A joint drill by the Israeli and German air forces on Tuesday included a historic flyover above the Dachau concentration camp and Munich, in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.
Two Israeli F-16s and two German Eurofighters escorted an Israeli Air Force Gulfstream G-550 carrying the commanders of both air forces—Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin and chief of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz—over the camp memorial outside Munich, while a third Eurofighter filmed the formation from the sky.
As the Israeli fighter jets approached the Dachau site, Norkin said, “From the past’s memory of darkness we carry on our wings a future obligation, forever and ever.”
Then the flyover passed above the Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base, where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were murdered during the 1972 Summer Olympics in a terrorist attack carried out by the Black September Palestinian terrorist group.
At the end of the aerial maneuver, a formal memorial service was conducted at the Dachau camp, with German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff in attendance.
Among the Israeli delegation members were descendants of Holocaust survivors, including Maj. Y, deputy commander of the IAF’s 109th Squadron, who is a grandson of a Dachau survivor.
The military drill, dubbed Blue Wings 2020, will extend over two weeks and is being held as part of the Multinational Air Group exercise, which sees air forces from NATO and allied states engage in maneuvers.
It was the first joint exercise between the IAF and German Air Force to take place on German soil, and the only international exercise that the IAF is conducting abroad this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The German Air Force held joint exercises in Israel last fall.
According to an IAF statement from earlier in the week, the purpose of the exercise was to continue enhancing the IAF’s capabilities, maintain its readiness to contend with various scenarios and to continue strengthening its bonds and cooperation with allied air forces.