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People celebrating Oktoberfest and drinking beer
What To Know About The Tragic 1980 Bombing Of Oktoberfest
History - Crime
You'd never expect a terrorist attack at the lively Oktoberfest. Unfortunately, for those attending an Oktoberfest event in Munich in 1980, that is exactly what happened.
21-year-old student Gundolf Köhler put a bomb in a garbage can at Theresienwiese plaza and watched it go off in the crowd, injuring over 200 people and killing 13, Köhler included.
Köhler’s attack was one of the worst terrorist attacks on German soil since World War II. It happened nine years before east and west Germany reunited when the Berlin wall fell.
Authorities said Köhler’s actions were due to "depression, relationship problems, and exam stress," and not politically motivated. Now it seems he had ties to far-right extremists.
Köhler’s case remained closed until 2014 when authorities decided to reopen it after a witness stepped forward to talk about the terrorist attack.
Prosecutors said the witness suggested that Köhler had "co-conspirators" whom he’d worked with when he bombed Theresienwiese during Oktoberfest in Munich in 1980.
Prosecutors found Köhler had undergone military training with neo-Nazi paramilitary group Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann, and he had a telltale poster of Adolf Hitler above his bed.
The case was closed in 2019. Despite learning of Köhler’s far-right leanings, openDemocracy said "the motivation for this bombing remains as yet an unresolved question."