Right-wing acts of violence did not fit into Strauss’ view of the world (neue-deutschland.de)

Photo: Sven Hoppe / dpa

It was late in the evening of September 26, 1980 when a bomb exploded in the midst of the crowd at the main entrance of the Munich Oktoberfest at 10:19 p.m. It was hidden in a wastebasket. The effects of the bomb are terrible: eight people are killed immediately, five succumb to serious injuries in the next few days, and more than 200 other people are wounded. A family loses two children. Another victim lies in the clinic for a year and is operated on 16 times.

Even decades after the worst terrorist act in German post-war history, the events are still present among those affected. »My clients suffer psychologically, and that increases every year when the Oktoberfest comes. A client leaves the city during this time. For them the wound has not healed. You and the other clients still want to know who it is thanks to them that their lives have been destroyed or impaired, «says Werner Dietrich, who represents some of the victims as a lawyer and has campaigned for the investigation to be resumed.

Because the investigations into the Oktoberfest attack shed a bright light on the conditions in the Federal Republic of Germany in general and in Bavaria in particular: the judiciary and the police are blind to the right eye – a line of tradition that continues until the NSU murders.

The alleged assassin – Gundolf Köhler, a 21-year-old geology student from Donaueschingen, was also killed in the bomb explosion. He was a supporter of the Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann, a neo-Nazi paramilitary organization that was banned in 1980. Initially, the investigations are also going in this direction: on September 28, 1980, two days after the attack, the then Attorney General Kurt Rebmann said at a press conference: “According to the investigations so far, the 21-year-old geology student Gundolf Köhler from Donaueschingen comes in as the perpetrator Consideration. He was killed in the attack. We do not assume that Köhler acted as a sole perpetrator, the investigations have shown that Köhler was a member of the military sports group Hoffmann. “

It is unclear whether Köhler was really a member, the leader of the military sports group, the graphic artist Karl-Heinz Hoffmann, denies this to this day. What is certain, however, is that Köhler was at least an active sympathizer of the paramilitary group. So there was an exchange of letters between Köhler and Hoffmann in 1976, which also included establishing a local group in Donaueschingen. In addition, Köhler was recorded as an active supporter in the card index of the military sports group in 1977 and 1979. According to a note from Hoffmann on the 1979 card index, Köhler had participated in two exercises.

Still, the investigation continues in a completely different direction. Now Gundolf Köhler is seen as a lone perpetrator who detonated the bomb not for political reasons, but out of lovesickness and frustration. This version is valid for 30 years. At the time of the attack, there was a federal election campaign, and the Bavarian Prime Minister Franz Josef Strauss had dismissed the Hoffmann group as harmless weirdos after the 1980 ban. Strauss wanted to distinguish himself in public as a security politician against the left. Right-wing violence did not fit into his worldview.

Investigations in this direction were not carried out, and here too the parallels to the NSU murders can be seen. Lawyer Werner Dietrich campaigned for the resumption of the proceedings in 1983 and 2008, initially in vain. There were no longer any important pieces of evidence in the evidence rooms. The BR journalist Ulrich Chaussy has also researched for years. His conclusion: To this day, central questions about the most momentous attack in German history have not been clarified. One could say nothing at all because the investigative activities had been blocked by the authorities in various ways, above all by the Bavarian state security chief Hans Langemann.

Only on the 30th anniversary of the attack in 2010 did Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann speak of a right-wing extremist motive for the assassin. And the state government has long refused to provide the victims of the attack with comprehensive financial support. Although the Free State had made aid funds available as early as 1980, the majority of the victims were left empty-handed.

Due to the persistence of Dietrich and Chaussy, the public prosecutor finally resumed the investigation in 2014. According to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office in Karlsruhe, within five and a half years, around 770 traces are processed, more than 1,000 interrogations carried out and over 300,000 pages of files viewed. However, no specific information relevant to criminal law was found. In July of this year, the investigations into the Oktoberfest attack 40 years ago were finally stopped.


40 years of the Munich Oktoberfest attack: the first right-wing lone perpetrator

September 26th marks the anniversary of the crime. The worst terrorist attack in the history of the republic remains unsolved.

The mug shot of the Bavarian LKA from 1980 shows a photomontage by the 21-year-old student Gundolf Köhler Photo: Handout Polizei / dpa / picture alliance

As early as 1982, when Attorney General Rebmann stopped the investigation for the first time and presented Gundolf Köhler as a frustrated, lovesickly afflicted individual without political motives, a number of disagreements put this decision into question.

