JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli and German air force jets flew side-by-side over the former Dachau concentration camp on Tuesday as a tribute to the Jews and other victims who were murdered there during the Holocaust.
The moving flyby was one of several exercises marking the first time Israeli jets have ever entered German airspace.
The historic moment was captured on camera.
This is history.
The moment the Israeli Air Force, led by Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, entered into German airspace for the first time ever & was welcomed by the Luftwaffe Commander, Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhatz: pic.twitter.com/CSkFBXnkzE
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) August 17, 2020
“On behalf of the German Air Force, it is an honor for me to welcome the Israeli Air Force entering German airspace for the first time in history,” Luftwaffe Commander, Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhatz said.
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Two Israeli F-16s and two German Eurofighters escorted an Israeli Air Force Gulfstream G-550 carrying the commanders of both air forces over the camp.
The Commander of the Israeli Air Force, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, said the flyby over Dachau symbolized the promise for a future.
“While remembering the darkness of the past, we carry on our wings a shared commitment to the future forever and ever. Flying together above the valley of darkness, making room for only light ahead as we vow: never again,” he said.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) August 18, 2020
A German-Israeli delegation visited the concentration camp and laid wreaths at the memorial site.
"It is by the grace of history that today we can enjoy such close cooperation in a spirit of trust between the Israeli and German armed forces. From this, let us draw the strength to continue our commitment to the security of both our nations and to defending the universal values of freedom and human dignity that were betrayed so cruelly and terribly in this place,” said German Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
The jets also flew over the Fuerstenfeldbruck airport in honor of the 11 Israeli athletes who were murdered in the Munich massacre attack during the 1972 summer Olympics.
Two Israeli athletes were killed and another nine taken hostage by the Palestinian group Black September from the Olympic Village on Sept. 5, 1972. During a failed rescue attempt at the airfield by German police, the remaining athletes, along with five of their captors and a West German police officer, were killed.
The Israeli Jets that participated in the flyby are part of a group of six F-16s, two Gulfstreams, and two Boeing 707 tanker jets that arrived in Germany on Monday for two weeks of exercises. A total of 180 Israeli personnel were involved.
This story was originally published on August 19, 2020.