New information has surfaced concerning the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Olympic Games held in Munich, Germany. Guri Weinberg, whose father Moshe was an Israeli wrestling coach killed at the Games, recounted on FoxNews.com, the details of the massacre and his family’s attempt to institute a commemorative minute of silence at various Olympic events since the Games in Munich.
Weinberg describes a meeting that he attended with Alex Gilady, of the IOC’s Radio and Television Committee (at the time), that was held before the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Gilady informed the Weinberg family that it was not possible to hold a minute of silence in Atlanta because it would force the IOC to commemorate the Palestinians who died in Munich.
“My mother said ‘but no Palestinian athletes died’” wrote Weinberg. “Gilady responded ‘Well there were [non-athlete] Palestinians who died at the 1972 Olympics.’ I heard one of the widows say to Gilady ‘Are you equating the murder of my husband to the terrorists that killed him?’” recalled Weinberg.
That exchange was followed by a horrifying response from Ilana Romano, widow of Israeli weightlifter Yossef Romano, recalls Weinberg. “How DARE you!..They let him lay there for hours, dying slowly, and then finished him off by castrating him and shoving it in his mouth!” shouted Mrs. Romano, in a response that Weinberg says “has haunted me to this day.”
Mr. Weinberg’s account was written in response to the identical drama that played out this year preceding the opening of the Summer Olympics in London. Calls by the victims’ families for a commemorative moment of silence that were joined by diplomats from America, Israel, Germany, Italy and elsewhere, failed to convince the IOC to hold a minute of silence at the Games’ Opening Ceremonies that occurred last Friday. Instead, the Ceremonies featured two other moments of silence, one acknowledging the victims of the 7/7 2005 London Bombing, and the other generically honoring the war dead of all nations.
Weinberg’s account also follows the release of new information that has now surfaced, forty years after the massacre transpired. In June, a 2,000 page Berlin police file written after the events in Munich was released due to pressure from Der Speigel, a German investigative weekly paper. The police report says that neo-Nazis, notably German detective novelist Willi Voss, aided Fatah terrorist group the Black September in planning and carrying out the attacks on the Israeli athletes.
The documents include correspondence between local police in Dortmund and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, and reveal that Voss had met with “Saad Walli,” an alias of Black September leader Abu Daoud. According to Der Speigel, Voss provided the Palestinians with fake credentials, including passports, and aided the terrorists in obtaining weapons, which may have been used in the attacks themselves. He also drove the Palestinians around Germany to meet with various co-conspirators.
In a recent interview with Ha’aretz, Voss claimed innocence, eschewing the term neo-Nazi and avowing that he was ignorant of his Palestinian acquaintances’ motives. “I have no idea what they talked about, since I did not speak Arabic,” Voss said. “Only in retrospect was I informed that the point of these drives was preparing a terrorist attack,” which he claims he found out about on TV “like everyone else.” However, Ha’aretz notes that Voss’ words should be taken with a grain of salt, because more intelligence material has yet to be released.
Another revelation of the recently released police report is that German authorities were warned of the attacks a month before the start of the Games. The German embassy in Beirut reported that the “Palestinian side…planned an event,” and the information was passed four days later to the federal domestic intelligence agency’s office in Bavaria, with the recommendation “to take all possible steps in the framework of security preparation.”
The intelligence reports were followed by public warnings; on September 2, just days before the attack, the Italian magazine Gente wrote that Black September terrorists planned “a sensational action in the Olympic games.” Nevertheless, the security officials at the Games failed to adequately address the concerns, allowing the terrorists to simply climb over the village’s six ft. barrier armed with Ak-47s and take the Israelis hostage.
That failure to protect the athletes, according to Weinberg, was all the more egregious, because the IOC had nixed a PLO request for a Palestinian delegation to the Olympics, “yet, having incited the PLO, the IOC denied the Israeli government’s request for security for the athletes,” Weinberg wrote. Abu Iyad, one of the co-founders of the PLO, has in fact said publicly that the 1972 Olympics were chosen for the attacks because the Palestinians were denied an Olympic team.