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OFFBEAT

Drowned man encased wife’s head in concrete

A German pensioner strangled his wife, dismembered her body and encased her head in concrete before dumping the remains in suitcases in an Austrian lake and drowning himself, Austrian authorities said Tuesday.

Drowned man encased wife's head in concrete
Police in Austria search Lake Traun. Photo: DPA

A passer-by on Sunday discovered bobbing in Lake Traun in western Austria a first suitcase containing human remains, and a police dog then found a second one.

Police divers then found a third bag containing her head encased in concrete as well as the body of a man. The remains were identified as that of a woman aged around 70.

The man, whose body was found in around five metres (15 feet) of water, had two bags attached to his wrists containing “commercially available granite stones” and “personal tools,” Austrian police said.

Autopsies suggested that the woman was strangled between December 25 and January 1 and that the man drowned some time later. There was no indication of involvement by a third party.

“We believe first and foremost that (the man's death) was suicide,” state prosecutor Birgit Ahamer told a news conference.

The man and woman were later identified as a couple in their 70s from near Frankfurt in western Germany.

 

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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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