Germany sets up fund for victims of 1980 Oktoberfest bombing

BERLIN (AP) — The German government is setting up a 1.2 million-euro ($1.4 million) fund to help survivors of a deadly far-right attack on Munich’s Oktoberfest in 1980, in what the justice minister described Wednesday as a belated but important signal of solidarity.

Thirteen people were killed, including three children, and more than 200 wounded when a bomb exploded at the Oktoberfest on the evening of Sept. 26, 1980. The dead included the attacker, student Gundolf Koehler, a supporter of a banned far-right group.

The justice ministry said the fund, to which the federal and Bavarian state governments as well as the city of Munich will contribute, will be open to those “immediately affected” by the attack. It is part of the 2021 budget which was approved by the Cabinet Wednesday and will now go to parliament.

An initial investigation of the attack, in which Koehler was found to have acted alone, was closed in 1982. But in 2014, federal prosecutors said they were looking at the matter again after a previously unknown witness surfaced.

In July, prosecutors said the witness’ indications that there may have been co-conspirators hadn’t been corroborated, and closed the new probe.

The investigation also didn’t support the idea that members of any far-right groups were involved in any criminally relevant way in the attack. There is no question mark over Koehler’s own far-right motivation, prosecutors said.

Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said the suffering of victims was worsened by “many years of uncertainty” and the lack of earlier official recognition that it was a far-right attack. She said authorities “want to send a late, but nevertheless important signal of solidarity.”

“We want to support people who are still suffering today from the consequences of the attack,” Lambrecht said in a statement. “The state must stand up more for those affected by right-wing extremism, racism and hatred.”

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