As if preprogrammed, the investigations at the time resulted in the thesis of the apolitical individual perpetrator. This is also made clear by the interrogations of Köhler’s friends. The investigators asked extensively about sexual preferences and romantic relationships. Questions about political background or contacts with right-wing groups, on the other hand, were asked rather sporadically and hardly followed up in detail.

Despite these tendentious investigations, it was completely obvious that Gundolf Köhler adhered to anti-Semitic, National Socialist and racist ideas and did not hold back with them. In the interviews there was repeated mention of a picture of Hitler over the bed or of statements against Jews.

Over the years, thanks in particular to victim lawyer Werner Dietrich and journalist Ulrich Chaussy, more and more contradictions came to light, of which the missing hand is probably the most prominent. Said hand was found at the crime scene after the explosion. Then as now, the investigators attributed it to Gundolf Köhler.

Internal betrayal

But that cannot be: Serologically it could not be assigned to the assassin and, in contrast to the rest of Koehler’s body, no traces of the bomb component nitrocellulose were found on the hand. Finally, a former BKA explosives expert came to the conclusion that the hand, which was barely damaged by burn marks, could not have come from Koehler because his hands and forearms were probably torn into tiny pieces by the force of the explosion.

Today, a DNA examination of the hand could determine whether it came from Koehler – but both the hand and the forensic medical report were made to disappear in the course of the investigation.

In 2014, the Federal Prosecutor finally gave in to the pressure and resumed the investigation into the Oktoberfest attack. However, the results with which she announced the hiring five years later are thin. It is true that the strategically communicated figures of the many surveys conducted and did not check traces of their target and were found in almost every press article. But the amount of individual investigative measures cannot outweigh what the investigations as a whole failed to do.

So the question arises why the Federal Prosecutor’s Office entrusted the Bavarian LKA with the investigation instead of the Federal Criminal Police Office, and thus precisely the institution that had carried out the original investigation without success. Bearing in mind the obvious assumption that these investigations were severely disrupted and influenced, for example, by the theft of evidence or the betrayal of internal investigations, this decision seems simply wrong.

Linked to this is a second omission: the resumed investigations did not deal with the errors of the first special commission as an independent investigation objective. However, this omission is incomprehensible in view of such fundamental errors as the disappearance of the hand. For what motives, with what effects, to what extent and with whose participation the investigations were sabotaged in the 1980s, was never the subject of the resumed proceedings – another knowingly missed chance to clear up the background to the attack.

Destroyed traces

The investigators were also unable to identify possible accomplices and associates of Köhler. The men in the green parkas, who were observed by various witnesses talking to Koehler immediately before the explosion and shortly afterwards on the run from the crime scene, remain unknown, as is the young woman with whom other witnesses saw Koehler at the scene. The traces from Köhler’s car are also puzzling: Who owned the green parka that was found in the car, to whom did the 48 cigarette butts of different brands and with different saliva accumulations belong? A DNA comparison is also ruled out here; the traces were destroyed.

The press release closes with the succinct statement “that questions remained open and that individual issues could not be fully ascertained or assessed”. These open questions and the failure of the highest investigative authority, which is badly concealed in this sentence, should form the core of the assessment, because the open questions touch the core of the subject. Who were the men Koehler was seen with just before the explosion? How was the bomb detonated, how did Koehler get the explosives, where and by whom was the bomb built? Who did the hand found at the crime scene belong to and who made it disappear?

A look at Italy shows that it is not a law of nature that investigations must remain inconclusive after 40 years. Later that year, the right-wing terrorist Gilberto Cavallini was sentenced to life imprisonment for providing logistical support to the attackers in the 1980 attack on Bologna train station.

It borders on insolence that 40 years after the bloody attack in Munich, on the one hand, not having contributed anything to the investigation and at the same time proclaiming the banality that the act was politically motivated.

The lone perpetrator

The termination of the investigation is a scandal. It reveals the entitlement of the bereaved, the injured and the dead to the investigation of the crime and the determination of the guilty. This claim remains unpaid. The attitude is also momentous in that it is historiography and thus works equally in the past and present. She contributes to the construction of a historical figure that never existed and that still causes damage today: the right-wing lone perpetrator.

The decision is doing the historical subject an injustice, because weighty circumstances indicate that Köhler did not act alone. It also contributes to the fact that present and future right-wing terrorism is not understood as the work of networks. Victims remain unpunished and perpetrators unknown.

The attack on the Munich Oktoberfest on September 26, 1980 remains unsolved and challenges us. Bertolt Brecht’s sentence applies: “Only as much truth prevails as we enforce.”


