Israeli athlete and Holocaust survivor in spat over Munich 1972 memorial

Olympic athlete Shaul Ladany survived the Holocaust and then, 30 years later, the 1972 Munich attacks.

Munich olympic athlete and Holocaust survivor Shaul Paul Ladany (photo credit: GFDL)
Munich olympic athlete and Holocaust survivor Shaul Paul Ladany
(photo credit: GFDL)
A bitter row over travel costs and an invitation to an Israeli athlete for the commemoration the Palestinian terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics in 1972 has engulfed memorial events planned for September.
“I’m mad. First, I didn’t know there would be an act of commemoration. I had only heard rumors and then [I] contacted the Bavarian Culture Ministry. Almost every day I think about what took place in Munich and what I went through,” Shaul Paul Ladany, a two-time Israeli Olympian, told Bavarian Broadcasting 24 on Monday.
According to German newspaper Bild, after Ladany received an invitation to attend the memorial event, Bavaria’s Culture Ministry refused to cover Ladany’s flight costs in the amount of $811. The paper reported on Tuesday that in order to save face, a spokesman for Culture Minister Ludwig Spaenle from the Christian Social Union party, announced: “We will cover the flight costs for Shaul Ladany.”
The September 6 event will inaugurate a new memorial for the 11 Israeli athletes and a German police officer who were murdered by terrorists at the games in 1972.
Ladany managed to escape from the apartment complex where the Palestinian terrorists kidnapped Israeli sportsmen. As a young boy, Ladany, who was born in 1936, survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
A retired professor of industrial engineering and management at Ben-Gurion University, Landany, who was born in the former Yugoslavia, maintains the world record title in the 50 mile walk, and holds the Israeli national record in the 50 km. walk.
The spat over the invitation involves Ladany’s participation in one of two events to commemorate the acts of terrorism on September 5 and 6. The Bavarian state declined to invite Ladany to the remembrance event for family members of the dead victims. President Reuven Rivlin is expected to attend the family event. Ladany was invited to the second event where 200 guests are expected to attend. Bild reported that Spaenle said two years ago: “We want to restore the dignity to all of the victims of the attack.”