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CRIME

Mummified baby found in cellar

A woman in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate has found the mummified body of a baby in her cellar, police said on Tuesday.

Mummified baby found in cellar
Photo: DPA

She alarmed police in Ludwigshafen last week, who said they did not believe there had been foul play involved.

The owner of the building had been cleaning the cellar in the town of Freisbach when she made the disturbing discovery, police spokeswoman Simone Eisenbarth told regional daily Die Rheinpfalz.

During their investigation police located the 22-year-old mother, who admitted she hid the baby in the cellar after its birth in the summer of 2008.

“She lived in the house at the time when the baby was born,” Eisenbarth told the paper.

She told police that she did not know she was pregnant before the birth, and that it had not survived.

A police autopsy was unable to determine whether the child was stillborn, but it also showed no signs of violence, the paper said.

The woman told police that she had an emotional connection with the newborn, which is why she hid its body in the cellar, Eisenbarth said.

Police have turned the case over to state prosecutors in Landau, the paper said. If they see no grounds for further investigation the file will be closed.

Gruesome cases of infanticide and child abandonment have haunted Germany in recent years.

The most notorious case involved a woman jailed for 15 years in 2006 for the manslaughter of eight babies. Sabine Hilschenz, a divorced, unemployed and alcoholic dental assistant from a depressed area of eastern Germany, hid the corpses in buckets, flowerpots and an old fish tank at her parents’ home.

In October, the remains of four babies were found in a Berlin apartment following the suicide of their alleged mother. Later the same month a man’s dog found a dead infant along Munich’s Isar River bank.

The Local/ka

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

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.

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