Attack on Oktoberfest: Compensation 40 years later

Decades after the Oktoberfest attack, the victims should still be compensated: with 1.2 million euros. A victim lawyer thinks this is not enough.

Oktoberfest attack in Munich in 1980 – corpses are removed in coffins Photo: Werek / image

BERLIN / MUNICH taz | The bomb detonated on September 26, 1980 at 10:19 p.m. at the entrance to the Munich Oktoberfest. It killed 13 people, including the right-wing extremist Gundolf Köhler, and injured another 211. It is the most serious right-wing terrorist attack in the Federal Republic to date. And many victims continue to suffer from the act. Now they are being compensated.

Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht announced on Wednesday that those affected – 40 years after the attack – should receive “support payments” totaling 1.2 million euros. The attack remains “a deep turning point in post-war history,” said the SPD politician, with injuries to this day. The aim of the compensation is to “send a late but important sign of solidarity with those affected by this devastating attack”. The state must “be more there for those affected by right-wing extremism, racism and hatred”.

The fund is to be financed by the federal government and the Free State of Bavaria at EUR 500,000 each, plus EUR 200,000 from the city of Munich. The federal government had approved the post on Wednesday in its draft for the federal budget 2021. The Bavarian cabinet had already decided its part on Tuesday. In Munich, the city council is still pending a resolution.

Bavaria’s Minister of Social Affairs, Carolina Trautner (CSU), also called the fund a “sign against right-wing extremism”. “It is indescribable how much suffering the attack on the Munich Oktoberfest caused.” For Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD), the joint fund comes “much too late”, but it shows “that all political levels are willing To give people of this incredibly cruel right-wing terrorist attack the attention and financial support they have long deserved ”.

Reassessment of the attack

The compensation comes about because the federal prosecutor’s office reassessed the attack in July. For almost six years, the authority had reopened the investigation after the single perpetrator thesis was repeatedly questioned and new indications of accomplices were found. The search for clues was unsuccessful – the federal prosecutor’s office now officially classified the act as right-wing extremist for the first time. The conviction of the assassin and his relevant contacts to the right-wing extremist military sports group Hoffmann speak for this.

The victims had long fought for this recognition as a right-wing extremist act. Shortly after the reclassification in July 2020, Lambrecht’s Ministry announced compensation from the federal government. Now, shortly before the 40th anniversary of the assassination, this is being redeemed. The federal government, Bavaria and the city of Munich had struggled to the last about what the fund should look like and how it should reach the victims. Reiter was satisfied with the solution on Wednesday: It was Munich’s claim to “help the survivors as unbureaucratically as possible”.

Shortly after the attack, the Free State paid the injured person 500,000 DM as a kind of compensation for pain and suffering. From 1982 the city of Munich raised one million DM as emergency aid for the victims, and in the following year another 200,000 DM, also collected with donations. From 2018, the city paid a further 100,000 euros to finance treatment costs for those affected that were not paid by the pension offices. However, these payments were not considered official compensation.

Victims were “treated shabbily”

The Munich lawyer Werner Dietrich, who represents 16 victims of the attack, had long been demanding compensation from the federal government. According to his information, many of those affected never received the first compensation for pain and suffering from 1980. Dietrich was ambivalent about the current fund. “It is a success and great progress that the long stories of suffering of those affected are finally recognized,” he told the taz. Some of the victims had been “treated rather shabbily” by the authorities in the past. A “quick and unbureaucratic” payment is now decisive.

At the same time, Dietrich considers the sum of 1.2 million euros to be too low. The lawyer assumes there are still almost 100 victims of the attack who, according to his opinion, should be paid between 30,000 and 100,000 euros depending on the severity of the injury. The 1.2 million euros would not be enough for that. It would therefore have made more sense to have a “breathing upper limit” for the compensation, said Dietrich.

The victims of the attack will be remembered with a memorial ceremony on Saturday in Munich. In addition to survivors, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) should also speak there. At the same time, a new documentation site is to be opened for the attack.


Oktoberfest attack: 1.2 million euros for the victims – Munich

When you ask Renate Martinez these days whether someone has already contacted her about compensation from the state, she sighs audibly and a little bitterly. “Hopefully I’ll see it again,” she says with a touch of gallows humor.

As a young woman, Renate Martinez was seriously injured in the legs in the Oktoberfest attack on September 26, 1980 by the bomb of the right-wing extremist assassin Gundolf Köhler. Today she can only walk with difficulty on the rollator. Until recently, she did not really believe that after 40 years the state would still pull itself together to help the injured and victims of the Oktoberfest attack financially. Nice words, she said, nothing else.

