German president to meet with Munich survivors

In the course of his state visit to Israel, Gauck will meet with surviving members of Israel’s 1972 Olympic team.

May 28, 2012 03:20
2 minute read.

GERMAN PRESIDENT Joachim Gauck. (photo credit: Reuters)


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While the International Olympic Committee continues in its refusal to hold a minute of silence at the upcoming London games for victims of the massacre of Israeli sportsmen carried out by members of the PLO at the 1972 Munich Olympics, German President Joachim Gauck is displaying more sensitivity.

In the course of his state visit to Israel, which starts on Monday, Gauck will meet with surviving members of Israel’s 1972 Olympic team, and possibly with relatives of the 11 who were murdered by terrorists who infiltrated the Olympic village and the building assigned to the Israeli contingent.

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The eight terrorists killed two of the Israelis and took nine others hostage.. After protracted negotiations, the nine were killed during an airport shootout between the terrorists and German police.

The trauma of the Munich massacre continues to haunt Israel’s Olympic Committee and its current Olympians.

But more than anyone else (other than the families of the victims), it haunts the athletes who were there.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the massacre, and requests by the families of the victims, as well as by members of Israel’s Olympic Committee and government representatives, for a moment of silence at the start of the London games have all been refused.

Gauck will be given a full military welcome by President Shimon Peres on Monday, after which he will travel from the president’s official residence to Mount Herzl to lay a wreath on the tomb of Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl. He will then continue to Yad Vashem, after which he will have lunch with internationally acclaimed author David Grossman, whose son Uri was killed in the Second Lebanon War.

In the afternoon Gauck will meet with members of Israel’s 1972 Olympic team, after which he will meet with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and with opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich before returning to the president’s residence for a state dinner that Peres is hosting in his honor.

On Wednesday Gauck is scheduled to visit the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, after which he will have lunch with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. In the afternoon he will honor celebrated German-born industrialist Stef Wertheimer by presenting him with the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit.

In the early evening he will meet with Holocaust survivors and German expatriates living in Israel at the St.

Charles Hospice in the capital’s German Colony neighborhood.

Before returning home on Thursday, Gauck will visit Ramallah to hold discussions with the Palestinian leadership.

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