A push from the widows of two of the eleven Israelis killed at the 1972 Olympics Games in Munich, to honor the dead through a moment of silence or a mention in the opening remarks from the President of the International Olympic Committee in London this summer, has been turned down by the IOC.
We want the International Olympic Committee … with all 10,000 young athletes in front of them, to say: ‘Let us not forget what happened in Munich’. (We want this) only for one reason, so it will never happen again,” said Ankie Spitzer. Spitzer’s husband Andre was one of the Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian terrorists in Munich. A German police officer and 5 of the Palestinian terrorists were also killed.
The IOC however, which participates in commemorating the 1972 hostage taking through events organized by outside groups, does not wish to address the incident during the opening ceremonies, 40 years afterwards.
Israel’s IOC member, Alex Gilady says he hopes the time will come that an official commemoration takes place, but he’s not sure this year is appropriate.
“I’m not sure what is so special about the number 40. I was sure that the number four was much more critical. The Israeli Olympic Committee, at the time in Montreal in 1976, could have demanded a memorial and they didn’t ask for a memorial then; not in 1980 … not in ’84 when in Los Angeles this would have been almost definite … to happen; not in ’88, not in ’92,” he said.
The IOC says it’s concerned that Arab nations will take offense if the 1972 murders are commemorated during the opening ceremonies.
“They tell us that the Arab delegations will get up and leave, to which I said: ‘It’s okay, if they don’t understand what the Olympics are all about, let them leave,’” Ms. Spitzer said.
The IOC confirmed that president Jacques Rogge will attend an event in London to commemorate what happened in Munich.
“One thing is certain: We will never forget,” the IOC said in a statement.