Renate Martinez was wrong. She will receive a letter from Mayor Dieter Reiter in the next few weeks, announcing that the federal government, the state and the city now want to help her and the other more than 200 people injured in the attack. After months of negotiations, the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich have agreed to set up a fund of 1.2 million euros from which the victims of the attack will receive unbureaucratic help. The federal government is paying € 500,000, Bavaria € 500,000, and the city of Munich € 200,000. A full four decades after the fact.

It should be noted in the words of Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht, the Bavarian Social Minister Carolina Trautner and OB Reiter how urgently they consider this help to be – and how little they can understand that it took so long for this help to reach the victims . “A late, but nevertheless important sign of solidarity with those affected by this devastating attack,” said Justice Minister Lambrecht. And Reiter says: “Even if we cannot undo the suffering and painful memories of the survivors, this joint fund of the federal government, the Free State and the city shows – albeit much too late – that all political levels are willing to give the people this To give incredibly cruel right-wing terrorist attacks the attention and financial support they have long deserved. ” Long earned, much too late – these are characteristic words that suggest how much the state is behind in recognizing the victims.

Investigations were restarted – and only concluded in the summer

The city of Munich has given 100,000 euros in recent years. But the federal and state governments have been waiting for the assessment of the federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe. The had resumed the investigation into the Oktoberfest attack in December 2014 and only now, in summer 2020, completed. Although it did not find anyone behind the attack, it turned the assessment of the act 180 degrees. Up until now, the assassination was considered an act of a lovesick young man, but not a right-wing terror. The fact that Gundolf Köhler trained with the right-wing extremist military sports group Hoffmann and had a picture of Hitler hanging over the bed was not taken by the investigators in 1980 as evidence of a political motive. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office sees it differently today: For them, the attack is clearly right-wing terror. Köhler wanted to influence the federal election ten days later, in which Franz Josef Strauss (CSU) ran against Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (SPD).

This new assessment is important for the victims. Because only it allows the authorities to fall back on the victim fund for victims of terrorism. It was only she who made the agreement between the federal government, the Free State and the city possible. The city of Munich will now organize the distribution of the money. And the mayor expressly wants it to be unbureaucratic. Nobody should have to beg for their money. So no more lengthy reports on the physical damage and its long-term consequences – because they are obvious after 40 years. No delay in paying out, because many of those affected are now of retirement age, their complaints are not getting any easier and they are not getting younger. Not all of the 211 people who survived the attack were injured are already living. The city of Munich still knows around 170 survivors. And they are now being written to.

In addition, there should be fixed contact persons for the victims so that they are not passed on from office to office. And the severity of the injuries should also play a role in the payment. There will be a phased procedure for this. Victim attorney Werner Dietrich had asked for something similar, but on a different financial scale.

The fund still has to go through the vote in the Bundestag, but, it is said in Berlin, one cannot imagine anyone voting against it. The city council in Munich still has to agree. But there shouldn’t be any resistance either. The money could be paid out from early 2021.

In a joint declaration on Wednesday, the federal government, the state and the city made it clear how important it is to them not to leave the victims alone. “We want to support the people who are still suffering from the consequences of the attack today. The state must be more there for those affected by right-wing extremism, racism and human hatred,” said Federal Justice Minister Lambrecht (SPD). Bavaria’s Minister of Social Affairs Trautner (CSU) said: “The Free State is taking a stand against right-wing extremism and is on the side of those affected, to whom our solidarity and our sympathy go.”


Canceled Oktoberfest: meadow without intoxication

Due to Corona, the Munich beer spectacle will not be held this Saturday. On the one hand that doesn’t matter, on the other hand it’s a shame.

In Munich the Oktoberfest is canceled due to Corona and the Oktoberfest is blooming Photo: Heinz Gebhardt / imago-images

No gunshots at noon. Nobody who counts how many blows the Mayor of Munich takes when tapping the first barrel. And no pretend teasing between the red mayor and the black prime minister. Other things will also be different in Munich on September 19, 2020, the day the Oktoberfest will not open. Nobody will wonder how it can be that less than two hours after the first beer has been served, there are already completely drunk on the roadside. And nobody will be surprised at the strange color composition of the stomach contents, which are usually left behind on the access roads to the festival area during Oktoberfest.

Hardly any English will be heard in the city, only a little Italian and the funny Chinese who buy huge felt hats before entering a beer tent, because they believe that they should be, won’t come either. Munich will stay among itself.

