Tenacious Munich massacre widow fights on
Ankie Spitzer to IOC: It’s not yet July 27 – you can still hold moment of silence in London.
Ankie Spitzer Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
The widow of an Israeli fencing coach murdered at the 1972 Olympics said on
Tuesday she still hoped a moment of silence would be observed at the opening of
the London Olympics in memory of the terrorists’ victims.
whose husband, Andre Spitzer, was taken hostage and killed in a shootout between
German police and Palestinian gunmen in Munich, said she hoped the International
Olympic Committee would reverse its decision not to mention him and the other 10
slain Israeli sportsmen at the opening ceremony set to take place in London on
“For 40 years we have asked the international committee to honor
the memory of our fathers and sons, and they have had all sorts of lame excuses,
but Ilana Romano [widow of murdered weightlifter Yossef Romano] and I have
worked hard together [for a memorial to be held].”
She added: “It’s not
the 27th of July yet!” International pressure has been mounting on the
International Olympic Committee to mark the anniversary of the attack carried
out by members of Black September. Israel, Germany, Australia and other
countries have officially asked the committee to hold a moment of silence, but
it has rejected such pleas, saying the venue was inappropriate.
the scenes there is worry a memorial might be construed as being political and
lead to protests by Israel’s foes.
Memorials for the athletes who died in
Munich were held outside the Games in Athens in 2004 and in Beijing in 2008, but
both were organized by the Israel Olympic Committee, the State of Israel and the
families of the victims, Spitzer said. She said she felt personally aggrieved
that those ceremonies were held at locations such as the Israeli Embassy in
Athens, and not at the Olympic village. “[The murdered Israeli athletes] weren’t
accidental tourists,” she said.
A memorial is is set to take place at
Guildhall in London’s financial district on August 6. “It’s a really
beautiful hall, but I could not care less,” said Spitzer. “It’s not in the
village where they were killed.”
The wife of the slain fencing master
said the International Olympic Committee has honored deceased sportsmen at
opening ceremonies before. She cited the moment of silence observed at the
ceremony for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games for Georgian luger Nodar
Kumaritashvili, who died in a training accident earlier in the day.
death] clearly casts a shadow over these Games,” a teary-eyed IOC President
Jacques Rogge said at the time.
So far the committee, still headed by
Rogge, has been adamant in its refusal to hold a moment of silence for the
For Spitzer, the reasons for the IOC’s position is
clear and simple.
“I call it discrimination,” she said. “Because they
came from Israel and they are Jews, that’s why they are not being remembered.