Families of Munich 11 appeal for permanent commemoration

"We must all condemn terror over every stage," says Ilana Romano, widow of Yossef Romano.

munich victims 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
munich victims 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
BEIJING - In an emotional ceremony in Beijing in memory of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the Munich Olympics, the widows of Yossef Romano and Yakov Springer appealed to the International Olympic Committee to officially commemorate the terrorist attack during each Summer Games. Ilana Romano and Ankie Springer spoke of the lesson that can be learned from the murder of the 11 athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics and said that the IOC must stop ignoring the death of their husbands. "We have come here today to tell the IOC that it is time it commemorate the memory of the 11 victims. We must all condemn terror over every stage," said Romano at the ceremony which was held at Hilton Beijing and was jointly hosted by the Israeli Embassy in Beijing and the Olympic Committee of Israel. "For us it seems as if it's yesterday," Spitzer said of that terrible day 36 years ago. "Our mission is to remind the world of what happened in Munich. We should have had this memorial in front of a full Olympic Stadium. "This tragedy will forever be a black page in the history of the Olympics and we ask the IOC to not forsake the victims and let the future generations learn from this," she added. IOC honorary president Juan Antonio Samaranch, who was the IOC president from 1980-2001, and Science, Culture and Sport Minister Ghaleb Majadle were among many dignitaries at the ceremony, with former Chelsea coach Avraham Grant also taking out the time to honor the Munich 11. "It was a very emotional ceremony," Grant told The Jerusalem Post. "I remember the exact day it happened. Initially there was a rumor that they all survived, but afterwards we heard the tragic news. People in Israel were in total shock." Majadle also spoke of the effect of the attack and revealed that he had lost two good friends in the massacre. "It is impossible to remove from our memory the terrible impact of the massacre," he said. "This is the time to reaffirm our pledge that no act of terror will deter us from our way." Israel Olympic Committee president Zvi Varshaviak also called upon the IOC to accept the appeal of the widows. "The 11 victims came to Munich in order to realize their dream and represent the State of Israel in the greatest sporting event on earth," he said. "From that day we made a promise never to forget," he added before Hatikva played to conclude the moving ceremony.