Shalom Life | May 26, 2015

After Decades of Silence from Olympics Committee, Murdered Israeli Athletes to Finally be Recognized

A first-ever IOC-supported official memorial to victims of the Munich Massacre will be erected in Munich in time for Rio 2016

By: Maayan Jaffe

Published: May 25th, 2015 in Sports » Local

After Decades of Silence from Olympics Committee, Murdered Israeli Athletes to Finally be Recognized

Photo: West German police officers attempt to enter building where PLO terrorists attacked and murdered nine Israeli Olympians of 1972 Olympics in Munich



“We have given the best years of our lives to remember—to remember the tragedy of what happened. … Now we are starting to see some light from all of our efforts.”

Such is the sentiment of Ilana Romano, widow of Israeli weightlifter Yossef Romano, who was murdered by Palestine Liberation Organization terrorists along with 10 other members of the Israeli Olympic team during the summer of 1972 Olympics in Munich, West Germany. That fateful event became known as the “Munich Massacre.”

Since then, Romano and a handful of fellow widowers have fought for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to formally recognize the massacre with a moment of silence or official memorial. While the Games went on in 1972, the tragedy was shooed under the carpet. As recently as 2012, Romano and Ankie Spitzer, the widow of another Munich Massacre victim, pressed top Olympic officials over their refusal to honor the dead with a minute of silence at the opening ceremony of that year’s London Olympics—the massacre’s 40th anniversary. No such recognition was granted.

But the playing field is starting to shift.

In time for the Rio Olympics in the summer of 2016, a first-ever IOC-supported official memorial telling the story of the Munich Massacre will be erected in Munich, on the grounds of the Olympic stadium. The memorial, whose groundbreaking ceremony will take place this summer, is being constructed at the initiative of the Bavarian government to bring a sense of closure to this 43-year drama.

Click photo to download. Caption: An unofficial tribute to the Israeli Olympians murdered at the 1972 Olympics in July 2012 in London's Trafalgar Square, coinciding with the start of that year's Summer Olympics in London. That year, the International Olympic Committee declined to grant requests for an official moment of silence for the Munich victims during the Olympics that marked the 40th anniversary of their deaths. Credit: Chesdovi via Wikimedia Commons.

An unofficial tribute to the Israeli Olympians murdered at the 1972 Olympics in July 2012 in London's Trafalgar Square, coinciding with the start of that year's Summer Olympics in London. That year, the International Olympic Committee declined to grant requests for an official moment of silence for the Munich victims during the Olympics that marked the 40th anniversary of their deaths. Credit: Chesdovi via Wikimedia Commons.

Likewise, it was recently announced that the new president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, will erect an official site at the Rio Olympics for people to go and reflect on the loss of anyone who was hurt or killed in the Olympic Games—including the 11 Israeli victims.

In anticipation of the memorial, the Foundation for Global Sports Development (GSD) will release a new documentary examining what is widely considered the first act of modern terrorism. The film, “Munich 1972 & Beyond,” will for the first time unravel why and how the attack happened, its aftermath, and its importance in 2015 and beyond. Produced by Dr. Steven Ungerleider, author of “Faust’s Gold,” and GSP President David Ulich, the film will offer new research and information—some of which Romano says she has never seen herself.

“The IOC jumping in is the biggest symbolic step at this point,” Ulich tells JNS.org, noting the 40-plus year controversy about the IOC’s level of support—or lack thereof—in remembering the victims. The IOC is among the lead sponsors of the memorial and is supportive of the film.

Continue Reading on Page 2

Israeli Judo Team Faces Discrimination in Morocco Israeli Judo Team Faces Discrimination in Morocco TrendingWATCH: Israeli, Muslim Footballers Unite For "One World, One Ball" WATCH: Israeli, Muslim Footballers Unite For "One World, One Ball" TrendingIsraeli Judo Team Detained at Moroccan Border Israeli Judo Team Detained at Moroccan Border Trending
 

Face the Music Toronto Offers A Night of Great Music, and For a Good Cause

May 26, 2015 | By Shalom Life Team
Face the Music Toronto Offers A Night of Great Music, and For a Good Cause

Proceeds from UJA's new signature charity fundraiser will support summer camp scholarships for kids in need

Read More

5,000-Year-Old Music Scene Discovered in Western Galilee

May 26, 2015 | By Daina Goldfinger
5,000-Year-Old Music Scene Discovered in Western Galilee

Israeli archaeologists excavated a symbolic cylinder seal, the oldest in existence

Read More

This Toddler Threw a Fit in Front of President Obama During a Passover Seder

May 26, 2015 | By Daina Goldfinger
This Toddler Threw a Fit in Front of President Obama During a Passover Seder

The young girl made quite a scene at the White House, captured in a photo that's obviously gone viral

Read More

1,000-year-old Jewish Marriage Contract Goes on Display in Jerusalem

May 26, 2015 | By JNS.org
1,000-year-old Jewish Marriage Contract Goes on Display in Jerusalem

Written in Aramaic, the ketubah has been dated to Nov. 28, 1023

Read More

IN PHOTOS: Israel's 2nd Annual Burning Man Festival

May 26, 2015 | By Ilana Curiel
IN PHOTOS: Israel's 2nd Annual Burning Man Festival

Over 6,500 attended Midburn Festival, celebrating art, creativity and expression; here is a recap of their experience, through a lens

Read More

Garfunkel Trash Talks Simon in New interview

May 26, 2015 | By Daina Goldfinger
Garfunkel Trash Talks Simon in New interview

Art speaks about his unhappiness with former partner Paul Simon since their split, calling him a "monster"

Read More

New Girl’s Schmidt to Star in American Horror Story

May 26, 2015 | By Daina Goldfinger
New Girl’s Schmidt to Star in American Horror Story

Max Greenfield will make an appearance in AHS Hotel in October

Read More

Israeli Cancer Survivor Gives Birth to Twins Thanks to Revolutionary Procedure

May 26, 2015 | By B. Shane Morganstein
Israeli Cancer Survivor Gives Birth to Twins Thanks to Revolutionary Procedure

"I look down at them and I still don't believe it," says 41-year-old Israeli Revital of her twins

Read More

More Headlines