News and Media


18th Israel Maccabiah Remembers Munich Terror Victims

Over 1,000 Jewish athletes, families, coaches, staff and administrators of the 18th Maccabiah Games in Israel took part in a memorial ceremony to remember the 11 Israel Olympians who were murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics.(The Maccabiah is the world´s largest and best Jewish athletic competition in the tradition and values of Maccabi, emphasizing the centrality of the State of Israel in the life of the Jewish People.The principal mission of the Maccabiah is to facilitate a worldwide gathering of young Jewish athletes in Israel, staging the highest possible levels of sports competitions, and strengthening their connection to the State of Israel and the Jewish People.)

The “Munich Massacre” took place during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, when members of the Israel Olympic team were taken hostage and murdered by Black September, an Islamic terror organization.

The terrorist group had murdered eleven Israel athletes and coaches and one West German police officer. Israel responded to the massacre with Operation Spring of Youth and Operation Wrath of God, a series of airstrikes and assassinations of those terrorists which planned the killings.

Those murdered were Moshe Weinberg (wrestling coach), Yossef Romano (weightlifter), Ze’ev Friedman (weightlifter), David Berger (weightlifter), Yakov Springer (weightlifting judge), Eliezer Halfin (wrestler), Yossef Gutfreund (wrestling referee), Kehat Shorr (shooting coach), Mark Slavin (wrestler), Andre Spitzer (fencing coach), Amitzur Shapira (track coach) and Anton Fliegerbauer a German police officer.

Jeanne Futeran, President of the Maccabi World Union addressed those attending the memorial.

“The true reality of Munich is terribly hard to imagine. Perhaps we do not want to imagine the horrible reality that befell Jewish athletes in Munich. From the outside, we know what happened, but we can never know what happened inside, inside the hearts and minds and souls of our athletes we feel we need to know, but that is what we cannot, or do not want to imagine.

Those who came to Munich in the innocence of peace all deserved to live, the 11 who died and the 5 who survived, and the policeman who was murdered, they all deserved to live. They deserve the grace of our remembrance.

We must cherish their memory in our hearts.
As long as we remember them, evil wins no victory.
It is our duty, and that is the truth, those are the only true lessons of Munich.”

During the Maccabiah Munich Memorial which took place in Tel Aviv, dozens of candles were lit and flowers were placed at the memorial site on Weizman Street.

The Maccabiah Munich memorial ended with the Yiskor, reciting the prayer for the dead and the singing of the Israel national anthem – Hatikva. (By Joel Leyden, Israel News Agency)