The city will belong to the real Munich residents. These are newcomers who drive to their expensive city apartments in their cars that are too big and who are annoyed about the delivery service for organic dog food

The city will belong to the real Munich residents. These are mainly newcomers who drive to their much too expensive downtown apartments in their cars that are far too big and are annoyed that the delivery service with organic dog food from the Loisach Valley has already come too late for their French bulldog. Most of the others don’t live in the city anyway, because they can’t afford more than a concrete shoe box in suburbs with names like Puchheim-Bahnhof, Aschheim or Feldkirchen-Westerham

They won’t meet this year. In addition, the Oktoberfest was good: that those who could afford it or whose company wanted to afford it, can take a look from their box in the beer tent at the mob in the central nave of the large beer halls. At the Oktoberfest, all of Munich meets and drinks past each other. It was always like that. And the next day, the newspaper says which celebrity put their tongue into which star’s mouth.

A possible promise of freedom

The youth belong to the meadow mob, which often has no choice but to be content with a drafty place in the open air in front of the beer tents. She is in a difficult position. A place of longing has been taken from her this year. And if it’s just a frenzy, a real Oktoberfest frenzy, something drives the young people to the big festival. It’s always been like that. Even if since the Nazi attack in 1980, which cost the lives of twelve visitors to the meadow, there has been a constant threat of terrorism over the Theresienwiese, and you are not allowed to take a bag with you on the premises since you believe you have felt the threat from Islamists, the young people have the impression that in these two magical weeks it is more permissible than usual to let yourself go without anyone saying anything. The Oktoberfest can be a promise of freedom.

The youth is called party people in the corona language of the Munich tabloids. The fact that people meet to celebrate together in the open air is almost a serious crime this summer. This people especially liked to settle in the small green area in front of the Gärtnerplatztheater not far from the Viktualienmarkt. Alcohol has not been sold within a 500 meter radius for a week. Drinking is prohibited from 11 p.m. Will Munich dry out during the Oktoberfest, of all times?

View of the empty Theresienwiese with a church in the background

Theresienwieso without Oktoberfest, sad and empty Foto: STL/imago-images

Oh where from! Only the youth are made sick of drinking. Otherwise there should be a cup of coffee. The Wirtshaus-Wiesn is diligently advertised by city marketing. On muenchen.de it says: “You will find the unique, cozy and grubby Oktoberfest feeling in Munich restaurants in 2020.” There should be something like a hygiene octoberfest in the Oktoberfest inns and other facilities in Munich’s large gastronomy.

Oktoberfest Ultra

Moses Wolff is looking forward to it. He’s a real Oktoberfest person, an Oktoberfest ultra. Oktoberfest usually lasts 16 days. The humorist and author who is well on his way to becoming a Munich Gesamtkunstwerk is then “outside” every day, as the Munich residents say, who still speak Bavarian. When the anti-terrorist measures did not prevent it, he had his own mailbox at the Hacker tent, a sky-white-blue beer cathedral with almost 7,000 seats.

For the time being, Moses Wolff will remain loyal to the hosts of the Hackerzelt, the Roiderer family. On Saturday he reserved a table in the wildlife park of Straßlach in the south of the city. There will be real Oktoberfest beer. So that is also being brewed this year. You had to pay around 12 euros for a liter at Oktoberfest last year. It should be less at the Wirtshaus-Wiesn. The mass is said to cost 10 euros in the Paulanergarten up on the Nockherberg. Moses Wolff has to think of a real bargain. He compares the special brew with the best wines in the world. “Nobody says anything when a bottle costs 60 euros.”

If anyone knows, it is Moses. What one would like to know about the Oktoberfest and much more can be found in his “Oktoberfest Handbook”, which was published last year. You can read there how the traditional costume came to be at Oktoberfest. That the lederhosen madness and dirndl madness only began in the late 90s of the last century, for example. Before that, you were allowed to get drunk without disguise. Only the dignitaries from the country and the long-established patricians of the city appeared in suits with oak leaf lapels and coin buttons. The proletarians, who drank themselves in a brawl on Mason Monday, had only scorn and ridicule for it: Raiffeisen tuxedos they called the traditional suits of the gentlemen.

In costume for the next event

The hosts of the Wirtshaus-Wiesn would be happy if the people came to their events in costume this year. If you publish a picture of yourself in a Bavarian costume on Instagram and use the hashtag # aufbrezelt2020, you can win a table at the real Oktoberfest next year. Social media and lederhosen. In Munich you move with the times. Wearing traditional costumes can be worthwhile. Anyone who buys things for 50 euros in a shop in the city center and is wearing a traditional costume will receive a voucher for half a beer. Whether there will be a Oktoberfest atmosphere.

