Munich widows make final call for silent moment

Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano will once again ask IOC President to grant the minute during the opening ceremony of the London Games.

July 25, 2012 04:41
2 minute read.
Campaign for silent moment for Munich victims

Campaign for Olympic moment of silence for Munich victims 37. (photo credit: Courtesy Zionist Federation UK)

LONDON – With only two days until the opening of the 2012 London Olympics, two Munich Olympic widows will make a final call to the International Olympic Committee to hold a public minute of silence for the 11 Israelis murdered at the 1972 Games.

Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano – whose husbands, fencing coach Andrei Spitzer and weightlifter Yossef Romano, were killed by terrorists along with nine of their teammates – will again ask IOC President Jacque Rogge to grant the minute during the opening ceremony of the London Games on Friday.

Olympic officials have been criticized for refusing to hold a minute’s silence for victims of Munich massacre at opening ceremony on Friday.

The widows were scheduled to present Rogge and the IOC on Tuesday evening with a petition that has gathered more than 103,000 signatures requesting the organization honor the memory of the men with a minute of silence.

The petition was started by Spitzer and Romano in conjunction with the Jewish Community Center of Rockland County, New York, and has sparked an outpouring of support from around the world, including legislative and government action in Israel, the US, Canada, Australia, Italy, the UK, Germany and others.

US President Barack Obama is supportive of the call to honor the slain athletes.

The Jewish Community Center has been working closely with Spitzer, Romano and the Munich 11 families for the past two years, pushing for a commemoration at Friday’s opening ceremony.

The families of the Munich 11 have been asking the IOC to commemorate the deaths of their loved ones since the atrocity took place 40 years ago. They have been rejected every time. The IOC has claimed to do so would bring politics into the Olympics.

Earlier this week, Rogge said the opening ceremony is “an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident.”

With only two days to go, Spitzer and Romano want to impress upon IOC officials that they can change their decision and honor the men.

On Monday, the IOC paid a surprise tribute to the Israeli athletes killed at the 1972 Games, marking the event for the first time in an Olympic village. However it drew criticism from the victim’s families who said an unannounced minute of silence in London was a public relations stunt aimed at deflecting criticism against IOC.

On Sunday, London Mayor Boris Johnson unveiled a plaque near the Olympic village to honor the Munich victims.

The Zionist Federation of the UK has organized its own minute of silence. The ‘Minute for Munich’ memorial service will be streamed live via a webcast on Friday.

There will also be an impromptu memorial service in Trafalgar Square in central London organized by private individuals.

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