It was 4:30 a.m. The men were sleeping off a night on the town, having gone to see the great Israeli character actor Shmuel Rudenski star as Tevye in a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Eight other men, carrying duffel bags filled with weapons and wearing innocent-looking track suits, walked into the building in which the men slept. The eight were members of the Palestinian terrorist group known as Black September. The building they entered at that early hour was located in the Olympic Village. The men in bed sleeping were members of Israel’s Olympic team.
The date was Sept. 5, 1972, and the venue was Munich, West Germany.
As the eight terrorists entered the building, the chain of events began that would end in what would forever after be known as the Munich Massacre, televised live all around the world. Sept. 5 was to be the final day of the Games of the XX Olympiad. For 11 Israelis and five of the terrorists, it would be their last day, period. Moments after midnight on Sept. 6, the Israelis would be murdered in the midst of a botched rescue mission carried out by West German security forces.
Remarkably, to this day, the International Olympic Committee, which runs the games, has not done anything to memorialize the Munich Massacre. It has another chance to do so on July 12, when the Games of the XXX Olympiad are held in London.
We have 91 days left to convince the IOC that on this, the 40th anniversary of that horrible event, the time has come to remember the 11 victims, and the act of violence that took their lives and forever after tainted the “games of peace.”
Perhaps the best way to do that is for a moment of silence to be observed at this Olympiad and at every other Summer Olympics from now on. That, in fact, is the goal of a petition drive undertaken by the JCC in Rockland County that has now gone viral.
It only takes a minute to sign the petition and to pass it on to your friends. Just go to www.munich11.org. It will explain it all.
It only takes a minute of your time to ask for a minute of time out of the Olympic Games.
We will not be able to bring back the slain athletes, but if the campaign succeeds, then we can be sure that the athletes will never be forgotten for as long as the Olympic flame burns.