Maybe a little, says Moses Wolff. He has a beautiful picture in mind that shows people who wander through Munich for two weeks on their way to one of the 54 restaurants that have declared themselves part of the Ersatzwiesn. He knows that this won’t really be an Oktoberfest, as he describes it in his recently published novel “Make Love”. That ends at Oktoberfest 2020, where a woman from Cologne and a hamburger, whom the Wiesngott must have determined for each other when they looked each other in the eyes at the feet of Bavaria on Theresienwiese in 1970, finally come together after 50 years. If you open the book, the smell of roasted almonds wafts into your nose and while reading you can almost taste how hoppy the Oktoberfest beer has become over the years.

In the end, you will not carry home intoxication after reading it. “We have a pandemic situation and we have to deal with it,” says Wolff, who absolutely wants to see the best in organizing at least a bit of cosiness with hop decorations, knuckles and chicken. The comedian wants to go to the first Wirtshaus-Wiesn in a brutally good mood. The year is anything but fun for someone like him who lives from live performances on small stages. 140 appearances were on his calendar for 2020 at the beginning of the year. In the end, he will not have completed 40, he says. Then he ponders again about a new costume accessory that will premiere this year, the face mask. He recently saw one with edelweiss decorations. He liked it. King Ludwig is also doing well with his mouth and nose. Well then cheers!


Ude taps with two hits plus a “handful”

WITHAt the originally planned start of the Oktoberfest, which was canceled due to the corona, it was said on Saturday at 12 noon in several inns “Ozapft is”. The former Mayor of Munich Christian Ude (SPD), at that time the tap king, stabbed the Schillerbräu in the Bahnhofsviertel – with two blows – and “a handful more”, as he said. Because the tap was not sitting properly, a puddle of beer was already forming on the floor. As a precaution, he added six more after the first two blows.

The barrel only held 20 liters – the so-called “Hirschen” at the Oktoberfest is more than ten times as big and has more than 200 liters. But it was “freshly shaken”, as Ude said. It was set up shortly before tapping – at the real Oktoberfest this happens the day before, the barrel is then no longer moved. Most recently, Ude tapped the Oktoberfest as Mayor in 2013 – with two blows. He was the first OB in the history of the Oktoberfest who had made it.

With the “WirthausWiesn”, innkeepers want to create a little Oktoberfest atmosphere in more than 50 inns by October 4th – in compliance with the Corona rules, but sometimes with brass music and Oktoberfest beer.

On the actual festival site itself, on the Theresienwiese itself, there has been an alcohol ban since the morning – this was to prevent wild Wiesn parties with an uncontrolled risk of infection.

Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD), who would otherwise have tapped the first barrel, does not celebrate on Saturday. He will think a little wistfully about the tapping, but have not planned any alternatives. He asked everyone who wanted to celebrate anyway to comply with the corona rules.


Oktoberfest: 24 failures in 210 years – Munich

Most people in Munich can’t remember the beginning of autumn without an Oktoberfest. Shortly before a rejection one seemed to be standing here and there: Once after the attacks of September 11, 2001, of course, and most recently in 2016 there were concerns after the right-wing attack on the Olympia shopping center in Munich and Islamist attacks across Europe. At that time, the Oktoberfest took place with an expensive security concept – and that stayed. There have been a few cancellations in the history of Oktoberfest, but they were all a while ago – the last more than 70 years.

1813 The fourth Oktoberfest has to be canceled because of the fighting with Napoleon. The first Oktoberfest was celebrated in 1810 – for the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

1854 After the fourth festival is canceled, the annual celebration levels off for decades. Until an epidemic spreads: At the First General German Industrial Exhibition in July 1854, cholera found fertile soil and quickly spreads in the city. The Oktoberfest is canceled to the displeasure of the hosts. At the end of September, the disease is believed to have been defeated – premature. Queen Therese, who attended a thank you service at the end of the epidemic, becomes infected and dies within a day. The Oktoberfest was once launched in her honor and the festival area is named after her. 3000 Munich residents fell victim to the epidemic this year.

1866 The Austro-Prussian War – also known as the German War -, in which Bavaria stood by Austria’s side, prevented an exuberant celebration.

1870 Again the Oktoberfest is canceled because of a war – this time because of the Franco-German War.

1873 Another outbreak of cholera is shaking the city, and again a Oktoberfest is unimaginable under these circumstances.

1914 to 1918 There is no Oktoberfest during the First World War. Only in 1919 and 1920 do Munich’s small autumn festivals celebrate, which cannot keep up with the already impressive size of the Wiesn.

