On September 5, 1972, what has historically been a chance for the nations of the earth to come together in peace and friendship — the Olympics — was thrown into chaos when Palestinian terrorists captured and murdered 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team. The Jewish Press' Forest Rain tells us about this tragedy that has become known as the Munich Massacre, as well as how it has shaped our views on the fight against terrorism:
PLO Black September terrorists broke into the Olympic Compound, taking 11 Israeli athletes hostage. During the 22 hour standoff, the hostages were beaten. Champion weightlifter Yossef Romano who had tried to fight off the terrorists and save his friends was shot, castrated and left to bleed to death in front of the other, helpless, hostages.
The German authorities failed to rescue the hostages and, in the end, came the words of Jim McKay, the anchor for ABC’s Olympics Coverage:
“When I was a kid my father used to say ‘Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized.’ Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They have now said there were 11 hostages; two were killed in their rooms yesterday morning, nine were killed at the airport tonight. They’re all gone.”
Repeated attempts to give the athletes the recognition they are due, have fallen on deaf ears. In 2012, in honor of the 40th anniversary of this tragic event, organizations, communities, families from around the world sought recognition of this event by requesting that the International Olympic Committee approve 1 minute of silence in their memory at the opening ceremony of the 2012 games. The request was denied...
In Munich, it was Moshe Weinberg who, sensing the danger, threw himself up against the door, screaming at his friends to escape before the terrorists could enter. Gad Zavarj survived because Moshe blocked the terrorists, giving him enough time to jump out of the window. Yossef Gutfreund did the same, blocking the door so his roommates could escape.
Their legacy is not the ugly death at the hands of vile terrorists, their legacy is the sublime gift of life they gave their friends.
It is up to each and every one of us to remind first ourselves, and then the rest of the world that Munich was the beginning, not the end of terrorism spectacles. First came Munich, then came hijackings, then came 9/11, bombings, car rammings and knife attacks. London, Paris, Bali, India, Mombasa and Russia. What terrorists did to their victims in the Bataclan is what they learned from what the Black September terrorists did to Yossef Romano.
What starts with the Jews does not end with the Jews.
The horror of the Munich Massacre is not an Israeli problem or even a Jewish problem. It’s a human problem...