Israeli families of 1972 Munich Olympics victims to boycott ceremony-Bild

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BERLIN (Reuters) - The families of Israeli athletes murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics plan to boycott a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the attack in a row with German authorities over compensation, Bild newspaper reported on Thursday.

Widows of the victims wrote to the premier of the state of Bavaria, saying: "50 years of insults, lies, humiliation and rejection by the German government and especially the Bavarian authorities are more than enough", Bild said, citing the letter.

An official ceremony is planned for Sept. 5 in Munich. A spokesperson for Germany's interior ministry said it would like the families to take part.

Reuters was unable to immediately contact any of the widows of the victims. Nobody at the Bavarian government was available to comment.

On Sept. 5, 1972, members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage at the poorly secured athletes’ village by Palestinian gunmen from the Black September group.

Within 24 hours, 11 Israelis, five Palestinians and a German policeman were dead after a standoff and subsequent rescue effort erupted into gunfire.

A spokesperson for Germany's interior ministry said the government had intensified its work on remembering the victims and the deep human and political dimension of the attack as the 50th anniversary approached.

Since the end of the Holocaust and World War Two, Berlin has felt a special responsibility towards Israel.

The families are also in talks with the government about compensation.

"The government, state of Bavaria and city of Munich have decided to offer families more than the payments (that have) already been made," said the spokesperson, adding it regretted that no agreement had yet been reached.

"(The government) stresses its willingness to continue the talks," said the spokesperson.

Ilana Romano, wife of weightlifter Joseph Romano who was one of the victims, asked last month about the compensation offer, told Israeli radio station 103fm: "It's humiliating. It won't help them. We will boycott the ceremony. Maybe they will learn the hard way."

(Additional reporting by Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Reporting by Madeline Chambers)