Operation Thunderbolt


Length: vol. 52 min and vol. 43 min
Format: HD 16:9
Language: German, French
Directed by: Thomas Ammann
DoP: Danny Barnea, David Charpentier, Uli Fischer, Klaus Sturm
TV co-producer: ZDF/ARTE, WDR
Year: 2009

On 3rd July 1976 a daring military operation is launched in Entebbe, Uganda, that is to change Israel forever. Israeli air force commandos free over a hundred hostages, most of them Israeli citizens, from their captivity by a German-Palestinian terror group. It was Israel’s answer to the aeroplane hijacking, which had awakened uneasy memories of the Holocaust. …

On 27th June the German terrorists Wilfried Böse and Brigitte Kuhlmann, as well as two Palestinians, had hijacked an Air France aeroplane and taken it from Tel Aviv to Paris. With 248 passengers and 12 crew on board, they flew them on to Entebbe. On the fourth day of the hostage-taking a macabre event took place:

the German terrorists carried out a selection process among the hostages. Jews with Israeli passports were selected and put in a separate room. Some of the hostages were survivors from German concentration camps under the Nazis. The Israeli government and its soldiers bet everything on one card and won. The return of the liberated hostages to Tel Aviv became a triumphant victory parade. The retribution carried out resulted in a wave of national exaltation. Israel had triumphed and overcome a trauma. Entebbe symbolised the end of a collective feeling of powerlessness.

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