Oktoberfest Bombing Under Review Officials Ignored Right-Wing Extremist Links

Thirty-one years after the 1980 Oktoberfest bomb attack, officials have reopened the case. Previously unknown documents reviewed by SPIEGEL show that the perpetrator, allegedly a lone wolf, was involved with the neo-Nazi scene and Bavarian conservatives. But the unwelcome clues were likely ignored.

By Tobias von Heymann and


The first booths were already open and a brass band was playing when a group of serious-looking people gathered at Munich's Oktoberfest in late September.

Tears were flowing, and some quietly placed red flowers at the entrance to the Theresienwiese, the site of the annual beer festival. They had come to commemorate their loved ones, their parents, siblings and spouses, who were murdered at this spot exactly 31 years ago, in the worst terrorist attack in postwar German history. Thirteen died and more than 200 people were injured.

Robert Platzer, one of the survivors, was 12 at the time. "I saw a young man bending over a waste basket at the entrance," he recalls. "It was as if he were trying to lift something heavy with both hands." At that moment, a bomb exploded in the young man's hands. Platzer witnessed the deaths of two of his siblings, whose bodies were ripped apart and hurled through the air.

At the commemoration ceremony politicians from all major parties vowed to reopen the case. Before that, the Bavarian state parliament had already adopted a nonpartisan resolution to resume the investigation.

Too man