Passau police chief released from hospital

Almost a week after what appears to have been a revenge attack by neo-Nazis, Passau police chief Alois Mannichl was released from the hospital on Friday.

Passau police chief released from hospital
Photo: DPA

“We can’t let ourselved be afraid of these right-wing extremists,” he said in a short statement to press where he thanked the public for its support, adding that the attempt on his life was “cowardly.”

Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel made a statement for the first time about the stabbing. “When an official of our state or other people are attacked by right-wing extremists, then the attack is on us all,” she told daily Passauer Neue Presse on Friday, adding that the threat needs to be taken seriously everywhere, not just in Passau.

Mannichl answered his front door on Saturday to a tall skinhead at around 5:30 pm. The man said something along the lines of, “Greetings from the national resistance,” and said, “You leftist pig cop, you won’t trample on the graves of our comrades any more,” before stabbing Mannichl in the stomach with a 12-centimetre knife.

He then threw the knife away in the garden and ran to a waiting car in a nearby street and was driven away. The 52-year-old police chief was seriously wounded in the attack and is now recovering from the attack.

Police this week picked up a 33-year-old man and 22-year-old woman who are suspected of helping the attacker.

Police also released a new description of the suspect, whom they believe to be part of the Bavarian neo-Nazi scene. The man is thought to be between 25 and 35 years old, approximately 1.90 metres tall, and speaks with a Bavarian accent that could possibly have an Austrian lilt.

Far-right resentment in the region against the police reached a high point this July after the authorities ordered that the grave of a former neo-Nazi functionary be opened so that a Nazi flag that had been buried with the coffin, be removed.

An email exchange received by Spiegel Online on Friday suggested that the NPD has had Mannichl in its sights for over a year. According to the magazine’s exclusive report, a Passau NPD member wrote to party headquarters for advice in dealing with Mannichl.

The reply, sent on May 16, 2007 by Frank Schwerdt, a right-hand man of NPD leader Udo Voigt, said, “If anything meaningful is to be done against your beloved police chief Mannichl, it should be very carefully prepared and executed.”

Schwerdt claimed Friday that he had been referring to the collection of facts for a possible legal case against Mannichl.


Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.