Queue in front of the free bank during inflation, 1923

In 1923 there was raging inflation, people stood in long queues for food, and the Oktoberfest had to be canceled.

(Photo: Scherl / Süddeutsche Zeitung Photo)

1923 and 1924 Hyperinflation makes an Oktoberfest impossible.

1939 to 1945 Even during the Second World War there is no Oktoberfest. The first three years after the end of the war there are again small festivals as substitutes.

Lord Mayor Thomas Wimmer at Oktoberfest 1950

Good times, bad times: In 1950, Mayor Thomas Wimmer broke the first barrel, shouted “O’zapft is” and thus established a legendary tradition.

(Photo: dpa)

“Tomorrow the autumn festival comes to an end, which we hoped last year would deserve the good old name Oktoberfest this time”, writes Sigi Sommer in a column about the 1947 festival, meaningfully titled “Sadly for a laughing cabinet”, but at least with that Hopeful conclusion: “That’s life: just like a crinoline, it doesn’t hang on the above sides”. Two years later, the people of Munich can look forward to a party in old splendor and with an old name, the beer castles are rebuilt in 1949. “13,000 hl Oktoberfest beer flowed through the thirsty throats of the Oktoberfest visitors, a hundred thousand liters every day! That is only a little less than at the last peace Oktoberfest in 1938”, writes the Southgerman newspaper in November 1949. The mood is restored – and the absences due to the war and illness were a thing of the past.


Ulrich Chaussy on Oktoberfest attack: “Who covered up there and why?”

The investigation into the Oktoberfest assassination has ended. This is not enough for journalist Ulrich Chaussy. He calls for a committee of inquiry.

A coffin is carried away from the devastated crime scene at the Oktoberfest in Munich on September 26, 1980 Photo: Werek / image

taz: Mr. Chaussy, you have been dealing with the 1980 Oktoberfest attack for decades and have uncovered many inconsistencies in the investigation. The Attorney General has now stopped the investigation into the case. Was she surprised?

Ulrich Chaussy: No, I just hadn’t expected the timing. It had long been very quiet about this special Theresienwiese commission. I didn’t know if they were working diligently or if the investigation was just pending.

Are you satisfied with the result?

At least it shows me that it was not for nothing to have pointed out for decades that it was completely absurd how the assassination was classified: as an event that is not supposed to have anything to do with politics and right-wing extremism. The perpetrator Gundolf Köhler was described as a young man who was just frustrated, lovesick and had no future prospects – and therefore let the bomb go off. The new investigators did not allow themselves to be fobbed off with this psychogram of a desperate man and clearly came to the conclusion that the attack was motivated by right-wing extremists.

The former Federal Attorney General Harald Range spoke of the “most serious right-wing extremist attack in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany” back in 2014, when he had the investigation resumed.

He simply anticipated that and simply negated the results of the old investigators. But nobody had believed in anything else at the time.

The first investigations immediately after the attack were rather disastrous. One of the biggest criticisms was that the then Soko immediately shot at the thesis of the individual perpetrator. But even now, the investigators came to the conclusion that there was “insufficient evidence for accomplices or instigators”.

Of course it’s frustrating. But also logically: Today’s investigators cannot be blamed for the fact that colleagues did not do the bare minimum at the time. This is simply no longer repairable. It clearly hurts that the crucial questions are still open: Who were Koehler’s key words? Who were his contacts? The fact that these questions were choked off during the first investigations is now taking its toll.

You have before Years described how a main witness on the day of the attack a round 20 minutes permanent Köhler’s conversation with two men was observed hat. Another saw Köhler arguing with the occupants of a roadside car just before the explosion. are not “sufficient clues”?

68, is a radio journalist and has been researching the background to the Oktoberfest attack since 1982. He has already received several awards for this. In September the book “The Oktoberfest Assassination and the Double Murder of Erlangen is published. How Right-Wing Terrorism and Anti-Semitism Have Been Suppressed Since 1980 ”- an updated and expanded edition of his classic on the attack on the Oktoberfest.

Yes, in my opinion, of course. There are a few points in the conclusions that the new investigators come to that I do not want to leave as it is. For example, the hand thing.

They mean the almost undamaged severed hand that a policeman found near the scene a few hours after the detonation.

Exactly. In the first investigations it was referred to as Köhler’s hand. And the new investigators have now joined in. An explosives expert from the Federal Criminal Police Office, whom I interviewed, clearly stated that this is simply impossible from a scientific point of view.

