Remembering the Munich Massacre

Stand for Israel  |  September 5, 2022

Israelis remember victims of 1972 Munich Massacre
(Photo: Flash90)

The Munich Massacre was fifty years ago, on September 5, 1972, when Palestinian terrorists — members of the group “Black September” — climbed the fence surrounding the Olympic Village in Munich, Germany, site of the summer Olympics that year.

The terrorists took 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage, demanding the release of 200 Arab prisoners and safe passage out of Germany in exchange for the athletes’ lives. Authorities took the terrorists and nine remaining hostages (two had been killed trying to defend themselves in the initial attack) to a NATO air base in Fürstenfeldbruck near Munich, and promised them safe passage to Cairo.

German sharpshooters were waiting at the air base. In the bitter gun battle that ensued, terrorists murdered the remaining Israeli athletes.

The American sportscaster Jim McKay, in Germany to cover the games, stayed on the air for hours as the drama unfolded on live television. In perhaps one of the most heartrending moments in broadcast journalism, McKay later soberly announced to viewers, “You know, 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’ve now said that there were eleven hostages. Two were killed in their rooms yesterday morning, nine were killed at the airport tonight. They’re all gone.”

The Munich Massacre was yet another horrific example of implacable hatred in action: hatred that fanatical terrorists hold for Jews and Israelis. Whenever you hear someone decrying and scorning Israel’s attempts to defend her people both at home and abroad, think of the men pictured above and listed below, the victims of Munich, who had come to the games like athletes from around the world only to represent and bring pride to their their nation in fair competition. And pray for an end to the despicable anti-Semitic hatred that led to their deaths, and that terrorists who perpetrate such acts will be brought to justice.

David Berger, weightlifter
Ze’ev Friedman, weightlifter
Yossef Gutfreund, wrestling referee
Eliezer Helfin, wrestler
Yossef Romano, weightlifter
Amitzur Shapira, track coach
Kehat Shorr, shooting coach
Mark Slavin, wrestler
Andre Spitzer, fencing coach
Yakov Springer, weightlifting judge
Moshe Weinberg, wrestling coach

May their memories be a blessing.