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September 15, 2022 1:01 pm
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ESPN Documentary About Munich Massacre Follows Israeli Survivor of Olympic Attack and Holocaust

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

A promotional photo for “The Survivor,” a new episode of “ESPN E60.” Photo: ESPN.

A new episode of ESPN’s documentary series “E60” will profile a former Israeli athlete who survived the Holocaust when he was a child and also the terrorist attack that took place at the 1972 Olympic Summer Games in Munich, Germany, in which 11 members of Israel’s Olympic delegation were murdered.

In “The Survivor,” former Israeli race walker Shaul Ladany, 86, shares his life story from World War II to Munich and Israel, where he now lives, with reporter Jeremy Schaap, who traveled to Israel and Germany to learn more about the two-time Olympic athlete who has won five gold medals at the Maccabiah Games.

Ladany was also the recipient of the Pierre de Coubertin medal, the International Olympic Committee’s most prestigious honor, and in July he completed the Maccabiah Games half marathon in four hours and 27 minutes. He is now a professor at Ben Gurion University in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management.

As the Nazi regime attacked Ladany’s home country of Yugoslavia in 1941, a bomb fell directly on his house. Miraculously, he survived and three years later, during the Holocaust, he was deported by the Nazis to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and again survived. Twenty-eight years later on Sept. 5, 1972, at the Munich Olympics, Ladany faced death once more when the Palestinian terror group Black September broke into the athletes’ village at the Munich Olympics and kidnapped, and ultimately murdered, 11 Israeli athletes and coaches.

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“The Survivor” features archival video and news reports, as well as new interviews and reporting, to share details about what happened at the Munich Olympics through Ladany’s perspective.

Those interviewed for the documentary include former Israeli sports shooter Zelig Shtroch, who was Ladany’s roommate at the Munich Olympics and has been tormented with survivor’s guilt for 50 years; Shlomo Levy, an Israeli photojournalist who stayed in the same building as the Israeli delegation at the Olympics; and US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt.

Clips from “The Survivor” will be featured in segments on “Outside the Lines,” ESPN’s Emmy Award-winning investigative series, and the story will also be the focus of an upcoming episode of the “ESPN Daily” podcast.

“The Survivor” premiere Sept. 20, at 7:30 pm ET on ESPN and will afterwards be available on ESPN+ for on-demand streaming.

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