of the Black September terrorists came through the window and struck him in the side of the head.[7]

In a chapter entitled "Death at the Munich Olympics," Kay Schiller, professor of cultural history at Durham University, writes that Fliegerbauer was celebrated as a "hero who had paid the ultimate price in his attempt to liberate innocent hostages," and argues that this made it easier for the German public to "cope with the death of the Israelis," despite the fact that it was clear that the response of German security had been incompetent.[8]

Memorials[edit]

Fliegerbauer was buried on 8 September after a "well attended" civic funeral attended by the Mayor of Munich Georg Kronawitter and Prime Minister of Bavaria Alfons Goppel with wreaths laid on behalf of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt and West German President Gustav Heinemann.[9]

In a memorial service held at Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base in 2012, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre, Fliegerbauer was remembered alongside the eleven members of the Israeli delegation slain by the terrorists.[10]

During 2016 Fliegerbauer was memorialized at the Olympic Village in Brazil.[11]

On the memorial to the massacre erected at Olympiapark (Munich), Fliegerbauer is described in a sentence that reads, "The police failed in this attempt, and the operation ended in disaster. All of the hostages and the German police officer Anton Fliegerbauer, as well as five of the terrorists, died."[12][13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Anton Fliegerbauer". www.km.bayern.de (in German). Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Anton Fliegerbauer". www.km.bayern.de (in German). Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Anton Fliegerbauer". www.km.bayern.de (in German). Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  4. ^ "Anton Fliegerbauer". www.km.bayern.de (in German). Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Anton Fliegerbauer". www.km.bayern.de (in German). Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  6. ^ Reeve, Simon (2005). One day in September : the story of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre and Israeli revenge operation 'Wrath of God'. London: Faber. p. 134. ISBN 9780571231812.
  7. ^ Reeve, Simon (2005). One day in September : the story of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre and Israeli revenge operation 'Wrath of God'. London: Faber. p. 134. ISBN 9780571231812.
  8. ^ Alon, Confino; Paul, Betts; Dirk, Schumann (2008). Between Mass Death and Individual Loss: The Place of the Dead in Twentieth-century Germany. Chapter on "Death at the Munich Olympics". Berghahn Books.
  9. ^ Holt, Richard; Ruta, Dino (2013). Routledge Handbook of Sport and Legacy Meeting the Challenge of Major Sports Events (1 ed.). Routledge. p. 358. ISBN 978-0415675819.
  10. ^ (www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. "Tribute to victims of '72 Olympics massacre | DW | 05.09.2012". DW.COM. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  11. ^ Sinai, Allon (30 March 2016). "Israeli Olympic expectations peaking as delegation grows for Rio". Jerusalem Post. ProQuest 1777830757.
  12. ^ Aderet, Ofer (6 September 2016). "Germany Marks Munich Massacre With Memorial, but Still Avoids Taking Responsibility". Haaretz. ProQuest 1935974898.
  13. ^ Issig, Peter (10 September 2017). "Manchen war ein Rodelhugel wichtiger". Welt am Sonntag. ProQuest 1936911091.