Memorial to Israel’s Olympic athletes murdered in Munich dedicated

by | Sep 25, 2017 | Other News

A decades-long injustice to the memory of Israel’s Olympic athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games was rectified this month with the dedication of a permanent memorial to their memory in the very same Munich Olympic Park, where those devastating events took place.

Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, widows of fencing coach Andrei Spitzer and weight lifter Yossef Romano, fought tirelessly for this kind of recognition, and have become the leading representatives of all of the surviving family members. It comes a year after the International Olympic Committee finally recognized the murdered Israelis in the Olympic Village at last year’s games in Rio de Janeiro. They created a unique transferable, memorial that will travel every four years to each Olympic site.

The JCC Movement played an important part in the enormous effort that ultimately yielded this long sought recognition.

In 2012, the JCC Maccabi Games® was hosted by JCC Rockland. Rockland’s CEO, David Kirschtel, and his JCC’s leadership began an initiative intended to push the International Olympic Committee (IOC) into holding a minute of silence during the opening ceremonies of that summer’s Olympic Games in London.

An online petition begun by the JCC generated more than 112,000 signatures, as well as a great deal of publicity and press, drawing the support of then-President Barack Obama and Republican presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney. Though the IOC remained unmoved, the petition left its mark. On the night of the opening ceremonies, Bob Costas, NBC’s voice of the Olympic Games, held his own 12-second silence for the Munich 11—an eternity on live television—as the Israeli delegation marched into the Olympic Stadium.

For Spitzer, Romano and any number of others, these efforts and others like them, were instrumental in bringing about the memorial dedication in Munich.

Remembering the Munich 11 was made possible through the efforts of countless community members working together. It is this profound commitment to community that is at the heart of every JCC experience.