The force of the explosion must have completely powdered Koehler’s hands. The serological analysis at the time also proved that the hand must have belonged to someone else. That requires being soundly examined.

Do you suspect that it could have been the hand of an accomplice?

I have no theory, I just want every effort to be made to find out. I’m not sure if the new Soko did that. I also found it irritating how their investigators initially behaved towards witnesses whom I had named to the federal prosecutor. The former police officer who found the hand in particular had an occurrence that showed a deep bias of the interrogating investigators. That made me frown.

The current Soko could not find that the success of investigative measures was thwarted.

The bombingat the main entrance to the Munich Oktoberfest on September 26, 1980 is considered the most serious attempt in the history of the Federal Republic. Thirteen people were killed and over 200 injured.

Investigators came to the conclusion at the time that the perpetrator, the student Gundolf Köhler, acted alone and for personal reasons. In doing so, he had close contacts with the right-wing extremist military sports group Hoffmann.

In 2014Attorney General Harald Range resumed the investigation. Now the investigation has been stopped – with the result that the crime is now classified as clearly right-wing extremist. There were no indications of accomplices.

This is simply wrong. The head of state protection at the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior, Hans Langemann, revealed the name of Köhler to a magazine immediately after the fact. When the investigators then came to his hometown Donaueschingen, everyone was warned there, including the one to whom the investigators bought the psychogram of the desperate, apolitical individual and whom they practically raised to be the key witness. This gave them all the opportunity to cover up traces, to make statements and so on. That was exactly the consequence of this betrayal of the time.

Would it be not time the Kapitel to close and the Historians to left?

For me, the question still arises: Who covered up there and why? It’s a question I wish it wouldn’t leave other people alone. Only in the case of Langemann, the ministerial official, can this be clearly stated in one person. There were even more events in the investigation at the time, which cannot be explained only with sloppiness or coincidence. This also includes the disappearance of the evidence containing DNA.

If certain traces have been systematically erased, this needs to be investigated. I want to be able to trust that after a terrorist act, all forces will try to clear it up. And if there is evidence that it is covered up instead, you have to investigate it.

But who should do that now?

It is now the hour of parliament. I would not find a committee of inquiry bad.

In the Bavarian state parliament? Or in the Bundestag?

It can be both. It was a crime that took place in Bavaria, but it also had nationwide significance. It is still the worst terrorist attack in German history.

The official classification of the act as right-wing extremist terror facilitates compensation for the victims. The SPD and the Greens have already requested a corresponding fund, just like the victim lawyer Werner Dietrich.

I support that. The best news at the end of this investigation is that the victims now know why they lost relatives here, why they suffered injuries: because this extremist potential has grown in the political arena.

Seeing and recognizing collective responsibility also means that you have to think about things now to help the victims. When the victims were most in need, they were alone. No one cared for them in the eighties, they had to see how they coped with the situation. It’s actually too late. But what can still be done now should be done.

Mayor Dieter Reiter wants the victims to be compensated from federal funds.

I would have another idea: People should continue to go to the Oktoberfest as soon as Corona allows it, celebrate and enjoy the escape from everyday life. But if you put one or two cents on the mass and chicken that are put into the victim fund, you quickly get 150,000 euros a year.

That would be a form of solidarity that also takes note of the victims. This attack could have hit everyone at the time. There is always a lot of talk and ranting about the beer price increases at the Oktoberfest. But would you know a better reason for a beer price increase?


Germany cancels Oktoberfest | The Basque newspaper

This year there will be no Oktoberfest, the popular beer festival that has been held in Munich in the autumn for more than 150 years. Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder and Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter announced on Tuesday the cancellation of the biggest popular festival in the world, with more than six million participants arrived from the four cardinal directions. In the “Wiesn”, the meadows where the gigantic festive tents are set up, “you cannot keep the minimum safety distances nor you can work with a mask,” said Söder at a press conference.

The inevitable suspension in order to stop the expansion of the coronavirus is “a bitter pill” for the city, Reiter said in turn, stressing that Munich loses 1,200 million euros in revenue due to the cancellation of the event.

The suspension of the Oktoberfest does not come by surprise. Söder already warned last week that the official announcement of that measure would come sooner rather than later and that there has been a consensus with the city’s mayor at all times. “We have valued it in a very similar way and we were both already very skeptical about whether it made sense to celebrate a party of these dimensions with its international character and in the current conditions,” said the Bavarian Prime Minister.

The Mayor of Munich commented that a third of the more than six million visitors to the beer festival comes from abroad and that all the participants crowd under the different festive tents. It would be irresponsible to allow these crowds this year, said the two politicians.